Yoga Tune Up® Blog

Release Your Shins, Release Your Feet

In my last article, I alluded to the problems of “positive” heeled shoes and most of the time I practice what I preach,  shoeless at home and at work – and often “barefoot” shoes when I’m not. I’ve also been dancing tango for the past 17 years or so, so my feet and I know our way around a pair of high heels.

Thanks to my Pilates and Yoga Tune Up® practice, I have a some great tools to counteract the damage I do dancing for hours in 3” stilletos. These are also every effective if you have forefoot and shin tightness from running (especially up and down hills and stairs) or even from sitting in chairs too often.

The Shin-Roll Sequence in The Roll Model: A Step-by-Step Guide to Erase Pain, Improve Mobility, and Live Better in Your Body (Jill Miller, 206-209) is a great way to relieve tightness in the extensor digitorum longus (EDL), as well as all of the muscles that are named in the Embody Map section (204). Read the rest of this blog post »

Ankles and Toes – Friends or Foes?

Me: “This next position is called ‘bird on a perch.’  Place your arches on the bar and gently wrap your toes over while you reach your heels under.”

Student: “Okay…oww, wait, my toes are cramping…”

Me: “That’s actually pretty common, shake it out and try it again. Maybe use your toe muscles less…”

As a Pilates and YTU® teacher, one of the first things I notice is how my students use their feet. This is especially true when I have a new student on the Reformer for their first series of “Footwork”. Traditionally, this is the first series performed in a Reformer session, for both beginning and seasoned practitioners and is a way of warming up and checking in on the whole body.

For the uninitiated, the movement looks like a squat – except you are lying down and spring-loaded resistance is taking the place of gravity and body weight.

Sounds simple, right? Well, like a well-executed squat, there are a few pieces that need to line up correctly, starting with the feet and ankles. Read the rest of this blog post »

S.T.O.P. To Cultivate Better Proprioception

On Wednesday, I talked about how my meditation practice and anatomy studies have deepened my understanding of the body and mind in ways I didn’t anticipate. One of many ways the two practices complement each other is through the body-sense of proprioception. Regardless of how coordinated or uncoordinated you already are, proprioception is a skill that can be cultivated. Things like practicing yoga regularly help, but even if you’re lucky enough to get to a 90-minute class on a daily basis that still only makes up 6% of your entire day.  Read the rest of this blog post »

Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Tune Up®: Match Made in Heaven

I’ve been practicing meditation as long as I’ve been teaching yoga – ten years this year. On paper, my two passions appear very closely linked yet I’ve mostly felt that they were separate.

The type of meditation I practice is from the Buddhist tradition known as Vipassana or Insight meditation. As my love for Buddhist teachings as a whole expanded, they naturally made their way into my yoga classes and teaching. Making room for more Buddhist and meditation themes in my classes, left me using just enough cues to get students into poses safely and bumping anatomical teachings.

Meditation and anatomy can be linked in more ways than you think!

Meditation and anatomy can be linked in more ways than you think!

This happened quite gradually and while I still felt very confident when I was asked a question about the movements of the mind, I was very unsure when a student asked me a question about an injury or condition. I would glaze over the questions replying vaguely with things like “Oh, that sounds like your shoulder muscles,” and then quickly refer them to a body worker or more anatomically fluent yoga teacher.

It seemed fine to do this for a while, yet I felt powerless the more I did it. In my eighth year of teaching, I decided to embark on the Integrated Yoga Tune Up® Teachers path, and from the get go, I’ve gained a proficiency in understanding the body that has empowered me to no longer be vague and uncomfortable when approached with a question. Read the rest of this blog post »

Meet the Teacher Trainer: Dagmar Khan

Dagmar Khan Profile Picture YTUMeet Dagmar Khan, a member of our international teaching team who leads weekly Yoga Tune Up® & Therapeutic Yoga classes throughout Ireland (Waterford, Dublin, Cork, Limerick) and YTU trainings in Europe.

How did you discover Yoga Tune Up® and why did you decide to become a teacher?

I came across YTU after purchasing Jill Miller’s Shoulder Shape Up DVD. The sequences and techniques intrigued me as years of chronic shoulder tension and despair began to vanish. The deeper I dove into YTU, the more I realized how smart this work is and how profound of an impact it has on the lasting structural health of my body. This was my fuel to bring YTU to my area and my community, to empower my clients to become “masters” of their bodies and learn Self-Care Health Care first hand. Read the rest of this blog post »

Integrating YTU Therapy Balls into Your Daily Routine

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had time for a full roll-out session each day – to completely undo all of the issues in our tissues? How great would it be for a full body roll-out that unties every knot and reverses our fascial adhesions accumulated from sleeping, sitting, working out, and other movements and postures of our lives that create musculoskeletal imbalances? As nice as that sounds, the harsh reality is that most of us don’t have time for this kind of extended self-care each day. On days we can’t make it to a Yoga Tune Up class or don’t have time after working out for a proper roll-out session, we’re often left with no soft-tissue care at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Even if we can’t spare a big chunk of time every day, we can still fit in soft-tissue self-care if we are strategic. ‘How?’ you may be wondering. Well, simply by integrating self-massage into our daily routines with a few self-care multi-tasking hacks. Read the rest of this blog post »

The Roll Model Method: The Science of Rolling is Coming to London!

