The folks at Yoga Tune Up were kind enough to send me a Yoga Tune Up Ball Kit for a look-see. Just in the nick of time, too, considering that I spent ALL of Sunday afternoon painting the ceilings of three rooms. Ouch! Talk about sore shoulders and neck!
The kit contains an Audio CD Program, 2 Therapy Balls w/Travel Tote, and Foldout Placement Guide. The balls are made of a “high grip” rubber material that’s softer than a tennis ball (though similarly sized) but firmer than a stress ball. Crystal clear? That’s as close as I can get.
The Foldout Placement Guide and the audio program guide, narrated by Gaiam expert contributor and Yoga Tune Up creator, Jill Miller, take the user through a series of movements designed to work out the kinks and knots–like a body massage. I have to say that the shoulder and neck movements were very effective! There are also some leg/foot exercises that feel really, really good. I didn’t do as well with the lower back maneuvers, which leads me to my one complaint about the product.
The placement guide fits inside the CD case and contains photos for 12 tracks. This means that the photos are teeny-tiny. That, coupled with the audio-only soundtrack, meant I had to stop several times to scrutinize the guide and/or back up the soundtrack to get the ball placements right. This was my first time using the program, though, so maybe it gets easier over time. What would have worked better for me would have been to have the photos display on-screen during the soundtrack. Not only would they be larger, they could demonstrate more clearly the proper timing of some of the movements.
But that’s my only quibble. Wait, no it’s not. The kit also lacks Kenny, my massage therapist, who rubs warm almond oil into my back and places warm towels on it after the massage. I dunno, maybe that would’ve driven the cost up too much? (The kit sells for $19.95 on the website. Kenny charges $35 for a half hour massage.)
Even Kenny-less, the therapy balls worked really well on loosening up my aching shoulders. I’m looking forward to trying this program again. If I never master the lower body work, the effect on my shoulders was awesome! And I’m certain that as the warmer weather moves in and my walks are longer, I’ll really appreciate the foot massage. I can also see how these might be useful for tossing into the car to ease the aches of a long road trip.
All things considered, I give the Yoga Therapy Balls two thumbs up, but with a suggestion for improving the guide. Or adding a Kenny.
(Disclosure: Yoga Tune Up provided the kit for evaluation. No other payment was requested or received.)