Myrtle Beach teacher trades chairs in for yoga balls

MB Intermediate yoga balls

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Students in Courtney Ciel's fourth grade class are having a ball. While going over their social studies test Friday, they while bouncing up and down on red yoga balls, instead of hunched over their desks in chairs.

"They're fun and they help you focus, so if you get mad and aggravated, like if you get a question wrong, you can just bounce a little bit and it helps you calm down," says student Hanna Weissman.

Ciel traded in chairs for yoga balls about a month ago, presenting a unique opportunity to test out the theory that sitting on balls during the day enhances learning and concentration.

While on a ball of her own, she says so far it's working; but not without having laid down the ground rules.

"When we first got them they had 30 seconds to obnoxiously bounce as much as they could, and from that 30 seconds on we really haven't had any problems," says Ciel.

The students don't have to sit on yoga balls. They are free to choose, but studies show the balls can lead to better posture and stronger core muscles; something the kids admit they had to get used to.

"The first week we were doing it, my legs started hurting because I would bounce and it would strengthen my legs," says Emily Bacon, another student in the class.

The balls cost around $300 for all 25, and the students held a bake sale to raise money to buy them. It's too soon to tell if test scores have improved since using them, but it's certainly a unique approach to learning, from a teacher who is only in her first year.

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