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Teaching Hatha Yoga - Yoga on the Ball

Paul M. Jerard Jr.
Aug 17, 2007
Where did this ball come from? Is the stability ball a legitimate Yoga prop or just a marketing gimmick for equipment sales? Who could benefit from the use of the ball in a Yoga class? When can the stability ball fit into a Hatha Yoga class?

Where did this ball come from? Stability balls have been around since 1963, originating in Italy. The first time I saw a stability ball, we called it a, "Swiss Ball." Yet, the "Swiss Balls," at that time, were all made in Italy. American Physical Therapists saw the ball, in use, within physical therapy Swiss units.

As a result, the ball was "nick named" the Swiss Ball by Americans for decades. The first balls we used at Aura Wellness Center were made by Gymnic Balls in Italy. We tried many brands, but my personal ball is an old Gymnic Ball, which has taken more abuse than it deserved.

Now, these balls are commonly referred to as stability balls, exercise balls, or balance balls. They are used in physical therapy, Pilates, Yoga, and health clubs. Many elite and professional athletes use them for coordination.

Is the stability ball a legitimate Yoga prop or just an exercise marketing gimmick for equipment sales? Any piece of equipment can be termed an exercise marketing gimmick, but the stability ball has hundreds of uses.

In Yoga, you can perform a standing warm up, Sun Salutation, seated series, prone series, table series, supine on the ball series, and supine on the floor series.

Who could benefit from the use of the ball in a Yoga class? Beginners can use the stability ball for many poses. For example: In wheel posture (Chakrasana), holding this position is not for everyone, but the stability balls, and a wall, make it possible for everyone. With a stability ball, beginner Hatha Yoga students can gain the benefits of Chakrasana for minutes.

Just this one pose is fantastic for improving elasticity of the spine and your daily posture. It is also said that this posture gently stretches the heart, pancreas, liver, and kidneys.

Yet, this posture is classified as an inversion, and may not be advisable for Yoga students with high blood pressure. Students with back problems should get their doctor's permission and study under the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher.

When can the stability ball fit into a Hatha Yoga class? To be completely safe, you should consult a physician before entering a Yoga class where Yoga postures or Yoga exercises are practiced. The same warning applies to the use of a stability ball in any class.

With that said, Yoga ball videos are great for Yoga teachers, but can be risky for the unsupervised public. So, if you want to learn to use the stability ball in your Yoga practice, you should join a Yoga class and seek the guidance of a competent Yoga teacher.

Copyright 2007 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications
About the Author
Paul Jerard, E-RYT 500, is a co-owner and the director of Yoga teacher training at: Aura Wellness Center in, Attleboro, MA. He has been a certified Master Yoga teacher since 1995.

http://www.yoga-teacher-training.org
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