1. Health

Yoga on the Ball

This workout shows a variety of yoga-based poses using an exercise ball to provide support in helping you improve balance and flexibility.  The stability ball is a great way to get extra support for moves that require endurance and flexibility and it also adds a balance challenge to some poses.  The size of the ball makes a difference and you may want to use a smaller ball for some movements.  Take your time with these moves and use extra support when needed.  Always avoid any exercises that cause pain or aggravate any injuries.

Precautions
See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed
An exercise ball a mat

How To
  • Perform the exercises as shown, completing 1-3 sets of each exercise
  • Take your time with the moves and prop the ball against the wall or a sturdy surface if you feel wobbly
  • Avoid any exercises that cause pain or discomfort
Squats with the Ball
Stand and place the hands on the ball.  Squat down, keeping the knees behind the toes, and roll the ball out, stretching through the arms and chest.  Inhale and straighten the knees while rolling the ball back in.  Repeat for 10 reps. 
 squatballyoga.jpg (91436 bytes)
Upward Facing Dog and Downward Facing Dog
From the squats above, come down to your knees and lean onto the ball, rolling forward until your hips are centered on the ball, legs straight.  Press hands into the ball inhale as you push the chest up and straighten the arms, looking up.  Exhale and roll forward, placing hands on the floor pushing the body up into an inverted v position, arms and legs straight and heels pressing into the floor.  Position the ball so that your chest and upper thighs are supported.  Inhale and move back into Up-dog, alternating each for 10 reps.
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Down Dog with Leg Lift to Lunge Stretch
In Down Dog position, inhale and lift the right leg straight up until your body is in a straight line.  Hold for one breath, lower the leg and swing it down to the floor, knee next to the ball.  Lean hips into the ball and sweep the arms overhead. Hold for 3-5 breaths then lift the back knee off the floor, using the ball to support the hips.  Hold for 3 breaths and repeat the series on the other leg.
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lungestretchball.jpg (92160 bytes) lungestretchkneeupball.jpg (93121 bytes)
Spinal Rotation
Sit on the ball and extend the legs, feet flexed, and arms out to the sides.  Sitting tall and keeping the back straight, rotate the torso to the right and reach the arm out and towards the right foot.  Rotate back to center and then to the left, reaching for the toes.  Continue rotating, concentrating on lengthening the spine.  Repeat for 10 reps on each side. 
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Seated Stork Pose
Sit on the ball and cross the right foot over the left knee (hold onto a wall or chair for balance if needed).  If you feel wobbly, prop the ball against a wall or hold onto a chair or wall for balance.  Bring the palms together in front of the chest.  Inhale and slowly take the arms up overhead, leaning forward to deepen the stretch if you can.  Hold for 3 breaths, lower and repeat on the other side. 
storkball.jpg (78014 bytes)
Warrior I to Warrior II and Side Angle
Get into a lunge position on the ball, right leg forward the left leg straight out behind you, foot flat.  Square the hips forward and sweep arms overhead and slightly back.  Hold for 3 breaths and then lower the arms and turn the body to the side, stretching through the arms.  Hold for 3 breaths.  From there, take the right arm down and place the hand on the floor while stretching the left arm straight up.  Hold for 3 breaths.  Repeat the series on the other side.
warriorIball.jpg (88530 bytes)
warriorIIball.jpg (90298 bytes) sideangleball.jpg (91430 bytes)
Torso Rotation Get on your hands and knees with the ball to the side and stretch the right leg out, placing the foot on the ball.  Gently rotate the spine and take the right arm straight up, turning the head to look up at that hand while the left arm stays on the floor.  Hold for 3 breaths and switch sides.
torsotwistball.jpg (92144 bytes)
Scissor Kicks
Lie on the ball and roll forward until you're resting on the forearms, legs straight out behind you with feet flexed.  Slowly open the legs wide and then bring them back together in a scissor motion while keeping the abs contracted.  Repeat for 10 reps.
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Quadruped on the Ball
Position yourself with the ball under the torso on the hands and knees.  Lift the left arm straight up and then the right leg and hold for a beat.  Lower and repeat on the other side, lifting the right arm and the left leg. Continue, alternating sides for 10-12 reps.
quadrupedball.jpg (67294 bytes)
Child's Pose
From the above exercise, sit back on the heels and roll the ball out, relaxing the head and stretching through the chest.  Shift the hips to the right and gently roll the ball to the left the stretch through the back, repeating on the other side.  Hold each stretch for 15 seconds.
childposeball.jpg (61119 bytes)
Forearm Balance
Position yourself with the right hip on the ball resting on the forearm, legs straight and resting on the floor.  Find your balance and slowly lift the left leg up while taking the left arm straight up to the sky.  Hold for 3 breaths and then repeat on the other side.
forearmbalanceball.jpg (100875 bytes)
Bridge on the Ball
Lie on your back resting the feet on the ball, knees bent.  Contract the abs in inhale to slowly roll the spine off the floor, pressing the feet into the ball, and bringing your body into a bridge position.  Hold for a beat and then exhale and roll the spine down onto the mat, making continuous contact with each part of the spine.  Repeat for 10 reps.
bridgeball.jpg (67339 bytes)
Hip Stretch
From the above move, cross the right foot over the left knee and use the left foot to gently roll the ball in to stretch the right hip.  Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the other side.
hipstretchball.jpg (71970 bytes)

 

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