Rolling is fundamental to human movement as the ability to roll comes before quadrupedal (crawling) movement and all forms of bipedal (walking, jogging, running) Swimming too (freestyle and backstroke) is basically an applied body roll.
Rolling defined as “moving by turning over and over on an axis” stimulates the spine, deeply works the abdominals, and tunes us into the inner flow of movement and breath in the body. It is one of the most wonderful ways we have to refresh and relax our bodies. Look at a baby roll and see the fun they have.
Why don’t most of us roll? Do we associate it with play and childlike movement and therefore not appropriate for us? Is it because rolling is generally done on the floor? Maybe the floor is for standing on, not lying or rolling on?
In our upright relationship to gravity we use our bodies to turn every minute of the day. Would these movements not be considered rolling if they were done lying down?
Maybe we could improve our posture and backs if we rolled on the floor. Because not only does rolling improve our coordination by integrating arms and legs and torso, but as we roll across the floor, we are also getting a free massage as the floor presses on our muscles.
An authentic roll or turn consists of a gentle eye, head, neck, and torso rotation that pulls the rest of the body along. It uses many directional planes of movement– not just forward and backward. However regardless of the directions involved the need for developing a soft, rounded back and a smooth diagonal movement across the back are the same.
One of the major benefits of learning how to roll properly is the advantage it can offer when falling. If your only option upon falling is to crash-land on the ground, fear of falling can interfere with every step – whether you are a martial artist or a person walking down a street.
By discovering the option of rolling, there is less chance of injury when you do fall.
Find a space on your floor and try rolling. Enjoy the benefits to your back, breathing, posture, and core. Feel confident as well in knowing that you are providing yourself with an alternative to falling. But most of all enjoy the wonderful feeling of freedom and effortlessness as you roll.