I am a yoga teacher but I don’t necessarily work with yoga students all of the time. Many of my walking clients are not athletic, or highly athletic but into disciplines other than yoga. And I am not of the belief that yoga is the be-all-end-all of exercise. Whatever form of exercise that an individual likes is the be-all-end-all form of exercise. That being said I love me the yoga.
But I love a lot of different types of exercise as well. I don’t do anything every day but I bike, rollerblade, work on my bosu ball, try to do pull ups, jump rope etc. I love it all along with my yoga practice. And balancing it all together is good for the body.
One of the places I rent, to see walking and yoga clients, is Birthday Presence in Soho where my wife works as a childbirth educator. Every time I walk in the door I am immediately confronted with stacks of exercise balls. I can barely put my coffee down before I am backbending over one of them and balancing on them in different ways. They are all the same size but I can’t tell you how many times I have compared them looking for the largest one.
I love backbending over these balls for a particular reason that wouldn’t be evident in a video. If I, or you, lay over one of these balls on your back with both the hands and feet planted on the floor you can do very nice experiential work feeling how the spine reacts to the engagement and disengagement of the abdominal muscles. You can literally feel the bones of the lumbar spine lengthen and compress as you engage and then let go of the abs.
The video above combines one of my favorite yoga poses, virasana, with the exercise ball. I sit in virasana to start every class that I teach and it has long been my favorite “seat” in the yoga practice. When I started doing virasana I had to sit on two blocks and it took me seven years to be able to remove both blocks and sit flat to the floor between my heels.
Balancing in Virasana on an exercise ball is nothing but fun. You can learn it by sticking close to a piece of furniture that you can return to if balance becomes an issue. Over time, try to move into the middle of the room and climb on board.
My next trick will be standing on the ball but I have a feeling that is light years away from happening. At the moment I am too scared to even try it.