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There’s a new buzzword in the fitness world: fascia. It’s the connective tissue that wraps around your muscles and organs and helps keep everything in place. And according to alignment expert Lauren Roxburgh, treating your fascia right is the key to a fit, flexible, and less-stressed body.
In her new book Taller, Slimmer, Younger, Roxburgh lays out a simple 21-day plan for using a foam roller to get a leaner and more functional physique. Below, she gives a sneak peak of how to roll your legs and engage your core to reduce stress and sculpt a healthier form. Best part: You can do it at home.
Beyond just realigning and reshaping the lower body, this roller session relates to the idea of standing on your own two feet. Grounded people tend to be more charismatic, organized, present, practical, successful, and realistic. When people are grounded and present in their physical bodies, they are generally more emotionally grounded as well, and naturally draw more of that same energy into their lives. The most successful and efficient people have mastered grounding and are thus able to slow down, make a conscious choice to live life to the fullest, be present, avoid distractions and drama, and let go of or altogether avoid toxic people, things, and activities that waste precious time.
As you go about your day from here, pay attention to your feet as you walk and feel all twenty-six joints doing their work to keep you grounded. Let your back foot be the driving force that moves you forward.
While doing these moves, ask yourself: How grounded do I feel in the world financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually? When stressful situations arise, do I become overly dramatic or do I stay calm, knowing life is like riding a wave— sometimes it will knock you over? Do I look at uncomfortable times in life as growth spurts or am I concerned only about what others think or say in the moment?
Toe Tendon/Joint Mobilization
• Come down to a deep squat position. Shift the roller under your mid-upper shins and keep your toes curled forward, with toes spread wide and heels reaching back so that your feet are really stretched out. Keep your elbows soft and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the mat. Keep your shoulders drawn down for the duration of the exercise.
• Use your feet to roll forward and back, stretching your feet and rolling your shins.
Repeat this movement eight times.
Kneeling Lunge Shin Roll
• Come to a kneeling lunge on your mat, beginning with your right leg forward and bent at a 90-degree angle. Place the roller just below the kneecap of your left leg. Place your hands slightly in front of your shoulders on either side of your foot.
• Inhale as you ground through your front foot and pull yourself forward, straightening your back leg as the roller rolls down your shin
• Exhale as you return to the starting position.
Repeat this movement eight to ten times per leg.
Calf Roll with Rotations
• Sit on your mat with your legs close together and the roller placed under both of your calves, right below the knee joint. Place your hands palms- down on the ﬂoor a few inches out from either side of your hips, ﬁngers pointing outward. Press down into your hands to lift your bottom of the mat, keeping your calves balanced on the roller. Make sure to draw your shoulders down and back to avoid hunching.
• Continue pressing your hands down and engage your core, exhaling as you slowly drive your body weight forward so that the roller stops right above the ankle.
• After you’ve ﬁnished rolling down the center of your calves, internally rotate your feet (turn them inward) and repeat this rolling motion, this time rolling through the inner part of the calf.
• Externally rotate the feet (turn them outward) and roll, this time along the outer part of the calves.
• Return to parallel and release yourself back to the ﬂoor.
Repeat this movement eight times per variation.
Rolling Leg Pull Front
• Place the roller under your hands and come to a push- up or plank position, keeping your entire core and arms engaged. Reach your heels back, spreading your toes and really stretching the feet and arches.
• Inhale as you shift your weight forward onto your toes while lifting your heels as the roller moves forward and your abs kick in even more.
• Exhale as you reach your heels back to stretch your feet and activate your core while using your abs and feet to press the roller back.
Repeat this movement ten times.
Rolling Bridge Heel Pulls
• Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place the roller under the balls of your feet. Reach your arms long by your sides.
• Inhale as you start to roll your spine up one vertebra at a time and exhale all the way up until you’re in a bridge position.
• Inhale again as you pull the roller an inch toward you and then exhale as you push the roller back one inch. Repeat this movement as a pulsation eight times.
• Exhale as you roll your spine down one vertebra at a time and extend your legs in front of you.
Repeat the pulling portion of this movement eight times.
• Helps to feel more grounded and calm
• Generates a feeling of peace in the present moment
• Increases body- mind awareness
• Improves the ability to deal with stress as it arises
• Boosts self- esteem
• Helps reduce anxiety
From the book TALLER, SLIMMER, YOUNGER: 21 Days to a Foam Roller Physique by Lauren Roxburgh. Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Roxburgh. Reprinted by arrangement with Ballantine Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.