Meditation Balls: What You Need To Know

Are you curious what meditation balls are and how to use them?

From deepening your meditation practice to reaching a higher level of inner peace, they can be incredibly powerful!

So from Baoding to Zen meditation, here’s what you need to know about meditation balls…


What Are Meditation Balls?

Meditation balls are small, metal balls that are spun in your hands, often during meditation.

The goal is to use your fingers to make two or more of these balls circle your palms repeatedly, ensuring that they don’t come in contact.

Think of them like ancient Chinese stress balls.

Although not required to use during meditation, these balls can enhance your meditation practice and provide stress relief.

Apart from the latter, the main purpose of using them is to stimulate the meridians on the hands.

By stimulating these acupressure points, different health benefits can be acquired.


History

Meditation balls are believed to have first appeared during the Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) in the province of Hebei, China where the city of Baoding is located.

Due to its supposed origins, Baoding ball is another common name for a Chinese meditation ball.

In history, only certain classes were allowed access to these balls.

These individuals included emperors and paupers.

Before the introduction of them to the rest of the population, soldiers and common folk would use walnuts as an alternative.


How To Use Meditation Balls

At first, using them can be a bit of a challenge.

However, with practice, many find that using Baoding balls isn’t as complicated as it seems.

It’s all about being patient and making sure to engage in the practice regularly.

Here are some specific exercises and techniques that can help you go from a newbie to an expert:


1. Move the balls with little to no finger contact.

When learning how to use them, you might simply rotate one single ball around your palm.

In the very beginning, you might use your finger to rotate the ball as you get used to spinning it around.

However, once you advance from this stage, try moving the ball(s) with no finger contact.

  1. Place one meditation ball on one of your hands at the center of your palm.
  2. Begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  3. By swaying your palm from side to side, you can manipulate the ball. Guide it in a circular movement around your palm.
  4. Try to refrain from using any of your fingers to push the ball where it’s supposed to go. Only use the motion of your hand.
  5. Once you get the hang of this exercise, try spinning the ball faster and faster.
  6. Eventually, add another meditation ball into the mix, engaging in the same exercise.

2. Rotate the balls in opposing directions.

When it comes to using them, the direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) doesn’t matter.

However, becoming an expert in rotating them in both directions can heighten your sense of awareness and mindfulness.

  1. Place one meditation ball on one of your hands at the center of your palm.
  2. Begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  3. Then, stop rotating the ball, and begin to spin it in the opposite direction.
  4. At first, you might struggle, which is why it’s a good idea to pick up the speed as you advance slowly.
  5. Once you get the hang of spinning the ball in both directions, add another meditation ball to the mix.
  6. Try to vigorously switch between spinning the ball(s) clockwise and counter-clockwise as an additional challenge.

3. Spin the balls at an angle.

Everything’s more difficult at an angle: walking, reading, watching television, and even using meditation balls.

Although, spinning them at an angle can be a great way to refine your practice.

That being said, you may be able to derive more benefits, including better hand coordination, by trying this next exercise.

  1. Place one meditation ball on one of your hands at the center of your palm.
  2. Begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  3. At first, spin the ball as you normally would, with a flat palm.
  4. Then, stop the ball, and slightly tilt your palm downwards.
  5. Again, begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  6. Once you get the hang of spinning the ball at an angle, you might tilt the angle even further to test your limits.
  7. You may also add another meditation ball to the mix and/or try spinning the ball(s) in the opposite direction.
  8. Try to vigorously switch between spinning the ball(s) clockwise and counter-clockwise as an additional challenge.

4. Try balls of a heavier weight.

Baoding balls come in many different weights depending on their size, whether or not they’re hollow, and what materials they’re made of.

This means they’re versatile for different-sized hands.

Likewise, the different weights can provide more or less of a challenge.

As expected, lighter-weight balls tend to be easier to use while heavier ones are harder to manipulate.

If you’re up for a healthy challenge, why not switch your Baoding balls for something a little heavier and/or bigger?

  1. Place a lighter-weight meditation ball on one of your hands at the center of your palm.
  2. Begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  3. Rotate the ball on your palm for about two minutes.
  4. Stop and switch the ball to a heavier meditation ball.
  5. Again, begin by rotating the ball either clockwise or counter-clockwise, whichever direction you typically prefer.
  6. Rotate the ball on your palm for about two minutes.
  7. Stop and add another meditation ball to the mix for an extra challenge.
  8. Repeat the latter steps.

Note that you may have to experiment with several different meditation ball weights to see which you prefer best.


Benefits

While they might seem like simple devices, meditation balls have a plethora of advantages…


Lower stress and anxiety

One of the best benefits of using them is lower levels of stress and anxiety.

Every single one of us has experienced stress and/or anxiety in some form.

Many find the use of these balls therapeutic as they place their focus on the act of spinning the balls on their palm.


Better patience

Whether you’re just starting to use Baoding or have been using them for years, it takes patience to work with them.