The Science of Rolling is Coming to London!Jill Miller will be leading the FIRST Roll Model Method: The Science of Rolling course in London this year as part of the Strength Matters Summit!

This 8 hour Training of The Roll Model® Method puts its focus on pain physiology and fascia studies, empowering professionals from any body-based discipline to help clients of any level of fitness to adopt a simple and effective self-care regimen.

The Roll Model Balls can be used as an adjunct offering within personal training sessions, stretch, Pilates, dance classes, wellness coaching, yoga, massage therapy, kids or special populations. Therapy balls put the power of self-massage into your clients’ own hands.

You will learn 6 proven head-to-toe series, approved by body therapy professionals to affect profound change in the rotator cuff, upper back, neck, jaw, hips, lower back, IT Band, calves and feet (plus you will take home recordings of all of the sequences.) You will learn to identify bony landmarks, muscular attachments, fascia geography, and specialized ball rolling techniques that penetrate into common high tension areas. Clients at every level of fitness OR disability are ushered into the awareness of their own anatomy, helping you build their confidence and ability to live better in their body….PAIN FREE!

This can be done as a Bonus day of the Strength Matters Summit or as a stand alone training. Contact Strength Matters directly to register for the entire conference. 


The Roll Model Method: The Science of Rolling Hosted by Strength Matters Summit
October 30, 2015, 10am – 6pm
$350 USD

Radisson Blu Edwardian Heathrow
Heathrow Airport
140 Bath Road, Hayes
Middlesex UB3 5AW England

Registration is open now for both the entire Summit and the training. 

Learn more here:

Occipitofrontalis: Surprisingly Stress Reducing

My forehead was wrinkled in anguish, I could feel the tension in the back of my head. My occipitofrontalis was straining and I could sense it all the way down my neck and into my back. The wonderful discovery of the very happy pregnancy (see part 1) was now expiring in front of me as I experienced a miscarriage. You could see the stress in my forehead, the tension had created a constant dull headache, neck pain and, began affecting my sleep.

These symptoms are common and understandable when it comes to stress and traumatic events. Luckily, I knew I didn’t have to let myself continue to suffer. I had encountered an amazing remedy to help me release tension in my now very stuck occipitofrontalis. I had felt this sensation before to varying degrees, during other types of stressful situations, like when I had spent too much time on the computer in a position that wasn’t favorable to my neck or when I would tighten my face and head to help me hold difficult yoga poses or other challenging exercises. Read the rest of this blog post »

Occipitalfrontalis: Surprisingly Beautiful

I looked down at the white stick in my hands as a radiant pink plus sign gleamed back at me. My heart sang and my eyebrows raised to their fullest height, elated by this confirmation. Trying to compose myself, I looked in the mirror and began to adjust my forehead to a relaxed, wrinkle free, resting position, as not to give away this little secret.

Taking a deep breath, I stepped outside of the bathroom to share the incredible news with my wonderful partner, “I’m pregnant!”. His beautiful bald head lit up, from eyebrows to occiput in a giant smile. As we celebrated, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What exactly was that muscle which made his eyebrows and head so expressive?”

…Ok, so maybe I didn’t think of that exact thing, at that exact moment, but this is still a true story! Read the rest of this blog post »

Dogs and DOMS (Directions of Movement)

Welcome back!  I hope you enjoyed the first part of this dreaded down dog blog, where I shared some useful information about the shoulder girdle/complex and the importance of keeping it as stable as possible.

Now, back to business.  DD is not a resting pose.  DD is dandasana, staff pose, shoulders in flexion, (arms overhead), fingers reaching, crown of the head reaching, heels reaching, legs working, spine in “perfect” neutral and so much more.  Have you tried that lately?  For five full breaths?  I have.  I don’t want to hold it for 108 breaths.  Although, it would be fun to work up to that.

Consider other resting pose options for yourself and your students:   Table top.  Child’s pose.  Half dog at the wall.  A chair version.  Standing in tadasana.  I encourage the students in my class to explore other poses. Read the rest of this blog post »

Jill Miller, Creator of Yoga Tune Up®

After studying yoga, movement, and the human body for over twenty years, I created Yoga Tune Up® as a simple way to restore my body and mind, keeping me balanced and free of pain. Using a specific and unique set of poses, movements and self massage tools, you too can LIVE BETTER IN YOUR BODY WITH YOGA TUNE UP®.


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