Yoga fusion: Cat Matlock blends yoga and rolling therapeutics

Cat Finals - HI-RES-2 ROLL WITH IT: Cat Matlock has designed a class that incorporates yoga and rolling the muscles on balls and foam rollers. Photo by Taylor Johnson

Like proverbial peanut butter and jelly, yoga pairs perfectly with other healing modalities, according to several local yoga teachers. With countless yoga classes being offered daily in studios and public spaces around Asheville and Western North Carolina, these creative yogis are diversifying.

Xpress talked with five yoga teachers who have infused their yoga classes with complementary healing or movement practices to create a unique yogic experience. Cat Matlock, owner of West Asheville Yoga and longtime yoga teacher and bodyworker explains how she came to combine yoga and rolling therapeutics.


Cat Matlock — yoga and rolling therapeutics

Xpress: What is rolling therapeutics, and how do you incorporate the rolling into a yoga class?

Matlock: Rolling therapeutics [Matlock’s own term for the practice] is the practice of using foam rollers and therapy balls — really, any kind of ball — to roll out the muscles and connective tissues. With rolling work, you can release the binding in fascia connective tissues and release the chronically held tension in muscles, also known as trigger points. I typically begin my classes with an anatomy lesson while the students are doing exploratory yoga of the areas we’re working with that class. Then we roll the muscle groups with foam rollers or balls, pausing throughout to stretch and feel the new sense of length and strength. We finish with some deeper stretching.

What is it about these two modalities that makes them well-suited for each other?

Matlock: Once your muscles have been rolled out, you can stretch much farther and strengthen more effectively, with significantly less risk of injury. Yoga on its own, or any stretching practice, can create tearing in tissues because you are tugging on something that is stuck and cannot release by being pulled. Stretching a muscle locked in tension with trigger points will cause the muscle to contract more out of protection. This can be avoided by rolling first. Then your yoga practice is much deeper and more satisfying.

Can you share a bit about your own background and how this class came to be?
I have been a massage therapist for over 22 years, with a focus on Trigger Point Therapy and releasing chronic pain. I have practiced yoga even longer, and have taught yoga for 14 years. I started teaching my massage clients how to work on their own trigger points and fascia about 4 years ago and almost 2 years ago began teaching group rolling therapeutics classes because I realized that everyone needs to roll. I have helped thousands of people get out of pain and restore function to their bodies over these years.  It’s quite rewarding!

Learn more at and Rolling Therapeutics classes occur on Tuesday evenings at 7:15 at West Asheville Yoga.

Stay tuned for more interviews with local yoga teachers who have combined the ancient practice of yoga with complementary modalities.


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About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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