Meditation Balls Review – Unlock Your Zen!

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Hey all, this week I took a look at Meditation/Zen/Baoding balls.

A few years ago I bought a pair without really knowing what they were for, they just looked beautiful to me. I picked them up, thought they were “neat” and then they went on a shelf for a few years.

That is, until last week! In my research of things to help relieve stress, I came across meditation balls again. So, I dug them out and decided to give them a focused effort. Would they really help me meditate or calm me down?

After a week of use, I can say “yes” but only if you get into them. There is a rhythm and a flow where you get a little lost in the tranquility. While researching meditation in my quest to improve, a thought came to mind – they helped me to be “present”.

In short I think they’re a great addition to a stress relief regimen. Some people focus on their breath, and for me I get lost in my train of thought when I do that. So these helped augment typical meditation techniques. 

What's the history of meditation balls?

According to wikipedia they were speculated to have been created during the Ming Dynasty. Which spanned from 1368 to 1644 in Hebei, China. They can be used to help with dexterity and I can personally attest that my hand does feel a little more “loose”. In a positive way. 

There are a lot of unsubstantiated medical benefits for them listed all over the internet. They have been used in therapy to help people but there is not enough medical backing to make a claim on their effectiveness. Best to say, they’re not a miracle cure!

Their primary and intended use is just for meditation. 

How do I use Baoding Balls?

First you simply place both of them in your dominant hand. One is to be separated by the pinky and ring finger. The other will be held by the pointer and thumb. Then the magic happens. And by magic I mean the happy accidents!

You will drop them, a lot. If you’re anything like me at least. Over time though, you get better and going into a flow. Just in this past week I’ve improved a good bit. I don’t recommend using them over a hard surface.

When they hit the tile/hardwood/whatever they’ll make a loud crashing sound because of the chimes. My poor cat is still upset with me over this sleight. It is my hope someday to gain his trust again. 

There are two trains of thought on how to use them. The first is that they must remain in contact the entire time you’re rotating them(easier). The second is that they must be separated and only beginners let them touch!(harder)

As for me, I say use them however the heck you want. Whatever feels right to you and gets you using them repeatedly, is the right way to use them. The skill progression for meditation balls goes like this. 

1. Be able to rotate them in your dominant hand in a clockwise motion.

2. Be able to rotate them(clockwise) in your dominant hand AND not them touch.

3. Be able to rotate them in a counterclockwise motion in your non-dominant hand.

4. Be able to rotate them in a counterclockwise motion in your non-dominant hand AND not let them touch.

After you’ve got those down(I’m at #1) then you’re good to go. You can give rotating them in the other direction a shot to add some difficulty to your quest. 

What's the right ball for me?

Simply put, whatever you’re comfortable with. The internet has such an immense selection of everything nowadays that its easy to get lost in the selection.

For these you’ll want to consider 2 things most of all. 

1. Weight and 2. Diameter

There are heavier iron balls and lighter hollowed versions. For me, I got a decently heavy pair with the chime inside. I really enjoy the chime and find it one of the most relaxing parts of the exercise.

There comes a point if you can separate them, that instead of them banging together you get a nice hum instead. It’s a nice thing to work towards and I’ve only been able to accomplish it a few times to this point. 

How do Baoding Balls work?

If you were to cut a meditation ball down the middle, you’d see something simple! They use a spring that is tacked onto the metal and a marble in most cases. This is what allows for the beautiful tones we hear when using them. 

Will they help me meditate?

I found at first when I was learning how to use them it was actually very hard to relax. But, that’s probably more to do with me than the Zen Balls. Over time, when I got a rhythm it was actually very easy to relax.

The act of focusing on something and not super intently, let my mind wander and get into the mediation flow. So yes, I think over time after you get it down it can definitely give you benefits for your meditation. 

I hope this article helped you make up your decision, if it did let me know!

Author Picture - Conor

Conor

Hey everyone 🙂 My name is Conor. I'm passionate about technology, zen, and improving the quality of life so many of us share at a desk!

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