Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Gaiam Yoga Therapy Balls Product Review & Give Away

As I mentioned a few days ago, CSN Stores gave me the opportunity to choose a product from one of their 200+ online stores to review on my blog. It was a tough decision, but here's what I finally settled on after more than an hour of virtual shopping:
I picked the Gaiam Yoga Therapy Balls with instructional dvd. Now, I'm not a huge fan of yoga with lots of props. Yoga wasn't even the main reason I decided on this product. I don't know about you, but the increase in duration and frequency of runs in marathon training has made me sore in places I didn't know existed. The soles of my feet are sore! Even if you don't run, I bet you've experienced tightness between the shoulder blades from sitting at a computer all day, sore forearms from too much typing, or discomfort in your lower back from those beautiful but uncomfortable shoes. I'm pretty much always up for a massage, how about you?

I have a lovely foam roller, but I'd heard great things about ball therapy. And, what better time to try it out than when it's free! I ordered my yoga balls last Wednesday and they arrived today. About the same as Amazon if you don't have Prime. The box arrived on my lunch break, and I had to wait the rest of the day to rip into it! It had been a long day, and I was looking forward to a little relaxation. So, I broke out my new yoga mat and got ready to chill.

I was a little concerned about the dvd...I've tried Gaiam yoga dvds before with out much success, and one of the main instructors Rodney Yee was the host for this video. The instructional video is short (25 minutes total, including Yee's introduction). He instructs the helper yogi how to strategically place the balls to release certain trigger points. Those poses are great...I especially liked the one where you lie face down with the medium-sized ball between your hip bones and the two small balls under either side of your collar bone. Wow...with all the tension I'm holding in my lower abs, you'd think they'd look a little tighter! The part of the dvd that I wasn't impressed by were the random yoga poses interspersed between the trigger point bits. They seemed unnecessary, but Gaiam is known for yoga and it was called "yoga therapy" so it was to be expected. I just skipped the poses I didn't feel like doing and went back to my massage!

The balls themselves were great. I was a little unsure when I unpacked them because they seemed pretty light. I was afraid I'd flatten them if I laid down on them. But, they were very sturdy with just enough give to be comfortable to roll around on. For some poses like the neck and lower back, the two small balls are placed in a sleeve to keep them together. The bag that came in the box was fine, but the plastic fastener on the bag doesn't work too well (or I'm using it wrong...). I think I'd prefer a drawstring. I ended up putting them in a knee sock and tying a knot at the end...I'm nothing if not ingenuitive!

In the end, I was pleased with ball therapy, not so much with the dvd. I want something more geared toward running aches and pains. So, did a little googling and came up with the following links. They mostly refer to using a tennis ball, but these would be a nice substitution as they're smoother and a little firmer.
  • This one isn't entirely running focused, but the forearm stretch felt too good not to share.
  • These two articles show how to use balls to massage the lower and upper body. 
I'll be on the look out for more to share with you.

Okay, now on to the good part--Of course, I couldn't do all this shopping for myself without passing on the love. 1 lucky reader is going to get his/her very own set of Gaiam yoga therapy balls. WooHoo--let the relaxation begin! Here's the deal:
  • The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian readers only. Sorry...shipping is expensive.
  • Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, July 28th at midnight (central time)
  • You can earn entries 3 ways (leave a separate comment for each):
    • Become a follower of the blog (or already are) and tell me about it via comment.
    • Spread the word on your Twitter, Facebook, or blog and let me know.
    • Share your favorite way to loosen up at the end of a long day or workout.
  • I'll randomly select 1 winner from those entries.
     Good luck!

    Fine print for "the man": The product I reviewed and am giving away were freebies, but my opinions (as always) are purely my own.


    1. My favorite way to loosen up at the end of a long day is definitely yoga! I would LOVE to try these!

      kerin0874 (at) yahoo (dot) com

    2. Haven't been to any yoga classes since the girls were born. This would be a great way to get some "yoga-ing" in at home! My favorite way to loosen up at the end of a long day--honestly, is a glass of wine :)


    3. I am a follower of your blog (hope I'm doing this correctly).