Yoga Balls – Useful Yoga Aids

Yoga, which originated from India more than five centuries ago, was essentially a school of thought leading to a spiritual discipline for its followers. Even though different branches of yoga evolved, the core teachings of these branches did not have much to do with physical exercise or development of the body. However, the 20th and 21st centuries saw a big transformation taking place with lots and lots of people seeking yoga as their means to better health and stress relief. This in turn resulted in the development of a new range of branches in modern yoga.With yoga gaining popularity in the Western world, a new set of visions and experiments started emerging in order to help yoga reach more individuals and to find innovation in the practices. The yoga ball happens to be one of the products of this innovation. An inflated vinyl ball to support the yoga postures wouldn’t have likely been thought of by the ancient gurus; nevertheless, it was the need of the hour for yoga to be more innovative and accessible.Until the path breaking movement of the renowned yoga guru BKS Iyengar, vinyasa (the fluid transition or the movement from one pose the next in a series) used to be considered more important than a perfect posture. But with Iyengar yoga growing out of Hatha Yoga, the emphasis was transformed from vinyasa flow to the perfection of postures.In Iyengar yoga, a lot of props, such as yoga balls, are used in perfecting the postures. The teachers help their disciples attain the perfect postures using different prop models including the yoga balls, thus eliminating the need for undue or unbearable strains to improve the postures. These props are of tremendous help to the beginners, as well as for those who have health or strength problems.Yoga aids like yoga balls can be of help in different levels ranging from helping someone keep one leg elevated for an extended period in a balancing pose or in perfecting the arch of the back. Yoga balls can also be used for sitting. Yoga balls are of help not only for the weak or the less balanced practitioners but also for the experts. Yoga balls help the experts stretch their boundaries to achieve even more difficult postures or to hold to their postures for longer periods.Iyengar yoga may not have the cardiovascular benefits that can be had from the yoga types that follow the vinyasa flow principle, but it offers improved muscle strength and perfect postures. Yoga aids used in Iyengar yoga apart from yoga balls include straps for bound poses, bricks for support, and rollable blankets for back support. The blankets can be used for holding sitting poses also.

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