Class #5087

Upper Body Release

45 min - Class
49 likes
Loading...

Description

This class is the perfect class for when you are looking to relax and release the stressors of the day. Or even prepare you for the stressors of the day to come and optimize who you are. Niedra Gabriel teaches an upper body routine where you will roll out your back body, open your chest, ease tension in your head, neck, and shoulders, as well as, create a spacious rib cage!
What You'll Need: Mat, Yamuna Balls

About This Video

Transcript

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to this routine that I invite you to do when you just want to get on the balls or whatever you are using to release your fascia and just work on your trunk and upper body. And get the tension out. Make yourself feel relaxed. Get the stresses of the day out of your system, or get ready for the stresses of the day and optimize who you are. Remember that the balls are interchangeable.

There's no one-size-it-fits-all. To give you a concept, these balls that I am working with are soft. I like them because they allow my tissue to respond, and given there's a reciprocity that happens in them. And I work with different sizes at different stages. We'll start with the full spinal release.

I will start in the pelvis with the small ball so that I can get more specifically into areas that feel good for me. You can use any size. They all have massive benefits. Coming onto your side, a nice way to get in is to place the ball at the sacrum and really wedge it in there. And take a moment to feel the sacrum settle in.

This is part of the benefit of working with a smaller ball. It really pinpoints where your attention is, where the bone shape is, and allow this time to let this area settle. All of our upper body settles into the sacrum. In Sanskrit, they call it sacra, the sacred base. And it's a foundation.

It deserves some attention. I'm taking my hands and pressing the ball down to traction the sacrum out a little bit. I'm actually rolling out slightly towards my tailbone and creating length. And it just feels wonderful to allow that tractioning and separation to start to happen. Taking a big breath in, a big breath out, and allowing myself to settle in, and elongate the base of the spine downwards.

At the same time, I'm beginning to lengthen the upper body upwards. From here, I'm also taking the ball and pulling it up a bit. So I'm moving the skin on my sacrum, literally. As you can see, I can move back and forth. And that starts to, again, decompress the fascia, any kind of glued up tissue starts to separate.

From here, I'm back at the low part of the sacrum. And I'm moving to the right side, taking a moment to feel how this area starts to release, taking a breath, and breathing out, releasing. Coming back to the center of the sacrum, low area, moving to the left, waiting a moment, listening into my body, take a breath in, breath out, letting the weight of the bones sink even deeper and separating all of those attachments into the sacrum. Coming back to the middle, moving up to the middle of the sacrum, letting this area sink and settle. Big breath in.

Press down a little bit. Use your legs to press into the ball. Roll to the right, pressing the tissue and the attachments away from the sacrum. And now I'm slightly rotating my pelvis to get even more pressure and attention into this area so I can feel the release. Take a moment and listen in.

And you can find that second or that time where there's a shift in the tissue. That's what you're looking for. You want that ha-ah sensation. Coming back to the center, press down and then roll to the left. Press into the ball and slightly lift the right side up to increase the pressure into the ball.

Take a breath in, breath out. Listen into your own tissue. See what's happening there. And then roll back to the middle. And then move to the top of the sacrum, beginning of where it becomes the lumbar spine.

Breath in, breath out, and roll to the right. So widening out the right side, lifting the pelvis slightly, coming back, rolling to the center, settling in, and rolling to the left side. Pressing the left tissue away from the sacrum, lifting the right side up. Lowering down again. Coming back to the middle.

And moving a little bit higher up. You're still on the boney structure of the pelvis. Your central, top of the sacrum, right, where the pelvis is coming to its end and the lumbar spine is beginning, and roll your hips to the left and press into the bones. So you are widening the back of the pelvis out. Remember with stimulating bone, there's a lot of tissue around this area.

All the muscles connecting, everything is swimming in this fascia. And you want to allow the bones to soften. You sometimes can be surprised to find tender spots in the bony landmarks of your body. Very important to put the pressure and then take time. They're very healing.

The pain will go down. The bone will become healthier and less brittle and dry and more responsive to life. So this is an amazing, amazing skeletal treatment that you're doing for yourself. Coming back to the middle, let yourself press in here, and then start gradually rolling and ironing out the top of the pelvis to the left. Feeling into this area, maybe you're discovering pockets of area that are painful or more sensitive or sticky.

