Pelvic Awareness Exercise II: Rolling like a ball

Purpose and Caveats: Rolling like a ball requires us to hold the pelvis in a stable position through an ‘unstable’ motion. It requires keen attention to the details of the movement. You're likely to have an asymmetric roll in the beginning. This will shift as you practice and learn to hold the form with stability. Do not roll if you have osteoporosis or a neck injury, just come into the initial pose and practice holding it for 30 seconds to a minute. (For long time yogis: avoid the tendency to come up to a straight back when you arrive in the balancing position. The focus is different than in navasana: maintain a rounded spine throughout. You'll want to disengage the power centers in the hamstrings and and hip flexors and work from the abs and back instead.)

Focus: Keep your awareness in the sensations of the back of your body as you do this exercise. As the front of the body is curled into itself, let the back of the body be vibrant and awake.

Rolling like a Ball: Come to a seated posture, with your feet on the floor, legs parallel, knees bent, feet on the floor. Catch your hands behind your knees, rock back, lift the feet from the floor and balance on the fleshy area right behind your sitting bones. Tilt your head forward such that your chin is a few inches from your sternum and your gaze is down the front of your body. Engage our abdominal muscles strongly so that your pelvis tilts toward the back of your body, your lower back is rounded and your shoulder blades rotate out to the sides of your body. Tilting your pelvis toward the back of your body will create “the ball” shape you are looking for. Keeping this shape intact throughout the exercise is your goal.

Once you have found your balanced ball-shape it will only take a slight shift in your center of gravity to cause you to roll backwards. Initiate this movement with an exhalation and a deeper tightening of your abs. Roll backward along your spine to your shoulders and then forwards again to come to balance. You should be rocking backing and forth from pelvis to upper back while maintaining the ball shape continuously. Keeping your gaze down the front of your body will help you maintain a healthy and safe neck position throughout the exercise.

Continue to roll 4 to 5 times with your eyes open, then close your eyes and continue for another 4 to 5 rolls with eyes closed. Turn your attention to the back of your body, again and again and again. As you begin to feel confident in your ability to hold the form and stay aligned throughout the exercise try shifting the breathing pattern: inhaling back, exhaling up.