Finally, an exercise for those who don't like to exercise

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by KING 5 HealthLink

KING5.com

Posted on February 24, 2011 at 11:15 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:44 AM

SEATTLE -- Fitness Instructor Levana Benabe looks like one of those people who's been fit all her life. Not true. A car accident took its toll.

"It was very frustrating," Benabe says. "I couldn't even drive a car because I couldn't lift my arms because I would pop a rib out of of place."

Then she discovered Yamuna Body Rolling and went to Vancouver, British Columbia for training.

Pilates Seattle International Director Lauren Stephen was so impressed with Levana's transformation that she decided to offer Yamuna classes at her studio.

"The one thing that sets it apart from other kind of body work out there is that you're bone stimulating," says Benabe. "You're actually working very closely on the bone."

Amanda Graham has knee arthritis and found she quickly regained range of motions.

"After the first class I could move my foot all the way up this far," she demonstrates. "I was shocked I had no pain."

The movements, using different sized balls, are slow and rely on gravity to tone and relax muscles.

"It's very easy to motivate yourself because it feels good," says Benabe. "You're giving yourself a deep tissue massage, so people are like, 'I don't want to work out, but I do like a deep tissue massage.'"

Cyclist Diane Paine said she actually prefers this to massage.

"Because it gets in there deeper in a way where you know where you're stiff," said Paine, who found Yamuna addicting.

Lauren Stephen explains how the technique works.

"The body is actually balancing out and releasing tension in the muscles that overwork so the underworker muscles come alive and go, 'Hello! Here we we are!'"

It may look easy, but. Alyssia Holmes says Yamuna can be challenging.

"Holding yourself is really a lot more work than it sounds like. And balancing on that ball, it does help with weight loss," says Holmes.

Benabe says she owes her success to one thing.

"All I do right now is just body rolling. I've managed to lose 65 pounds and just completely change my body--stronger than I've been," she says.

Unlike other fitness programs, Yamuna participants are encouraged to buy the ball and do the exercises at home between class sessions. Yamuna started in New York City and is named after the woman who created it.

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