This is part of the glory of the work. You really discover what's going on in your own anatomy. And you know right away where you need to spend more time. And please, please do spend more time. You can only gain benefits from that.

Come back to the center, take a moment to settle into here. And then lift your hips up. And just for a minute, lower your pelvis down. And check out what you feel like. What does your pelvis feel like?

If you really concentrate, you may notice it when the pelvis hits the floor. The sensation is like a pebble going into a pond of water. And there's this sensory spreading out of the waves or the ripples on the water. You may feel the same in your own body. That's the responsiveness of the nervous system to the changes that are going on.

Paying attention to the more subtle energies is really lovely. And it's is going on in you. We're going to shift now. In my case, I am moving to the big gold ball and we will start moving all the way up the spine. So we started with the black ball on the sacrum area.

And I am wiggling the gold ball, the bigger size ball, as high up as I can and snuggling it into this area again. Taking a breath in as I breathe in, I'm lifting and tractioning my whole spine. And then sinking down into the ball. In this position, take a moment, find the connection to the abdominals. So you are supporting your body weight at the front.

The ball is central to the spinal column this time. Breath in, lengthen the spine, breathing out, pressing into the ball, and allowing the tissue to spread and expand. Again, breathing in, lifting the spine up, and then pressing the bones into the ball with a nice sensation. This should feel very good. One more time.

We're stimulating the base of the spine. We're waking all the nerves up there. We're starting to create compression into the tissue that will make it more elastic. From here, curl the tail. Start to feel like your tail can lift.

Tuck under a bit and roll the body down one or two vertebrae, not much. Take a moment here. Breath in and lengthen out. Remember, you are supporting with the abdominals. The abdominals go to the spine.

The spine goes to the ball. Inhale lifting up, lengthening and pressing down. One more time. Inhaling, lengthening, pressing down, tucking the tail, and think of just tractioning every bone in your spine apart. As you do this work, roll a little bit further up.

Take a breath in, pressing in and spreading the tissue, spreading the bone, spreading the muscles. Breathing in, elongating out. One more time. Lifting, elongating out. Lengthening the tail like a string being pulled towards your heels.

Your head is being pulled in the opposite direction. Roll further up. I'm now at the junction of the ribs, the shoulder blades, and into the waist area. Breathing in, lengthening the trunk, and out. So every time you do this movement, see if you can create more length in the body as though you're being pulled in two opposite directions.

So as you elongate the body and you put pressure in, everything starts to soften and give up any tight stuck patterns that are being held in place. Curl the tail up. Roll a little bit further up. I'm now coming into the shoulder blade area. I can feel the ball between my shoulder blades. Bring your elbows forward to spread the shoulder blades apart.

This just gets more space into that area of the rhomboids. And then let the elbows float out again. See if you can keep the shoulder blades wide, and press into the ball. Inhale and lift slightly, traction your head away from the spine, and breathing out, press in. Use the trunk support to create that pressure.

Breathing in, pressing down. One more time, breathing in, and lengthening the spine out, pressing down and rolling up further. So I am globally now in the area between my shoulder blades. I'm pressing into the ribs. Bring your elbows closer together to spread the shoulder blades and expose the rhomboids.

This is an area where there's a lot of different muscle layers crossing over. So we are globally kind of communicating to all of them. Big breath in, lengthen that part of the ribs out long. Press out. Use your own body to press into the ball.

That's one of the reasons I love having a softer ball to work with, because it allows for this increase and decrease of pressure that a very hard surface like a foam roller doesn't provide. It's just a more harsh surface to work with. Not to say that it can't have huge benefit, just a different experience. With the ball resting between my shoulder blades, again, I'm pulling the shoulder blade wide by bringing the elbow up. I'm going to roll a little bit to the right and roll out that side.

I'm tractioning and spreading the shoulder blades apart. In the shoulder blade at this point, big breath in, press into it. Imagine someone grabbing this elbow and pulling it even further forward, just to create all that space. Breath in again. As you breathe out, press down to the shoulder blade and come back to the center of the spine.

