I used to do hatha yoga when I wanted physical activity that was slow, restorative, and relaxing. But now that I've upped my barre classes and salsa dancing—and I'm logging long hours at work and on the blog and planning a wedding at the same time—yoga seems to have fallen by the wayside. For all of these reasons, the invitation to try a stress-busting MELT Method class at The Dailey Method Vancouver in early February couldn't have come at a better time. But what was the MELT Method exactly? I was about to find out along with my BFF, whom I'd invited to try the class with me.
As instructor Jey Wyder explained when class began, the MELT Method is first and foremost a self-treatment technique for chronic pain. It promises to undo the stresses of daily living by releasing fascia (a fine webbing of connective tissue that stretches over and between muscles) and re-hydrating fatigued, dehydrated muscles. Over time and through repetitive strain, fascia can stiffen into permanent musculature if it's not stretched or massaged properly, which can lead to misalignment and pain.
The class began with all of us lying on our mats in a darkened room, doing a head-to-toe scan of our body for possible misalignment and mobility issues. Stiff necks? Check. Uneven shoulders? Check. Did our lower backs feel out of wack, our legs feel uneven, our spine feel less than neutral? Check, check, and check.
We spent the rest of the class on our mats, rolling various body parts on a torso-length blue foam roller and a small, semi-inflated blue rubber ball. The rolling, massaging motion helped break up fascia and redistribute fluid from one part of the body to another, Jey explained. (Re-hydrating muscles can be thirst-inducing work, so it's recommended that students have their water bottles close by throughout class.)
Every rolling motion one way was counterbalanced by a motion going in the opposite direction, or a "rinse." We also did a lot of "shearing" movements, which are motions designed to counteract the way our bodies move day to day. Think of it as the zag to your body's usual zig.
We stretched out along the length of the blue foam rollers, refining and re-calibrating our core's natural balance instincts. We rolled out the muscles in our legs and outer glutes, which proved quite intense for me. We targeted every muscle in and around our shoulder blades. We rolled the little rubber ball up and down our fingers, hands, and wrists. It was a bit like self-massage, really, and it was deeply relaxing.
At the end of class, Jey asked us to lie still on our mats once again and really become aware of our bodies. I was impressed with how much my range of motion and flexibility had improved, and lingering tensions and soreness seemed to have diminished. I don't have chronic pain issues so I can't attest to how much MELT might help with those, but one woman in the class swears by MELT for managing her physical ailments.
"I'm so glad that was a slow class," my BFF said to me afterward, and I couldn't have put it better myself. Turns out MELT was exactly what we both needed that day.