Monday, October 15, 2012

Thank you, yoga ball

Yoga ball, exercise ball, birth ball, pilates ball, balance ball, fitness orb. They're used by such lovable comic characters as...



Personally, I refer to my green sphere of joy as a yoga ball. As of last month, I have had my Gaiam brand yoga ball for five years. I have used it virtually every day of those five years. I'm sitting on it right now, balanced on top in a tailor sit while I type at my desk.

I fell in love with these gems at the office of Friends of the National Zoo. I walked in on the first day of my internship in 2007 to see every employee sitting on a yoga ball instead of a traditional desk chair. It certainly gave the office a fun atmosphere, but I didn't really get it--until I'd spent several weeks using one for 5-6 hours every day. The ball was ridiculously more comfortable than a desk chair. It was easier to sit up correctly, my bum didn't get tired, my back didn't ache, and I didn't feel drowsy from being sedentary. When you're sitting on a yoga ball while working, you constantly move, whether you notice it or not. It energizes you while you stare at a screen. And, as Dwight points out, it strengthens your core.

I'll be honest--I'm obsessed with my yoga ball. I love it so much that I made Nick get one too, early in our marriage. Here are some more reasons we love our yoga balls:

1. Babies! Both of our babies have been magically soothed by being held and bouncing on the yoga ball. Bouncing unties any knot of fussiness. For the baby, I think is very close to the motion of walking, which they of course love after their 9-month sojourn in the womb. For the parent, it is much easier to sustain bouncing long enough to calm a child than it is to sustain walking, swaying, or anything else that keeps you on your feet. We have a rocking chair, and we do like it, but both of our babies have vastly preferred the ball over the chair. A common saying in our house is, "I'll bounce her down," as in, bouncing baby girl down to sleep.

2. Portability! This has two aspects--in home and travelling. In home, it is so nice to be able to use the yoga ball wherever we need it. For instance, you can't pull a rocking chair up to the table during a meal, but you CAN hold your cranky baby, bounce on a yoga ball, and eat a hummus wrap for lunch all at the same time! It wouldn't be easy to use a rocking chair at a desk, but you CAN put your baby in a Moby wrap, bounce on a yoga ball, and type a blog entry all at the same time! I am quite accustomed to doing this. Nick doesn't use the Moby wrap, but he has his own baby-ball-desk style. Luke gave his dad the stylish hat, of course:

Photo: This is what working at home entails for my sweet husband. Strainer hat courtesy of Luke.'

So in home, they are easy to move around (without using your hands!) from room to room. But when you're a young student family, you often go home to visit parents--parents who may or may not have gear for helping to put a baby to sleep. How easy is it to deflate the yoga ball and slip it into a suitcase with a pump? SO EASY. So easy, in fact, I even brought my yoga ball with me when I lived in Belgium for four months. That's how much I love my yoga ball. 

3.  Exercise! I didn't have babies or a husband when I brought my yoga ball to Belgium--it came along as a desk chair and exercise tool. Gaiam yoga balls come with a workout DVD, and we all know how much I love those. I didn't want to go running in Belgium or do some noisy, vigorous workout when I was renting a room in a house. My yoga ball offered a challenging, unobtrusive workout. Plus, as I already mentioned, simply using the yoga ball day in, day out gives you secret exercise. Oooooo. 

4. LABOR! Many laboring mamas love to use yoga balls--and I am among them. I didn't use one during my labor with Luke, (because they wiped it down with this cleaner and the smell of it made me vomit...) but with RenĂ©e, you bet I did! It's so easy to achieve a comforting counter-rhythm during contractions when you're draped over the ball. Sitting and bouncing is a great way to pass the time during a long, slow labor as well. A yoga ball is just another great trick to have up your natural birth sleeve. 

Now, because I'm obsessed with my yoga ball, and to celebrate *100* entries in this lil blog of mine, I am doing my first ever giveaway! HOORAY! 

I am giving away a Gaiam Balance Ball (sized to the winner). I hope I've made it amply clear how valuable these things are. If I haven't then...Oh yes, I forgot to mention that all yoga balls also make you rich and famous. 

To enter, leave a comment on this entry. You will get extra entries if:
--You follow the blog
--You share the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else (tell me in your comment if you've done this). 

I will leave the giveaway open till next Monday, October 22. I will announce the winner in my 100th blog entry next week!


  1. Oooh ooh pick me!! You had me at secret exercise! I will share your lovely blog on FB too.

  2. Okay.... maybe I need to try one of these things for baby #2! Especially after seeing the magic in action with baby Renee this Sunday! ---Rachael Harding

  3. I'm SOLD! I've been thinking about getting one of these for awhile, and you just gave me about a dozen more reasons that I hadn't thought of before. :)

  4. So cool! I've wanted one for years and right now my back and quads are sore and it sounds heavenly to be stretching on! I love your blog :) and all your creative ideas!

    I posted on facebook AND my blog :) (I don't have twitter or I would have posted there too!)

  5. Bouncing babies is the #1 reason these things should be absolutely required before even thinking about having kids. But then they grow up, discover scissors and get creative with that big, bouncy ball of air... please pick me!

    Posted the giveaway on FB & Twitter!

  6. How fun is this giveaway? I would use it at work, where sometimes i think that my butt will fall off because I sit still too long.

  7. Made the following official. I've been getting your posts to my google reader for probably about a year now. Keep up the good work, I've posted to facebook as well.

  8. I remember using one at the FONZ office, too! I've been thinking about getting one off-and-on and never got around to it. What a fun idea =)

    P.S. ugggggggghhh it took me like 5 tries to "prove I'm not a robot" in leaving this comment. I couldn't make out the letters in the nonsense words and then I tried to play the sound. Have you ever done that? It sounds like ET/Wall-E/whales/generally not human.

  9. Yay for your blog growing up! Congrats! And of course I want to be just like Dwight :)

  10. I'm almost 37 weeks pregnant and have been thinking about getting one of these balls-your post sold me on them. I hope I win!

  11. love yr blog, linda :) if i win i will practice not bouncing into your tv

  12. When you're picking the winner, don't forget that I gave you an awesome pink vintage suitcase WITH engraved initials for your birthday one year. HAHA! Just kidding, I don't care if I win, mostly I just wanted you to have a reminiscent smile on your face.

  13. Hi, Linda! I love your blog, and I think I'm gonna go to Target and pick up a yoga ball now - you've inspired me!

  14. I wrote about this post on my blog (and put the link)

  15. Midnight entry! I'd love a yoga ball to sit on while I'm writing. :)

  16. Linda! I just found your blog - love it, and am following! Enter me please =)

  17. OH OH OH!! I'm following and I'm headed over right now to post this on FB. This sounds so fun, I'd love to try it out!