Take a moment here. Breath in, bring the left elbow up. Roll out, ironing out between the shoulder blades, spreading those rhomboid muscles, and coming right onto the shoulder blade area. Big breath in here. Breathing out, press deeper into this texture, and the shoulder blade feel how wide it is.

Any sensations you've got, just note them. Come back to the center. Lengthen. When you lengthen the neck, by the way, you want to bring the chin down so the back of the neck gets longer. Very important. Most of us have a forward head and this will help start to elongate that area.

Again, breath in, breath out. Keep your chin down and now roll into your neck area. Beautiful area, because the ball, if it's nice and big, will cradle the cervical spine. It tractions it, but it also keeps the curve in place. Take a moment. Take a breath in, a breath out.

Use your feet now to really press into the ball. Bring your arms down if the head feels good. And press, start to pull the shoulders away from your ears and roll. Just adjust your body weight until you feel that you have a real nice neck stretch. Keep your chin slightly pushed back, and then keep the shoulders way down, and then lift your hips up.

So use this movement to really stretch the neck out, and then roll back down. Lift the chin a little bit more, pressing into the skull. As you bring your chin down, think of the back of the neck getting longer. We'll do this again. Tuck the tail, roll up.

Imagine the knees tractioning away from you. Wiggle your shoulders away from your ears. Let's roll the hands out to get even more external rotation in the arms and across the chest. And as you roll down, lengthen out the neck, lift the chin, lower it down. As you bring it back, feel the neck lengthening even more.

One more time. Rolling up. And rolling down. Should feel very special. From here, roll your head to the right and lengthen out the left side of the neck.

Nice stretch in this area, allowing the muscles of the neck to recalibrate and the tissue to shift. Bring your face back to the center. Roll your nose and face to the left. Notice what happens to the shoulder. See if you can keep it open.

Come back. Bring your body a little bit further up. So we are now shifting the position of the ball. So it's on C7. And lengthening the neck out.

One more time, roll your nose to the right. And in this position, nod yes. Roll back to the center. Roll to the left, nod yes. Back to the center.

Now move your hips and the ball very slightly to the right. So we're off the central line of the neck, of the spine of the neck. And we will roll onto the side. So right here, lots and lots and lots of tight areas. Most of us have our whole shoulders hunched up, pulling up, and in spasm.

So this is a great place to visit all of this tightness. And it can affect your face. You may even be feeling how this is pulling into your face muscles, because there's so much congestion in this line. Take a moment. Take a breath in and a breath out. See if you can sink and relax over the ball.

Very unusual pillow. Doing you a lot of good. Again, breathing in, breathing out, sinking further. Again, move your nose. Now let's go for a no.

We usually don't have our neck in a long swan-like position when we move our face around. This is allowing us to kind of release any congestion that's there. Go for yes. Any areas that you feel are holding your... You discover yourself. Visit them more.

And let's do little circles. Reverse your circles. And please, when you're doing this, you are feeling what's tight for you. Those are the places for you to visit the most. Then move this arm in any way that you feel is exposing tightness.

Bring the arm behind you. And again, move the elbow a little bit to expose any tightness behind you. After this, you'll probably do chest expansion in the Pilates exercise beautifully well, with the head floating. Then come back. Roll back onto the flat of your neck.

You're on your backs. Feel the pressure and roll your head to the left. Nod yes. Nod no. And keep rolling until you get onto the left side.

Let your head settle into this position. Let the neck start to release and lengthen. Lots of tension here. And again, start working with your skull in relation to your neck to discover the deeper patterns it may be sitting here. So yes, no.

Circling the face around a little bit. This is an area for you to be very creative. Reverse it. And slowly roll yourself back. And as always to come out of any neck work, you do not want to use neck muscle.

So grab the ball, lift your skull, take the ball out, and put your head down for a minute. So you can rest. Allow the neck, which has gone through a lot of change and a lot of release, to settle. Check into your own body and just enjoy the length, the softness, the openness, the blood circulation that has opened up as a result. And from here, let's roll to one side.

And we are going to go into the side body. So I will be using the pearl ball and placing it just at the base of the hip on the side. Going into my waist. I'm looking to open up the waist, addressing the obliques and then the ribs. So from here, first of all, just lean in.

