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A yoga ball makes a great yoga accessory, and its use is not limited to yoga. The term “yoga ball” is often used to describe those large exercise balls that are now standard at nearly every gym and fitness center. The balls can be used for a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises that can enhance your yoga practice.
When you first buy a yoga ball, be sure to inflate it according to the recommended ball size. Use a tape measure to help you inflate the ball to the correct diameter. If you inflate the ball too much, it can rupture. A properly inflated yoga ball should be firm, but it should give slightly when you sit on it or push it. You can adjust the amount of inflation according to whether you want a firm ball or one that is squishier. Some exercises are more challenging when the ball is firmer.
Your yoga ball will last for years if you take care of it. Clean the ball periodically with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water. Avoid harsh cleansers that may scratch the rubber surface of the ball. Yoga balls can be used for yoga, but they are also useful accessories for other stretching and strengthening exercises. Check out Gaiam's BalanceBall DVDs to get ideas for how to put a new bounce in your workouts.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|