How I Fell In Love With My Sponge Ball, Again, On The Way To Mexico
My sponge ball became my travel companion, helping me to combat a stiff neck, text neck, and rounded shoulders.
Dateline - Nov. 4, 2017 - Between Oregon and Mexico.
I fell in love with my sponge ball, again, on my way to Puerto Vallarta this week. On the 2,500-mile trip, I discovered how to use my sponge ball to combat text neck, stiff neck, and rounded shoulders.
I will share with you three of my new sponge ball moves to restore healthy movement to your neck (cervical spine). Let me tell you my story and then I'll tell you my moves.
For 5 days, my husband, John, and I drove from Portland, OR, USA. We are on our way to Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, MX. We spend the winter months in Puerto Vallarta. Lucky us!
I am in the passenger seat. John does all the driving. He doesn't like the way I drive (like a little old lady). And I prefer not to drive. So that works out well.
I have been using an 9" inflatable exercise ball for lumbar support and stability when I travel. I place the sponge ball in a simple drawstring backpack. I "wear" the sponge ball on my lower back whenever I am seated. This trip, I found a new reason to travel with my sponge ball.
Naturally, I look for ways to move, even while I am sitting in a small space for long periods of time.
I have a lot of time on my hands when we travel by auto. And I am not very good at sitting still. And I love to move. In fact, I teach intelligent movement for a living. So, naturally, I find ways to move, even while I am sitting in a small space for long periods of time.
On this trip, I decided to place the sponge ball between the back of my seat and my neck (cervical spine). I created three simple moves for neck mobility and stability. These moves will also help to reverse the forward head posture that happens when we spend a lot of time texting. Or working on the computer.
I find that the sponge ball creates a nice cushion to support your movements and keep them safe.
I like to practice (and teach) in moves in sets of three. So I have created three move for you that I call a "learning triplet". Each learning triplet becomes a mini-sequence that is easy to remember and repeat.
You can practice sponge ball learning triplets in the passenger seat of a vehicle, in a beach chair, in a recliner, or on an airplane.
For all three moves, partially inflate the sponge ball to about 85% or to personal taste. Start seated in a vehicle as a passenger. (Don't do these moves while you are driving!) Note: This also works sitting in a beach lounge chair on the beach or a recliner in your living room, or sitting in an airplane passenger seat.
Place the sponge ball behind the head. against the back of the seat. Press the back of your head into the sponge ball.
Start by noticing your breath. Breathe In. Breathe out. Continue to watch breath as you practice these moves. Notice how you feel as your start this learning triplet.
1. CHIN TUCK. Tuck your chin slightly as you press your neck back into the sponge ball. The base of your skull (occipital ridge) will move back and up with the chin tuck. You may want to push on your chin with your forefinger to assist the chin tuck. Repeat 3, 6, or 9 times.
Listen to your inner athlete (everybody has one!).
2. CERVICAL ROTATION. Keep your chin slightly tucked and your head pressing into the sponge ball. Slowly look to the right. Rotate as far as you can without pain, discomfort, or tension. Keep your movement in the cervical spine. Keep your shoulders and torso still. Return to center and repeat on the left. Alternate left and right for 3, 6, or 9 times, whatever is right for you.
3. LATERAL CERVICAL SIDE BEND. Keep your chin slight tucked and the back of your head pressing into the sponge ball. Slowly drop your right ear toward your right shoulder and then a little forward toward your armpit. This additional forward movement will help open up the vertebra on the opposite side of the cervical spine. Go only as far as you can without pain tension, or discomfort. Stay in your cervical side bend for several breaths. Return to center. Repeat on the left side. Alternate left and right for 3, 6, or 9 times. Check with your inner athlete.
When you finish your learning triplet, take the time to notice your breath and ask yourself "How do I feel?" It is important to check in before and after each learning triplet to help measure changes.
How to practice these sponge ball learning triplets on your own.
Buy a sponge ball for yourself on Amazon.com. Search for SPRI sponge ball, Yoga Tune Up Coregeous ball, or original Gerti ball. This little ball is great for travel and home gym. It has many uses. I am still using it for lumbar stability. Once you buy your sponge ball, you will find other ways to use it. And you will always use it for these neck and shoulder moves.
Medical Disclaimer: This article contains information intended to assist you in improving your health and well-being. However, the information presented is offered only as-is for informational and educational purposes. It is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a medical professional.