So you are grabbing the top of the pelvis. And lengthen up a little bit and start to feel the distance between the hips and the waist. And then lengthen down and roll your body downwards to get the ball hooking into the top of the pelvis and the bottom of the ribs. Take a moment to settle into this area. If you feel comfortable, lengthen yourself out slightly.

The goal is to make a very long waist. You can also work with a smaller ball, again, interchangeable balls. If you are very short in the waist area, use a smaller ball. Big breath in, lengthen the ribs up, drape yourself over looking to pull the ribs as far away from the hips as you can, and roll a little bit in towards your belly, and then roll up back to the side and back out towards the waist area. So we're ironing out the sides of the waist area, which is where the obliques are.

And we want to feel into anything that's tight in here. So just go back and forth. The feeling is like you're moving through molasses. If you catch something that's very tight or painful, take it, pause there. Breathe and pay attention to the release.

Put pressure in there and allow your body to do the work. One more time, coming forward, going inwards, and then rolling back and out. From here, come off the ball for a minute and move it up to the bra line. So we don't want to go right at the base of the ribs. We want to be a little bit higher up.

Take a big breath in, inflate the ribs, so you spread them apart. And then lengthen yourself down and drape over if you can. So we're creating like a seesaw, putting pressure into the ribcage, breathing in and expanding, and then lengthening out. You could actually stretch your arm out to create more length. Breathing in, opening these side ribs.

Breathing out. One more time, breathing in, lengthening the side ribs. Breathing out and rolling just a little bit forward and back. So we are covering in a global way of variety of muscle groups as we are separating the tissues out. The lats connect in here.

We have serratus anterior. There's just a lot going on. Can be very tender if you are not familiar with this. And it improves our breathing so much, improves the posture so much. From here, roll right up so you're close to your armpit.

And again, take a moment. Breathe in. Now, really stretch this arm away. You can feel a lot of adhesions, possibly tightness in the armpit area, tightness where the muscles of the back connect into the arm. If you're one of those people that have a hard time lifting your arms over your head, there's a lot of constriction there.

This can be gold, moving back and forth. The more tender this area is, the slower you want to work. To certain extent, this routine is assuming the body has been opened a little bit. Now I've moved up, bending the arm, lengthening the arm out, bending it, straightening it. And just for a minute, take the arm further out to really stretch out the trapezius muscle, and, again, the side of the ribs, and let yourself sink down if you can.

Just open that tissue up. Rolling a little bit from side to side, I can feel this stretch all the way into my little finger. So I know that I'm catching the full web and talking to it. From here, come off, fly on your back. Notice the sensations that you are experiencing.

In my case, I have a lot of heat that's been generated. So I know I've opened the circulation up. Roll onto your side and we will go into the other side. So starting up with the side of the hip, get into the bone. Again, we are stimulating the bone.

We are allowing the pelvis to talk to us. Take a moment and lifting up. Start to get in touch with your sideline. And sinking down. Letting the ball really absorb the weight of the body.

Let the body absorb the sinking pressure of the ball. And then from here, roll a little bit down. Now, we're in the waist. So catching the waist. Breath in, lift up, stretch those ribs as far away from the top of the pelvis as you possibly can. And then drape over.

Really traction this area out. Again, lifting up, pulling the abdomen up, opening this sideline, and lengthening down. And then from here, roll a little bit forward. Sinking into the ball. Roll a little bit back.

Again, we're ironing out the obliques. We're working in a global manner dressing of variety of muscles at the same time and in the opposite direction. And, again, rolling forward, looking to lift the ribs away from the ball, and back, and then moving the ball up to the bra line. Coming down so it's fully on the ribs. Lifting and lengthening and opening the ribs, they should feel like an accordion that's being pulled apart and then seesawing a little bit, relaxing down.

This is more realistic when the ball is a bit softer, and down. So there's a give to the texture that you're working with. Lifting and down. Rolling a little tiny bit forward and rolling back. Rolling forward, separating those muscles out.

Sometimes the lats can really be glued into the ribs with adhesions that hold them tight, and then the ribs can't open and close properly, so the lung movement is restricted. Moving further up on the sides of the ribs, we're also opening and stimulating serratus anterior. If you are one of those people that love to play ball games and throw or lift things up over your head, this is a must area to release. That can be the difference between winning and losing if you are in some kind of game with throwing balls. And it keeps the shoulders healthy and with full range of movements.

