I’ve blogged in the past about props that you often need for a Yin Yoga practice. Starting this winter – which is to say, now – I have started incorporating balls of various shapes and sizes into my classes. Here’s what you need to know.
Balls can be used to stimulate acupressure points in the body. They are also good for just relieving tension in sore muscles fascia. A variety of “yoga balls” are available for purchase, but I find that standard issue athletic spheres work just fine nearly all of the time. I’ve used everything from those little bouncy balls you get from a gumball machine up to a baseball at different times and on different points. So which is right for you? it depends!
As I often say in class, “everybody is different, and every body is different.” Because of this, it’s common for me to have 5 students in class and each expressing a pose 5 different ways, even if subtly. As we all have different bodies, it makes sense that we may need a different ball from someone else. We may need a different ball for different parts of our own body. We may even need a different ball to stimulate the same area of the body from day to day!
Regardless of which ball you choose, be sure to start slowly. Do not just throw yourself on the ball and hope for the best – that way lies pain!
Here are the ones I have tried:
- Rubber Bouncy ball – These are cheap and small – good for tight tissues which are well defined.
- Golf ball – The next step up. They can be pretty intense, and tend to be good for the same tissues as a bouncy ball.
- Hand ball or Racquet ball – Not as big as a tennis ball, and not as dense as a golf ball. These offer less intensity but more surface area than a golf ball. So you may be able to reach deeper tissues, but it won’t feel as intense.
- Tennis ball – the middle of the road option. Fairly firm, but not super hard. I use a tennis ball all over the body, from soles of the feet all the way up to the back of the neck. Sometimes I will put two tennis balls in a sock and tie it closed. This makes for a nice tool to use along the spine.
- Lacross ball or baseball – these are both pretty hard and relatively big. They can be useful for rolling the feet and forearms.