Yoga ball: how to choose and use it?

Verified on 19/01/2023 by PasseportSanté

Yoga ball: how to choose and use it?
The swiss ball is often reminiscent of gym sessions for seniors or certain Pilates. It is however possible to use it also during a session of yoga. It thus helps to work the deep muscles, sheathing, flexibility, balance or even concentration.

yoga ball for beginners

If you are a beginner, choose the classic rubber ball. Some have a non-slip part or small nubs for a massaging effect when lying on them. The more you deflate it, the more stable it will be and therefore easier to use.

Yoga ball for advanced users

If you are used to practicing yoga, especially with the help of a ball, you can opt for the swiss ball with wrist and elastic bands. You can vary the exercises and work several parts of your body at the same time.

Remember to re-inflate it regularly (please note that pumps are not generally supplied with the ball when purchased) so that it continues to challenge your balance and your sheathing during sessions.

Choose a yoga ball according to your morphology

The other criterion to take into account before buying a swiss ball is your morphology. Here is what is generally advised:

  • If you are under 1.65 m tall: choose a small model between 45 and 55 cm in diameter;
  • If you are between 1.65 m and 1.85 m tall: prefer a diameter of around 65 to 75 cm;
  • If you are over 1.85 m tall: choose a large ball with a diameter of 75 cm or more;
  • If you are pregnant: choose the size above that recommended so that the balloon can follow you until the end of pregnancy, despite the weight gain. You can inflate or deflate it as you wish depending on your stage of pregnancy;
  • If you weigh more than 80 kg: make sure your balloon can support your weight without risk of bursting. The maximum authorized weight is generally indicated in the description of the product.

To check that the size and swelling are ideal, sit on the swiss ball, your feet should be flat on the ground and your knees should form a right angle. Your pelvis will be at knee height or slightly above.

Choose a yoga ball with European standards

Before you start, you can check the composition of the materials used for making the ball. Make sure it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates.

Also check that it complies with European standards guaranteeing that the balloon will not burst, even in the event of a puncture.

If your skin is reactive, like a yoga mat, you can find brands that offer balls made of natural materials like rubber tree rubber, for example.

The Swiss ball can be included in many yoga exercises including:

Build muscle and gain with a yoga ball

The active board

Start in plank on the hands, the lower thighs rest in balance on the ball. On the exhale, bring your knees forward raising the pelvis until it is aligned above the shoulders. Inhale and return to the starting plank, being careful not to arch your back.


Place the ball against a wall and press your middle back against the ball with your feet together slightly forward. From there, bend your legs until your pelvis descends to knee height, or even lower if you can. To come back up, push firmly in the heels and repeat the exercise several times in sets of at least 10.

Lunges in balance

Balancing on one leg, stretch the other back and land the kick on the ball. On the exhale, bend the supporting leg and at the same time bring the opposite knee forward. Straighten on inspiration and repeat the exercise at least 10 times on each side.

Stretch with a yoga ball

Lying on your back

Place your lower back against the ball and lie down gently on your back, backwards, without cutting your breath.

Push slightly in the heels to straighten the legs and thus intensify this backward flexion of the whole column a little more. You can also stretch your arms backwards. Some people manage to touch the ground, forming a bridge pose.

Lying on your stomach

This is the reverse of the previous posture. This time, we place the belly and the bust on the ball. Hands can be placed on the floor in front of you. Release the weight of the legs well into space (keep the knees above the ground) before relaxing the lumbar area.

child posture

On your knees, on the ground, pelvis towards your heels, place your hands on the ball and stretch your arms forward. Let the bust come closer to the floor. Here, we stretch the entire front of the body and the shoulders.

Work on your balance with a yoga ball

Half bridge

Start lying on your back, knees bent, the ball on the ground in front of you. When you’re ready, plant your heels firmly in the ball and then lift your pelvis off the floor.

Take a deep breath and try to keep your shoulders away from your ears. If you’re comfortable, you can add variations by raising one leg then the other, or extending your arms behind your head.

Clamp open

Sitting on the ball, knees open, feet firmly planted on the floor, raise your arms to the sky on the inhale. As you exhale, lower your chest until you place your hands on the ground, bringing your navel closer to the ball and pushing your pelvis backwards.

Warrior 3

Start standing with the ball in your hands and your arms stretched out to the sky. Shift body weight to one foot. As you tilt your torso forward, stretch one leg backward. The arms are stretched forward and you squeeze your hands against the ball to activate the abs.

Your whole body forms a T, with your chest and back leg parallel to the floor. Don’t hold your breath. The knee of your supporting leg can be slightly bent if this is more comfortable for you.

Exercises for pregnant women with a yoga ball

Circles with the pelvis

Sitting on the ball, put your feet flat on the ground and your hands on your hips or on your stomach. Make larger and larger circles with your whole pelvis in one direction, then in the other.

Take a deep breath and let yourself be carried away by the movement. This exercise aims to relieve the lower back and sciatica pain common during pregnancy. It also softens the perineal area while maintaining mobility in the pelvis.

Side stretches

Same start as for the previous exercise: sitting on the ball, put your feet flat on the ground. Hands can be placed on stomach or hips.

On the inhale, extend your arm to bring the right biceps as close to the right ear as possible. Then on the exhale, hold your arm in the air and bend your chest to the left side. You should then feel that the entire right flank and right lower back stretch. Do the same exercise on the other side and alternate left/right several times, using your breath well to the end of its capacity.

half lotus

Again, we start sitting on the ball, feet flat on the ground. Drop the right ankle onto the left knee and let the right knee drop to the floor. You can hold the ankle with one hand and apply light pressure to the knee with the other hand. Here, we work on the opening of the hips and the mobility of the pelvis.

These exercises can be done even outside of pregnancy. And pregnant women can also use the ball for stretching exercises on the back and for the posture of the child, as well as that of the half bridge.

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Yoga ball: how to choose and use it?

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