So you're less prone to injuries. Move further up, right up towards the armpit. And, again, backwards and forwards. And now move the ball right into the arm. Take a moment to feel that length in the bottom part of the body and sink into it.

Rotate the arm slightly. As the arm is bending, your tricep should be lengthening and opening up. The lats should be lengthening to allow for this movement. Also rotating the arm, internal and external, can expose some things, and rolling from side to side. And to finish, let's roll off.

Take a moment. Come on your back. Feel into what your body is like now. How are your shoulders? How are your arms?

Spread your legs out and see what your lower body feels like in relation to your upper body. And just enjoy the feeling. Take a snapshot. So important to remember what's good about your experience. Let's roll to one side.

And the next routine we're going to work with is releasing the packs, which gets so tight for all of us. I will work with a black ball now. I could most definitely work with either the pearl or the gold as well. Placing the ball on the sternum bone, make sure it's center of your chest. Drape yourself over the ball and allow the chest to receive the ball.

Let yourself really relax and feel the ball penetrating almost towards the back. So we're softening the front of the body. Softening the bones, restoring a certain mobility to them. From here, grab the ball and breathe in, and gently traction it up. You can feel yourself stretched into your abdomen and open the chest up.

It feels lovely. We can all use more lift in the rib cage and in the sternum. And then as you breathe out, let yourself soften and drape over. Move my hands away so you can see. Inhale and lift.

The chest moves up and the ball moves down a little bit. And then breathing out, let the shoulders even come down. It's kind of like a child's pose, you could say, but with sensory input into this part of the body. One more time, breathing in, and breathing out. Bring your hands to the ball and roll it a little bit higher up.

So you feel yourself lifting the sternum further. Again, breathing in and lifting, pulling the whole rib cage up, and breathing out. Breathing in, breathing out. Very often, people's sternum gets very stuck and rigidified. A lot of calcifications starts to build up in this area.

And it doesn't move. It becomes more brittle. And it affects the mobility of the ribs. It affects the back muscles. And it most importantly affects your ability to breathe.

So this is so useful, restoring this elasticity and mobility in this part of the body. Roll the ball even further up so you can roll down as the ball rolls up. Now it's at the notch, just below the collarbone. Press the ball forward and breathing out, and breathing in, and breathing out. One more time, breathing in, and breathing out.

Now, moving the ball just above the collarbone. So we've got our throat. And we've got it in this notch, this little notch. This is where the smaller ball is fun. But, again, a bigger ball works, too.

So you grab the ball. I'll move my hand out of the way for a minute. And you pull down. You're pressing this area down and you're lengthening your head over. Pull down and stretch your throat out, and press down.

It actually feels very nice. It may look a bit bizarre, but it feels amazing. One more time, pulling down. And then move the ball back down just below the collarbone. So you're catching the collarbone on the side of the sternum.

And let yourself relax into this area. Take the arm. I've got my left arm out. And gradually move yourself a little bit to the right. So the ball has moved to the left.

It's widening your collarbones out. Take a breath in, breath out. And one more time, breath in here, breath out. And now move the ball so it catches your deltoid area. You're still in your chest.

You are catching this muscle. And you are widening the arm to the side. This area is very gunky. I have no other way to describe it. It can have a lot of tight grippy texture of muscle.

So it's really an unbelievably, it's a good place to work and spend time. Keep pressing into the ball. Get yourself right in front of the arm and slightly rotate open. Notice the shoulder blade. You want the shoulder blade to stay on the back and the whole cuff of the arm to widen.

How far you lift is irrelevant for the stretch. Let that tissue open and widen. Take a moment here. Take some deep breaths. Wait for the body to shift.

It does want to. And then come to the other side. Take the ball again, corner of the collarbone, just on the side of the notch, sink into that area. Take your right arm to the side. Take some nice breaths here, stimulating the tissue here.

You can have adhesions between the collarbones and those high ribs. You want them to be elastic and have full range of movement. Just healthy, move further out. Pressing into the ball, letting that breathing, and pressure, and gradual movement really shift things around. And now get the ball right out.

