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We Tried It: Yamuna® Body Rolling

Certain positions and rolls were incredibly uncomfortable in the best way: Sinking my weight into the pressure of a small black ball firmly placed beneath my quad muscles ignited the kind of release I'd expect from a deep-tissue massage.
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What We Tried: Yamuna® Body Rolling (YBR)

Where: At Yamuna's flagship studio in New York City's West Village. Practitioners and certified instructors can be found around the world.

What We Did: YBR is essentially self-message. With balls of various sizes and firmness, we used our body weight and small movements to release tension from our necks, backs, leg muscles and more.

Here's an example:

For How Long: The class lasted about an hour and 15 minutes

How'd It Feel:

Meredith's Take: First an admission: I was only able to participate for the first 60 minutes due to a previous social engagement. That said, a full hour is probably my threshold for a class entirely focused on stretching and self-massage. Which is not to say that the class wasn't helpful -- it was! Since running and yoga are my two main forms of exercise, I am no stranger to the intense sensation of stretching out a running-tense quad. But I was still surprised by how intense a muscle massage the class provided. After each move, as I lay flat on the floor, I noticed an immediate difference in alignment and sensation. That said, I'm not so sure about their flexibility claims -- the next morning's yoga class felt about the same as usual.

Sarah's Take: I don't stretch enough. Most of the time a few minutes of minimal foam rolling suffices, but recently I've been trying to make more time for my particularly-tight IT bands. I figured YBR, if nothing else, would force me to focus on the tension for longer than I'm used to. I was surprised by how slow-moving and calm YBR turned out to be; the entire space's atmosphere was more spa-like than fitness studio. Certain positions and rolls were incredibly uncomfortable in the best way: Sinking my weight into the pressure of a small black ball firmly placed beneath my quad muscles ignited the kind of release I'd expect from a deep-tissue massage. Other positions, though, were incredibly uncomfortable in the worst way, like when that same small ball was lodged in between my intestines. Still, after most of the rolls, I immediately felt looser and freer in that part of my body. However, the following morning when I went for an easy jog, I couldn't say I noticed any lasting difference.

What It Helps With: Relieving muscle tension, improving mobility and flexibility.

What Fitness Level Is Required: None. Everyone can try body rolling.

What It Costs: A single class is $20. Multi-class and unlimited packages are also available.

Would We Go Back:

Meredith's Take: I don't think so. It was an interesting experience and a novelty, but I don't think I would spend 75 minutes or $20 on a self-massage class on the regular.

Sarah's Take: Probably not. Although I do think I'll incorporate slower movements into my regular foam rolling.

For photos of Yamuna Body Rolling, check out the slideshow below:

Yamuna Body Rolling

For more from our We Tried It series, click here.

Follow Meredith Melnick on Twitter: www.twitter.com/meredithcm