Yoga Tune Up: Tension Tune Down Series “Hips and Buttocks”

Jill Miller
Year Released: 2009

Categories: Special Health Conditions , Yoga
- Audio Workout

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I own the entire Tune Down Series, but if I were to purchase just one, it would probably be this one. (Although I prefer having them all!) That is because this is the area on me that needs the most work. The balls can touch areas that the foam roller just cannot get into. When my hips are feeling tight and sore, doing this CD always makes them feel better immediately. It truly is like getting a great (although sometimes painful) massage.

The only part of this that I don't love it the ITB work. It is too intense for me, and I think the foam roller is better for that. But when I need something to dig into my piriformis, SI joint and glutes, this is what I reach for.

I don't love working off of audio, since I am too used to the visuals. However, Jill does an excellent job of explaining what you should be doing. The little printout from the CD cover is helpful also. The one thing I've learned is to not worry too much about doing what she says perfectly anyway. I can usually tell if it is helping or not.

Instructor Comments:
I am truly thankful to have discovered Jill through Videofitness. I had been struggling for a while to find an instructor I really liked, so wasn't doing much yoga. Jill has made me enjoy it again, and I think she is an excellent instrutor.

Lisa C


I’m reviewing this workout after doing it several times.

General workout breakdown: See Beth and Sharon’s great breakdown of this 22-min. CD. As Beth mentions, this first begins with exploring where major junctions of muscles are on your own body before taking a moment to observe how you feel before. The program begins on your back with a focus on the piriformis and related areas, including the gluteus medius (as well as maximus and minimus); you’ll work on and near the sacroiliac joint and greater trochanter, too. You then switch over to your side to work around your ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine), on your tensor fasciae latae (one of your hip flexors), and along your IT (iliotibial) band.

Level: I’d recommend this to people who have enough body awareness and anatomy knowledge to feel comfortable working with audio-only media; yoga experience is a bonus. You don’t need to be particularly “advanced” in anything or have amazing flexibility or strength to do this series at all.

Music: none.

Production: clear sound.

Equipment: 2 Tension Tune Down balls (2 ½” rubber balls). It’s worth getting the ones Jill sells (or, if you can find them more easily, 2 ½” Hi-Bounce Sponge Pinky Balls, which is what my original set from Jill are) rather than using a tennis ball. Although the same size, the denser and grippier nature of the TTD balls will make the exercises just that much more effective.

Space Requirements: enough space to lie down flat with legs extended. I don’t need much more length than my mat, although I need a little more width.

CD Notes: This CD has 8 tracks, although the first is Jill’s general series introduction.
The CD comes with a fold out chart with arrows pointing on images of Jill to the proper location of the balls for each track. Jill refers often to this chart, which can be awkward as you fiddle around with it, the balls, and your clothing (especially if you’ve removed your eyeglasses or contacts and dimmed the lights – and have to fight off a cat who can’t decide whether she’d rather steal the bouncy balls from you or shred the paper you’re waving around).

Comments: As with all of the TTD series, Lower Back works equally well as a stand alone practice, as part of a warm-up, or after your main workout or practice.

As with anything, check with a qualified medical or therapeutically trained professional if you have a serious medical condition in this region. If you experience more than a “comfortable amount of discomfort,” Jill reminds you to stop and seek such help out.

Note that although this works on the attachment site of major muscles in the lower body this does not specifically target the hamstrings, quadriceps, or hip flexors. I would think you’d be better off using a foam roller with those major muscles, anyway, although this would make a great complement to foam rolling along the lower body. Actually, I don’t have a foam roller, but I’m finally starting to cave on one now that I see how effective these sorts of practices are. I might even substitute in a foam roller for the ball on that final move along the IT band, as it doesn’t take much for that ball to be too strong for me in that region.

In the Lower Back series, Jill specifically mentions this one as a good complement for those who find that sciatic pain, tension around the sacrum, or tightness in the hips contributes to lower back issues.

Instructor Comments:
Jill’s instruction and enunciation are both clear. I like that she uses the scientific names for bones, muscles, tendons, etc., yet still takes some time to explain what they are in normal phrases, so to speak (and without cutesy nicknames). My only complaint is her (in my opinion) over-reliance on the accompanying chart for the position of the balls (compared to the Mini Series, where the same position as on Hips & Buttocks’ track 3 is described as being the inside seam of your jeans pocket); that said, part of the benefit of using systems like these is figuring out where these places are on your own body, which you should be able to do after a few times through.
Jill speaks with warmth, humor, and liveliness; she’s a little on the peppy side here, but well within my realm of tolerance. She uses straightforward language and down to earth images (for example, she describes the final exercise as tracing a tuxedo stripe down your leg). She demonstrates an intelligent yet intuitive knowledge of anatomy, particularly muscles in motion. While she clearly respects yoga and similar systems with all of their traditions, she manages to make her yoga practice her own without making it feel like she’s being different for the sake of being different.



This is one of the newest releases in Jill Miller's Tension Tune-Down series, a series of yoga-based self-massage programs available from Jill's new web site, There are 8 tracks on this CD, and in the first one, Jill simple provides a general introduction to the series and using the balls. The actual practice, which is about 19 minutes long, starts with Track 2. Jill has you begin in a standing position in order to locate the various parts of your anatomy that will be massaged during the practice; she encourages you to refer to the illustrated CD insert as a guide. For the first position (Track 3), you'll use both balls, but each of the remaining positions uses one ball only, working one side of the body at the time. Moves include "psychic bicycle," where you bicycle your leg around with the ball under your hip. The final two positions are performed lying on your side, and the very last position, which works the IT pain, is very sensitive and potentially quite painful; Jill encourages you to go slow here. She finishes with a brief rest (not a true savasana), then encourages you to get up, walk around, and feel the new freedom in your hips.

Instructor Comments:
I am a big fan of Jill's; I think she has a wonderful personality and a great sense of humor (although the latter does not come through quite as well here as on her DVDs). She has an amazing knowledge of anatomy and does a great job of teaching this to others.

Beth C (aka toaster)