So it's grabbing the cuff of the shoulder. It's in the texture of the ribs. You can feel around. There's an exact spot. That is where there's crossroads of muscles connecting in. They get very tight.

You have your pec minor around here, pec major around here. A lot's going on. And start the rotation. Hook the arm bone and twist the chest. Takes a few breaths here.

Take a moment to feel that opening. Notice if your shoulder blade is rolling onto your back. So important. Just wait. Listen into your own body. There's a moment where everything releases.

And come on out of here. And, again, let's roll on our backs. Let the arms go out. How do your arms feel? How does your shoulders feel? How does your chest feel? Take a moment.

And then roll onto your side. And we will do a little bit of work into the pelvis. And then up the abdomen into the psoas. More intense and wonderful. I'm working with the pearl now.

We're going to work from this area of the hip, down into the leg on either side to place the ball on the inside of your ASIS. You want to be between the hip bone and the pubic bone area. This is a bigger ball. So it will have a different effect. Just take a moment, letting yourself sink, and acclimatize yourself to the sensation.

Allow the tissue to start to open and move a little bit to your left. So you are grabbing the hip bone if you can, and widening it. And drop your left hip down. It's a bigger ball. So this drop can help traction that pelvis a little bit more open.

So you are hooking the bone and widening it. Take a moment listening in, and then even your hips and roll a little bit down towards the groin. Start to feel into your thighs. This is our hip flexor area. They get so tight for many of us. See if you can release.

Maybe lengthen the leg. Try to see if you can make the bone of the leg long, without shortening anything or tightening anything. And then roll through onto the very top of the thigh to create length in this area. There's a moment where things will start to shift. Wait for that moment.

Then come off, move to the other side. So left hip bone on the inside. Hook the pelvic bone. The feeling is like it's draping around the ball. Take a moment to feel where you can sink in a bit.

Release tension. Take a breath in. And slowly start to drop the right hip down so that drags the ball deeper into the inside of the pelvis on the left. Feel into this area. Lift your pelvis back.

And start to roll a little bit further down with the ball and up with your body. You may even start to feel how the ball is tractioning your hip flexor complex slightly, maybe asking your quads to release. I know this is upper body, but, yes, we're all connected up. And what we do in one part massively affects other parts of our body. And then roll into the very top of the thigh where the attachment of this muscle is.

And then come off. And we will work the ball navel and up and navel and down. So place yourself right on the navel. So we're working into the psoas as it's a bigger ball. Take a breath in and see if you can start to relax over this area.

Now, notice that very often when the low back is tight, the tightness is actually from the front of the body. So this is your opportunity to get into this area and allow the release of the back muscles, because your decompressing in the front can be quite magical. Just take a moment here. Letting everything spread and shift. Roll a little bit higher up.

Very small amount. We're not looking to roll into the ribs. But just a bit further up. Broaden the ribcage. And, again, sink. Let yourself drape over the ball.

And then lift up and roll down towards the pubic bone. Feel the pressure. If you want to, you can relax down. This can be intense, can be very beneficial. Feel into your back.

See if you can create length. So you're wrapping your pubic bone right over the ball and widening your hips. Just wait for the release. And then come on off. I'm sure you're happy to get off of that one.

Usually, that can be quite intense. Lie down on your backs. Let the arms relax. Let your body relax. And just take a last check-in to see what you feel like.

What's your spine feel like now? How much of your body's in touch with the floor? How wide do you feel you are? Take a breath in. See how much breath can get inside your body.

Are there spaces that are opening that didn't open before? And then breathe out. And when you're ready, roll to one side and bring yourself up. I hope you feel completely different. And thank you very much.

Comments

1 person likes this.
Yowser!!! Fantastic!!!
2 people like this.
Loved this class. Feel totally relaxed after a long busy day. Thank you!!
Atsuko M and Diane C awesome that you enjoyed. 
1 person likes this.
Fantastic class thank you !
Thanks, Niedra, this class saved me. I was so tight in my upper body and this class took care of the tension and tight muscles. :)
Absolutely love this class!  It really is a body changer. Thank you!!

You need to be a subscriber to post a comment.

Please Log In or Create an Account to start your free trial.