Like you I watch a tremendous amount of golf and lately I noticed advertisements for shoes designed to keep you more grounded and balanced. Specifically the shoes are intended to help you maximize power from the ground, resulting in more club head speed and distance. I support owning the best, custom fitted equipment, including appropriate shoes and apparel. However equipment is not enough to maximize your performance. Practicing yoga increases your ability to balance and develop a better sense of groundedness.
Most yoga postures challenge your ability to balance, specifically the standing postures. Working on your balance also forces the core stabilizing muscles to engage, building more core strength. In addition to the physical benefits of balancing postures, mentally working on balance requires tremendous focus and enables you to practice being present.
To mentally and physically prepare for balancing poses:
- Focus the eyes on the floor, approximately four feet in front of your yoga mat.
- Pull the navel in and initiate your movement from the deep base of your core abdominals. N.T.R. ' Navel in, slightly tuck the tailbone down and lift the ribcage off the waist.
- Bring your attention to the supporting leg, feeling the connection of the foot, lifting in the arches and relaxing the toes. As the leg grounds down you lift the body off the leg.
- Elongate the upper body, strengthening the back muscles.
- For the PAR level, practice each pose separately. For the more advanced BIRDIE /EAGLE sequence link all the standing postures together and switch sides.
Note: In addition to this weeks article on balance my suggestion is to incorporate a series I wrote in March on foot function.
Here is the link to the archived article: archived article
Lets get started!
Tree pose with extended arms:
Bring the right foot to the left ankle or above the left knee. Place the hands on the waist or reach the arms above the head. Hold for ten breaths and switch sides.
Hip opening balancing pose:
Place the left ankle on the outside of the right knee and extend your arms. Pull your navel in and deeply bend you right knee as if you are sitting in a chair. Lower your chest towards your left shin. Hold for ten breaths and switch sides.
Balancing T pose or Warrior III pose:
Prep: Step the right foot forward and slightly lift the left leg off the floor with the hands on the waist.
Complete pose: Bring the arms perpendicular to the body, palms facing the ground. Lower the upper body towards the floor and lift left leg. Ultimately your body will look like the letter T. Hold for ten breaths and switch sides.
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Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has over 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@YogaForGolfers.com or visit www.YogaForGolfers.com.