I love poi, not the mashed root of the tara plant, which i confess I’ve never tried, but what court jugglers who could not catch or juggle did to entertain folks back in cold castles. They put balls in socks and twirled them around. Today’s versions (you can still put tennis balls in tube socks) may attach with swivels, contain led lights, there are some soft enough that you can hit yourself without pain, and there are tutorials everywhere on how do begining skills as well as cool tricks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-MRaPBjpMg&list=PL215093DF249EF900http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-MRaPBjpMg&list=PL215093DF249EF900 you can play by yourself or with someone else there are even poi vacations and contests
But me, I love them because, they are fun, pretty, and very effective as a rehabilitation tool. Holding the string can be done with the string looped through fingers so they don’t go flying away. Spinning is good for stability, shoulder motion, visual tracking, improving brain function as practice encourages cross brain integration, Even a novice can play. My son (a 35 year old soldier) loves to see how high he can throw them in the night sky. I gave pod poi to my nephew as a high school graduation present to help with his college transition because short bursts of activity between studying helps to improve retention, and with its USB charging actually makes a nice mood light for his dorm room. My youngest daughter introduced me to poi because she wanted to ‘spin fire’ and in southern California that’s a pretty dangerous proposition. I even use poi and its properties to help my golf game.
For people with neurological disorders who have been given pages of boring exercise, poi is engaging, like a video game, I lose time when I practice, I like to coordinate with music, flamenco, world beat, Rodrigo y Gabriela. the colors make it easy to focus, centrifugal force becomes a helper so a weak person can develop control. Although usually done standing, poi can be done seated on a stool, ball, wheelchair, picnic table. I have even lay on my back secured it to my toes and spun with my legs. I hope as poi becomes more popular in general that more therapists will incorporate this into wellness programs
I have been known to incorporate the use of finger lights and rave gloves to observe symmetry or lack thereof in mirrors