I went to a performance "Enchainments", given by the Rozann-Zimmerman Ballet Center at Cal State University Northridge Sunday June 3. I really enjoyed the presentation of ballet, jazz, modern and some Flamenco as well. I could see the result of a lot of rehearsal and disciplined study. It took me back to the days when I was doing the same, along with schoolwork, homework, home chores, and washing out tights and leotards every night, darning new pointe shoes, and stretching on the floor while studying.
One thing that I have now - and love - is my physio ball, also known as a gym ball or exercise ball. In fact, most exercise regimens have adopted its use in one way another - Pilates on the ball, Core exercises on the ball, Yoga on the ball, and more.
I use the ball as my computer chair. I use no other. It is wonderful for several reasons. One is, I sit on a chair most of the day at work - not my favorite thing. And I need to move!
Bouncing gently, or just fidgeting on the ball while I'm thinking or waiting for pages to load, is healthy, and it is relaxing. Sore muscles get a little movement. Sitting on a chair, sore muscles get positioned poorly and become more spasm'd and hurt.
Also, the ball gives even when you breathe. There is literally no impact, no pressure moving up the spine when you sit on the ball.
It is also good for stretching. Sitting in second position, fourth position, and lunge positions, you just roll in different directions and get stretched, while you are reading or writing. I love it! Since we dancers tend to mindlessly stretch something, taking advantage of every move we make, the ball is a great addition to our collection of things that aid our recovery after classes. If you get one, experiment with it and you'll see what I mean.
When those legs just cannot get past relentless aching, lie on the floor and put your calves up on the ball. Kind of like putting them up a wall, but easier if you don't have space at your walls. You can roll slightly from side to side, stretching the sides of the hips and lower back, or roll all the way to the side, draping the top leg over the ball so you don't overdo the stretch.
Hanging over the ball like a rag doll, knees on the floor, and rolling up and down is a wonderful
spine stretch. It opens up the lower, mid and upper back, relaxing the shoulders as well. Just let the head hang. Aahhh.....and you can reverse the position, bending back over the ball, and roll around a little.
I use an exercise mat so my feet don't lose grip. Also you can position the ball against something behind you so you won't lose control and get dumped overboard.
The only time I got dumped was once when I was overtired but couldn't stop reading at my computer - the endless glut of interesting information syndrome - and while bouncing gently, I actually fell asleep and rolled backward. A rude awakening. Now I put a big book behind me if I'm tired. Always consider safety!
So it's a great tool for stretching and relaxing. The bouncing is good for your lymph.
(It's also wonderful for bouncing a baby to sleep, because it's so easy on the back.)
Leave me your comment if you have any more ideas on this.