HOW DO I USE THE SMARTROLLER®?
To get the maximum benefit from using your Smartroller, follow these Smart Essentials:
- Observe your comfort. Pain signals can be an attention-getter that you may be doing something harmful. This distraction also interferes with learning something new. If there is discomfort, try rehearsing the movement mentally or visualizing it. When you mentally trace the patterns of your movements, you will find that you are able to make even more finely tuned adjustments.
- Practice Scanning: Notice how you make contact with the floor before and after you use the Smartroller. Scanning helps clarify the details of your internal body map. This practice is what helps create the physiological changes in your nervous system that supports new learning and long term changes in your upright movement and upright posture.
- To Lie on the Smartroller, sit on one end of the roller and lower yourself gently while using one arm to assist you down. Avoid twisting. If rolling onto your back is uncomfortable, or if there is any reason to modify, lie on your side and place the roller up against you to ease up onto the Smartroller. When you are finished, choose the side you want, and gently tip the roller to slide off, letting the Smartroller guide you to the floor.
- Use small and slow movements, less is more: When you reduce the intensity and speed of your movements, you are able to calibrate and refine how you move. This helps free you from poor movement patterns or habits.
- Observe your breathing. You breathe differently with different actions. By attending to your breath, you are able to observe any unnecessary effort. Notice how you breathe when you are in your most relaxed state, and other adaptations. Your breathing habits may also contribute to more effort, moving against resistance. When using the Smartroller, you are challenged to reduce effort, and find the simplest strategy to breathe. This can only happen if you are attending to quieting yourself to listen better.
- Choose variation over repetition to promote learning. Through varying your movement, you can create novel conditions to explore and awaken your brain to more creative solutions (think of this as your own internal GPS that helps you find alternate and better directions to move). These concepts are becoming more recognized in the latest sports method strategies. "Movement variability is the oil to the central nervous system." Guido Van Ryssegem
- Reduce effort and simplify your movements. Excess effort interferes with how you can sense different qualities of movement. Our brains work more efficiently when they are working less, inhibiting unnecessary work. For example, when a person reduces their voice to a whisper, the listener needs to be more attentive to tune out other noises in order to listen better.
- Avoid stretching. This program is designed to set up conditions for learning. When you go to your extreme range of your movement, you may encounter a pattern that is counter productive or antagonistic to effortless action. When possible, try using the Smartroller first without stretching. Later, you can seek out other ways to lengthen your body's tissues.
- Reversibility. Drawn from Feldenkrais® and martial art strategies, reversing a movement allows you to improve your coordination. Simply put, it means you have such a finely attuned movement with awareness, you are able to stop and redirect yourself at any point along the continuum. This happens through pattern recognition, our body's way to navigate without our conscious attention.
You are now ready to play with your Smartroller.
Here is an exercise to try: (excerpt from the SMARTROLLER GUIDE TO OPTIMAL MOVEMENT).
ALIGN THE SPINE: What does everyone benefit from? Ideal alignment. But how do we keep this alignment while moving moment to moment?
Lie on your back and allow your arms and legs to lengthen on the floor.
Do a Smart Scan: Observe how you are lying. What touches the floor and where are you not touching? How do the two sides of your body compare? What is your breath like? Take about 2-3 minutes to do this, then lie on the Smartroller with solid/flat side up against your body.
Next, in the smallest movements, rock gently back and forth. Observe how you do this, are the two sides different? Can you rock back and forth without interfering with your breath? Allow your body to fully rest into the movement, similar to sifting sand. Explore how long you can notice without your mind wandering.
Continue the rocking motion, keeping it slow, gentle and soothing. Next, roll gently to the floor. Return to your Smart Scan to notice the differences. Walk around to allow time to observe your new upright posture. See if you can keep this sense of yourself as you sit, stand and move around.