Pose-of-the-Month: Rochelle Rollback to Rochelle Roll Forward

For the month of  February 2013, Diana Ross of Breast Cancer Yoga has shared TWO of her favorite poses. These two very special poses reach every part of the body. It is a big thigh/hip stretcher that also opens the chest. We want everyone to explore this pose slowly. Go where you can – don’t push. Try it out and let us know how you like it!

The Rochelle Rollback and Roll Forward was graced to me through my friend Rochelle. She naturally flowed into this pose and everyone loved that it was so freeing, especially if they stayed in it for a considerable amount of time so that the mind and the muscles released. Support the knee if it does not feel right, and raise your seat too. Ahh.. this will feel good!

Benefits of Rochelle Rollback:

  • Increases cervical and axillary lymphatic drainage
  • Stretches quadriceps and opens hip flexors
  • Repairs post-surgical adhesions and scar tissue
  • Lengthens and expands pectoral muscles
  • Aids flexibility of rib cage and thoracic spine
  • Relaxes and broadens the chest, allowing blood to flow freely to the heart and lungs which reduce respiratory and heart rates
  • Massages the thymus gland which stimulates the immune function
  • Promotes deep breathing by widening the chest
  • Facilitates an inner quiet and calmness.

Benefits of Rochelle Roll Forward:

  • Great hip opener that elongates psoas muscles
  • Sciatic nerve pain relief
  • Allows the spine to relax and lengthen
  • Relieves anxiety and creates a deep sense of peace
  • Stimulates parasympathetic relaxation response
  • Decreases heart rate
  • Reduces circulating stress hormones
  • Lengthens thoracolumbar paraspinal muscles.


Note: Do the Rochelle Roll Forward right after the Rochelle Rollback.

Diana Ross demonstrating the Rochelle Rollback

Diana Ross demonstrating the Rochelle Rollback

Rochelle Rollback:

  1. Begin seated and place one or two bolsters or blocks behind you. Bring the right knee out to your side with the right foot resting on the left inner knee (adjust hips to be equal). Place top of left foot down to stretch ankle. Place blanket here for comfort.
  2. Lengthen the spine, slowly recline back and rest elbows to bolster. Stay until a release is felt in the thigh muscles. If no release is possible, stay and breath into the opening.
  3. To expand the chest, drape your back over the bolsters and place head on block, bolster or where it feels good. The arms can go out to “T” position, in between bolsters.
  4. If you wish to go even deeper you can remove the second bolster/block, release the crown of your head to earth and stretch arms out in between the props. Keep elbows soft and shoulders relaxed.
  5. Stay in the pose for 5 minutes or longer if it feels amazing. When finished, come up and place the cylinder bolster in front and drape torso over bolster in a Rochelle Roll Forward. Stay and breath into the hip opening.
  6. INHALE – come up and return to Staff Pose and enjoy ankle rotations.
  7. Repeat on the other side.

Caution: If you have a knee injury or arthritis, only attempt this pose under the guidance of an experienced and knowledgeable instructor.

Rochelle Roll Forward:

  1. Follow the instructions to Rochelle Rollback then begin the Rochelle Roll Forward by keeping the legs as they are and folding forward over a yoga bolster or folded blankets. Rest your forearms on props, then if desired, continue to extend arms forward placing forehead to bolster or blankets. The hips need to be resting on the ground and not too far lifted up. Maintain relaxation in this area (if possible breath into the areas of tension to make sure you are not holding any tight muscle energy).
  2. Option: Try EXHALING forward and INHALING back. This is a kinder way of opening the hip flexor, or you can try bringing the left leg back. This will deepen the opening in the hip too.
  3. Stay at least 10 breaths (or longer if there is a noticeable release).
  4. INHALE up when finished, bring both legs forward in Staff Pose and do some ankle rotations
  5. Repeat the Rochelle Rollback on other side and then the Rochelle Roll Forward.

Diana Ross demonstrating the Rochelle Roll Forward. The Staff Pose mentioned in the instructions is the last image in this sequence.

Liked this pose? Be sure to also try out the previous ones here.

The yoga poses and images shared in this feature are copyright of Diana Ross and Breast Cancer Yoga. For more information, visit the Breast Cancer Yoga website.


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