Yoga is an inclusive activity. Every pose is designed to help you maximize your personal potential in every movement you make. As you move from pose to pose you are encouraged to let your focus shift from reality to your mat. Worldly stressors, interpersonal concerns and work issues are left behind as you stretch and glide from one position to another.
For those new to yoga, getting into certain positions may be challenging at first. Frustration from not being able to master a pose can interfere with the relaxation benefits of yoga. This is why props and modifications are often encouraged. Instead of forcing yourself into a pose before your body is naturally ready for it, you can ease into a pose more gradually by taking advantage of different tools in your studio.
Fitness or stability balls are one of those tools that you are encouraged to take advantage of as you begin a yoga practice.
Fitness Balls for Balance and Stability
Fitness balls come in various sizes. They are often plastic or silicone and are inflated to different heights, helping you to find balance in different poses. Unlike a chair or block, fitness balls will move freely. While placing a foot or arm on a balance ball can help you to find stability in a pose, they do not function as a type of crutch in the way that other props do.
As you apply pressure on the ball or shift your center of weight to rely on it, you face the risk of the ball moving beneath you. If you are not maintaining balance in your own, this may cause you to fall. A fitness ball will help you find balance, but only if you are using your core and doing what you can to balance yourself while using it.
Fitness balls are great for those who have injuries and do not feel comfortable fully bending or climbing onto the floor in fear of having difficulty getting up. The ball can be used during downward and upward facing dog pose, as well as for a modified child’s pose and warrior poses. As you adjust these poses, instead of centering your weight on the mat by placing your weight on your feet and arms, use the ball to place your weight at the center of your body and use the ball to stabilize yourself.