rebounding_line1I began rebounding about 9 years ago and became such a fan that I bought one for my apartment, for my parents home in Colorado, for my then boyfriend  (now husband), for my office and for my siblings’ places because I couldn’t miss a morning and felt that everyone could benefit from using one.

Urban Rebounding was invented by JB Berns and years ago I was lucky enough to take a few classes taught by him at Equinox. This is an aerobic and cardio workout without the stress on your joints but I used it not only as a workout but also as my morning meditation or a time to zone out and watch the news. I spend between 20-30 minutes daily (usually in the morning) on the urban rebounder sometimes simply bounding, sometimes a jog and sometimes creating my own workouts. I find not only did it lengthen my legs and tighten by glutes but also increased the stability in my abdominal muscles, made me stand taller and helped with my digestion as well as setting me up for a mindful day.

What is also great about this workout is that you can store it easily under your bed and its quiet enough that you can jump while watching the news or setting your daily intentions while others are sleeping in rooms next to you. (I don’t know if my roommates would have agreed, but they are still my friends so it couldn’t be that bad!)

I also have used it with my clients and athletes as a mindfulness and meditative activity (in the morning, after school before starting homework or at night to decompress) and also as a great hand-eye coordination assister. To help with this (for all sports and also to create a mind-body connection) see steps and activities below.

  1. I often have the athlete or client face a wall and have a tennis ball in their hand.
  2. Begin bouncing (or rebounding as JB Berns calls it) for about 5 minutes
  3. For 100 tosses, toss tennis ball up and down with your dominant hand keeping your eye on the ball
  4. Now, do 100 trying to look ahead (not at the ball)
  5. Switch hands and repeat
  6. Now try switching from one hand to the other for 100 tosses
  7. Now repeat the drills above but do it throwing the ball against the wall

8) Create your own exercises maybe rebounding on one leg doing the same thing. What else can you come up with?

These exercises will not only improve eye-hand coordination but will also increase your focus, mindfulness and ability to block out what is going on around you to be able to focus on the task at hand. I have found that some people are able to find solace in stillness and find that a great way to be meditative but others really need to move. This is a moving meditation that many people LOVE and are so grateful for as they know the benefits of taking time to be quiet and meditative but truly need the movement in their lives! As you probably have read but took me time to understand as I always wanted to do everything “right” meditation is different for everyone. Finding something that works for YOU and that you will stick with is better than doing what works for someone else and dreading it or not getting anything out of it. Give this a try if the stillness aspect has been giving you nightmares.

Benefits of Rebounding:

  1. Pushes muscles to fatigue without putting stress on your joints
  2. Increases blood flow and lymphatic-fluid circulation
  3. Strengthens abdomens
  4. Strengthens and lengthens legs
  5. Helps with weightless
  6. Increases bone density
  7. Decreases celulite
  8. improves posture and balance
  9. Helps with digestion (I love to do it in the morning!)

Remember, you can do this on your own while meditating or setting up daily intentions, you can do it while watching the news, talking on the phone or purchasing a video that can walk you through exercises.

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

Whenever you are in an uncertain situation, practice this technique before reacting.

During our initial stages of work, there are many approaches to take. Depending on the sport, level, where they are in the season and length of time they will be able to work with me, we create a program that will get the most out of the sessions. But, one aspect we always focus on is breathing.  How much experience children have with mindful exploration, can carve  our work on breathing, mindfulness and eventually visualization. I have found that if kids learn aspects of this type of skill while they are young, and can actually breathe regularly and deeply for at least 5 minutes, they are able to focus and not feel “awkward” when practicing it in high school and beyond and can see and feel the benefits on the field, court, ice, water and classroom. Also, mindfulness/visualization/meditation takes practice, baby steps and takes individuals being comfortable in their own skin.In a way, its a confidence building exercise as well.

Initially, the first step is breathing. I often work with my athletes on breathing before we even try to do visualization or mindfulness exercises. Our bodies have been so programed (especially for women) to hold in our stomachs (hence we all want flat stomachs, six packs, abs of steel) that we sometimes forget how to get a full, deep breath in and how just 5 or 6 full breathes can really change your state of mind.

Here, I will cover a simple  breathing exercise that can be done in the morning, after school, before practice, homework, or before bed to relax you and get you ready for slumber. (Adults, don’t be shy to practice with your kids!) This is best done at least an hour after a meal so your belly isn’t full.

Set an alarm for 5 minutes. Lie down or sit up in a cross legged position or with your legs stretched out; whichever is most comfortable for you. Slowly allow your eyes to close. Take a deep breath in and feel your entire belly fill up with air all the way to your chest. You can feel your chest take up more and more air as it expands. When you feel as if you cant take up any more air, hold it for a count of 5 (count in your head) then slowly let the air out trying to take as much time as it took to fill your lungs up as it does to let the air out. At the bottom of the breath, hold the breath out for a count of five. At this point, you might be able to feel the beating of your heart in your head. (This is a cue that you are sending more blood to your head than you usually do and blood pumping around your body is a good thing! It makes you think clearer and less reactionary!)

Now, we are going to continue doing this breathing for 5 minutes. Not worrying about counting the the number of breathes, only focusing on this train of thought: Breathing in through your belly, chest, throat, nose, as you feel them expand- hold your breath for 3 counts. Then out (exhale) through your nose, throat, chest, belly as you feel them compress or deflate – hold it for 3 counts.Then repeat. Over and over again.

When the timer goes off, try to take one more deep breathe in and slowly let the air out. Lie still for a minute before slowly rolling to one side, sitting up and continuing on with your day/night or falling fast asleep.. Remember, at the beginning you might fall asleep. That is ok and sometimes when you finally start breathing, you can finally start relaxing and that is when you can take your game to another level.


“Did you win?”

Oftentimes, that is the first question from a parent, caregiver or friend after a match or even a practice scrimmage. Although always with the best of intentions, these words can often cause our athletes to become anxious and sometimes exhibit hostility, anger or perhaps even fear. If it was practice, does winning or losing really matter? If it was a close match that your athlete played the game of  his or her life in, that question can make the loss that much more disgracing and also diminish self confidence and resiliency.

Instead of starting the conversation with a focus on defeat or victory, try to encourage athletes to reflect on the match or practice in a more mindful way. Your guidance will allow them to examine the match or the practice points in addition to creating a trustworthy relationship where they believe you are on their side and allow them to evaluate their performance practically without too many emotions. Questions like, “What did you do well today”  “What was the best part of your game?”  “How did you feel halfway through the match?”  “Do you think maybe you need a jolt of energy halfway through? What about bringing a power bar in your bag?” These contemplative questions allow the players to study their game in a productive way and where they feel in control.  This will create competitors (not only in athletics, but in what they chose to do off the court as well) who are able to be introspective about their game, thoughtful in their growth and improvement and able to overcome minor setbacks and losses.

Constructive communication also creates a partnership between you and the athlete. The athlete is no longer anxious that they are judged solely on the win or loss, but more in the more measurable aspects that they can control. Did I have quick feet? Did I transfer my weight well? Was I coming to the net enough? These more specific questions can aid in helping athletes understand WHY they were successful (or not) in a more precise manner. Hopefully once they have reflected on this, the changes can be made so they’re more successful in the future.