On Stands Now
June 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

northern new mexico news boy
Access Back Issues of
Print Editions Here

Share this article!

Post Date:

Written By:

Courtesy Photo

This Self-Care Tool is a Game Changer

May 19
1:00 -3:00 p.m.
2-hour Self-Massage Roller Workshop at Yoga Sala in Questa
We will use mindful awareness, breathing, and sound (even laughing, which is so healing and helps to let go of tension!) coupled with rolling, stretching, and core exercises to give you a magic self-care tool that you can use at home. Bring your own 3’ x 6” roller or purchase one at Yoga Sala. Workshop is $25-$35 on a sliding scale. Pre-registration appreciated. Contact: (575) 613-0519 or email info@moniqueparkerstudios.com.

Yoga Sala is located at 2331 Highway 522 in Questa.

If you have chronically tight muscles and/or a weak core, I’d like to introduce you to a simple, effective, inexpensive, portable, and powerful self-care tool that I’ve been using professionally as a yoga therapist for 25 years. It has saved me personally a number of times: rehabbing after injury (e.g. motorcycle accident, falling on ice), as well as with repetitive-use (chronically repeated movements) and under-use (such as prolonged sitting) activities. It is the Foam Roller and the technique is called “Self-Myofascial Release.” It is what I consider to be “The Magic Tool in the Self-Care Toolbox.”

Many of us would benefit from—and may not be able to afford—regular massage to release tight muscles. As well, stretching isn’t always enough to release muscular knots: Think of a knot in a sock—you can keep stretching each end, but the knot in the middle only gets tighter. So how to deactivate knots in the connective tissue and chronically tight muscles to ease pain, improve range of motion, and even improve circulation and posture?

Think of grandma’s delicious and beautiful homemade tortillas: She likely used a small wood rolling pin called a bolillo and applied pressure as she was rolling out the dough. Same with the foam roller. In this case, think of your fascia—all that connective tissue that surrounds your organs, bones and muscles—as the dough. However, our “dough” (or fascia) often becomes tight, restricted, and bulky.

Using a foam roller, with your own body weight and desired pressure (coupled with mindful awareness and breathing), you can break down soft tissue adhesions or “trigger points” to help your body to relax and function better. As well, you can use the roller to stretch hard-to-reach muscles and strengthen your core (abdominal muscles), which are so important for a healthy posture.

Like people, foam rollers come in all shapes and sizes, but from my experience, my clients and I have preferred the smooth high density rollers to the hard textured rollers because they distribute pressure more evenly, are affordable (about $20) and the pressure is not as intense. I also prefer the 3-foot by 6-inch long rollers because you can do so many more exercises with them.

Monique Parker, C-IAYT, E-RYT 500 is a Yoga Therapist and Teacher of Vedic Chanting. She co-founded the Yoga Teacher Certification Program at UNM-Taos, where she will be offering “Yoga for Wellness” this fall. From 2014-2020 she owned Taos Yoga Therapy where she helped people of all ages and fitness levels incorporate personalized yoga tools and healing modalities into their wellness journeys. She has lived in Questa for twenty-one years.