I drove up to my hometown of Santa Cruz at the end of January for a photo shoot with the owners of Pono Ola, makers of the Pono Ola Balance Board, and wanted to recap the day for you as well as tell you what I think of the product. It was seriously so much fun and I’ve been gushing about it to anyone who will listen ever since.
I was introduced to Jeff and Danielle, owners and creators of the Pono Ola Balance Board, through my sister, Joanna who runs her own marketing business, Doubleday Communications, and had been working closely with Pono Ola for quite some time. She thought that our philosophies were in alignment and suggested I work with them as an ambassador. So while I had conversed with them over the phone and through email, I had never met them in person until the photo shoot. They are such an incredible couple and they are really passionate about this balance board. Danielle has her own photography business, Danielle Gillet Photography, and she is uber-talented. In addition to finally meeting these two, it was the first time I got to see and use the actual product, which is ah-maxing.
It was a very cold 50-ish degrees out and the photo shoot took place on the cliffs just North of Santa Cruz at Panther Beach. The ocean breeze was… brisk? Chilly? Freezing. That’s the word – freezing. I showed up bundled up in layers, and was seriously dreading having to take off my pea coat, scarf, and my cozy (fake) ugg boots.
I was immediately grateful to have my sister Joannal there, deemed Chief of Bobby Pins (alongside other skills such as being partner in crime, sounding board, tech support, and publicist), to bring me wardrobe adjustments so that I wouldn’t have to step on the icy ground. I can only imagine how cold she must have been having to basically stand there. At least I got to get warmed up once we got started and I got into a yoga flow.
The plan was to have me just play around and go through my own flow with the balance board and as they saw shots that they wanted to look at more closely, we could pause, and go back to capture them more closely. I loved this approach because it allowed me to get into the zone and feel like we were capturing some really authentic shots. Despite the cold weather, my body acclimated really quickly from a combination of movement, adrenaline (I’ve never done a real photo shoot before!) and just the warm vibe I got from Jeff and Danielle, who were also the photographers. I’m also pretty sure that the extra challenge of moving on the balance board helped contribute to warming me up faster – it definitely adds a whole new element to my yoga practice.
As I said this is the first time I’ve used their product, which I have yet to tell you about. It’s a balance board, but instead of the usual teeter-totter motion that you get on other balance boards, this keeps the movement in a purely horizontal plane, moving you side to side and front to back instead of up and down. Sounds pretty cool huh? Take how neat it sounds on a scale of 1-10 and then multiply that by about 30. THAT is how awesome this thing is, and yes, we’re still working with that ten point scale for reference. It’s amazing.
If you’ve read my bio, you know that an ankle injury is what brought me to the yoga practice in the first place. So in my many sessions of physical therapy and rehabilitation, I’ve spent hours on every conceivable balance improvement device, working to re-build strength in my ankles. Many of them, like the bosu ball, however, put you at risk for rolling the ankle, which is precisely how I ended up getting ligament replacement surgery in the first place. I wish I had been able to use this balance board in my recovery, because it allows you to build strength in the ankles, the legs, and the core without putting you at risk for further injury. I can’t even express in words how strongly I believe in this product and how excited I am to integrate it into my own practice.