It’s easy to get frustrated if you keep messing up while utilizing meditation balls.

Additionally, in the beginning, learning to use Baoding balls requires that you slowly advance your practice.

However, the more you practice, the greater the patience you can gain as a result.


Improved sleep

Because the use of meditation balls can help relieve stress and anxiety, some find that they have better sleep as a result.

That said, those with sleep problems like insomnia may find relief through the regular use of these tools.


Relaxed muscles and joints

Although Baoding balls stimulate muscles and joints during and after use, they can relax them in the process.

Meditation balls do this as certain acupressure points are hit during use.

That said, those with tense muscles or painful joints in the hand, fingers, wrist, or arm might be benefitted by meditation balls.


Boosted concentration

Even in the beginning, you’ll find that it takes a lot of focus to use meditation balls.

You must concentrate on not only Baoding balls on your palm but also on ensuring that they don’t clash with one another.

Likewise, you must concentrate on the speed and direction the balls are spinning on your hand.


Improved circulation

Stimulating certain meridian points on the hand during use, improved circulation can be a result of using Baoding balls.

Good blood circulation is important as helps ensure the brain and other organs in your body receive a proper supply of oxygen.

With improved blood circulation, you might discover that you benefit from healthier skin and improved cell growth.


Refined coordination and strength

According to the Massage Therapy Institute of Colorado, meditation balls can help improve hand and finger dexterity and strength.

In turn of the latter benefits, you can better and more quickly manipulate and grasp various objects.

Thus, this can help with playing instruments, creating artwork, sewing or knitting, and other tasks that require the hands and fingers.


Types

Baoding balls come in many different colors, patterns, textures, materials, sizes, and weights.

In addition to the latter, there are different specific types of meditation balls, including:


Chinese Meditation/Baoding Balls

Chinese meditation balls - Baoding balls

Baoding balls or Chinese meditation balls are used as an alternative form of healing as aligned with traditional Chinese medicine.

Chinese Baoding balls can help improve hand muscles, brain function, and stress levels.

Likewise, Baoding balls in China are often used as a way to exercise the hand, wrist, and arm during physical therapy.


Zen Meditation Balls

zen meditation balls

Zen meditation balls are meditation balls that are often used during the act of zen meditation or yoga.

The main intent of using this type of meditation ball is to relieve stress and tension.

As zen meditation balls hit certain acupressure points on the hand, it helps relax the nervous system.


Japanese Meditation Balls

Japanese meditation balls

Japanese meditation balls are essentially the same as Chinese meditation balls.

Containing an object inside, the Japanese enjoy the calming chiming sound as they roll their meditation ball on their palm.

Many find that with the addition of the chime, the act of spinning meditation balls on their hand is even more soothing.


Qigong Meditation Balls

qigong meditation balls

Meditation balls are sometimes used during the act of qigong.

Qigong includes a combination of Chinese physical exercises, breathing techniques, and meditative practices.

To enhance the benefits of qigong, meditation balls may be used during certain exercises.


Tips For Using Them

  1. Pick ones that will fit in your hand. As a beginner, balls that are 40 millimeters wide might be the perfect fit.
  2. To get down basic rotation, practice with one meditation ball, using your finger as a guide.
  3. Use them in your dominant hand before trying it with your non-dominant hand.
  4. Spin them clockwise and counter-clockwise to see which direction is easiest for you.
  5. As you start to advance, add another ball to your palm, one at a time.
  6. If you find using them difficult, practice rocking the ball back and forth in your hand before spinning it in a circle.
  7. Experiment with balls of different materials and weights.
  8. Try various meditation ball exercises (like the ones listed above).
  9. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, use them in both of your hands at the same time.

The Short Answers – Meditation Ball FAQs:

How to use meditation balls?

In the beginning stages, it’s important to simply spin around one meditation ball in one of your palms to grasp basic rotation.

Use your finger to guide the ball around the palm of your hand in either a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

As you gain this skill, add a second ball, and try spinning the ball without the use of your finger.


How to correctly use meditation balls?

To correctly use meditation balls, your goal should be to ensure that as you spin around the balls on your palm that they don’t touch or clash.

A flawed approach is using too many at a time when you’re not yet ready.

Likewise, you should never rush the advancement process of using meditation balls.


How to meditate using meditation balls?

Meditation balls can be used alongside different meditation techniques.

However, many find that adding the use of meditation balls alongside meditation is more complex.

That said, it’s a good idea to use meditation balls alone before using them alongside meditation.

As you combine meditation and meditation balls, start out with using just one ball, moving it slowly around your palm.


How are they made?

Although they’re sometimes referred to as iron balls, Chinese meditation balls are no longer made of iron.

Today, these meditation tools can be found in a variety of different materials such as agate, jade, stone, or marble.

Hollow meditation balls often contain a spring that produces a lovely chime sound when in use.

Solid mediation balls, however, also exist and tend to be heavier in weight.

Most Chinese meditation balls today are made of hollow, chrome-plated steel and can be found in numerous sizes and weights.

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