In my continuing quest to improve my bendiness, I headed off to the Guelph Moksha Yoga studio yesterday. It was that, or go for a run. Well to be honest, it could have been both but I opted to give my hips, legs, knees and ever so tight IT band another day-o-rest from running (tonight they won’t be so lucky).
A Yin class typically involves holding poses for a longer than normal period of time to really allow the muscles and tissues to relax and stretch. The poses tend to be very uncomfortable, and when you first start going to a class like that you really have to force yourself to get through the discomfort. Eventually you learn to breathe through it, and ultimately to quiet the thoughts in your head that are typically screaming at you to move because it hurts so much.
This Yin class was different from the normal class that I typically attend, as it included the use of 2 blue balls which were covered in rubber nubs, for lack of a better term. The nubs are full of awesome, or at least they can be. The purpose of the class was to use the balls to add extra pressure to points on the body that are typically tight. In my case, this would have been my IT band, hips, knees and calves; basically anything that would have suffered through the torture of running.
The principle behind the balls is straightforward: trigger pressure points using the balls so that eventually the pressure point and the muscles around it relax, relieving tension and tightness. The process can be extremely painful depending on how tight your muscles might be, but it can also be so full of awesome when the pressure points release.
At one point during the session, the instructor had us lying such that the large blue ball was directly under the IT band. If any of you have ever had a tight IT band, you will know the pain that added pressure to that particular area will bring. It was awful and awesome all at the same time. I really can’t describe the pain/discomfort that pressure on the IT provides. It really is unique.
Regardless of the discomfort, I battled through hoping for some form of IT release. And I’m glad I did. Those little balls were almost as effective as going to see my most awesome massage therapist. Almost.
Anyway, I was so happy with the acupressure balls, that I ended up buying my own set. They are blue and awesome, and my IT band feels awesome already just knowing that I own them.