Eight Week Challenge Week 7 - Balance

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Balance
 
Too many people, I believe, feel so uncomfortable and off balance at address that its almost impossible for them to get the swing started, let alone finish it.
- Mickey Wright
 
If you have ever experienced falling forward or backward in the golf swing you understand the importance of good balance. With age, balance and proprioception (the ability to sense where the body is in space) become compromised. In addition, practicing balancing poses requires one-pointed concentration. The more you can quiet the mind, move inward, and focus on one single point, the easier it becomes to balance. Similarly, in golf, the greater the ability to focus on one task and quiet the mind, the more tension free the swing becomes. Balance provides essential motion support as the shifting of weight during the swing requires body steadiness. The entire movement of the golf swingfrom addressing the ball to the follow-through requires balance. Think about it. All phases of the typical golf swingthe addressbackswing (take-away and top of backswing)downswingimpactfollow-through require balance. Focus and concentration are needed for balance just as focus and concentration are needed through out a round of golf.
 
Golf benefits of week seven:
Develops a sense of feeling grounded in the golf stance; a firm connection to the feet.
Supports a consistent swing path as balance helps with weight transference.
Reduces extraneous movement in the golf swing; creates more poise and steadiness.
Progressive balance teaches proprioception.
Quiets the mind.
Teaches one-pointed focus and concentration.
 
For week seven you will need a stability ball and a commitment to do the postures four days a week.
 
Lets get started!
 
Par Level: Single Leg Balance with Bent Knee
Stand tall facing the stability ball at 6 to 8 inches from the ball. Press the navel to the spine, lift the ribs, shoulders down, head in line with the spine and in a level position, and hands on hips. Breathing naturally through the nose focus on a spot 3 or more feet ahead of the ball. Shift your weight on to the right leg (do not lock the knee) and when balanced lightly place the left foot on the ball. Slowly lift the left leg in a bent knee position until the foot is 4 inches or more off the ball. Hold position for 5 to 10 breaths. Slowly lower the left foot and lightly place it on the ball and then lower to the floor. Repeat to the other side.
 

 
Par Level Single Leg Balance with Extended Leg
Begin the same prep at stated before. From the bent knee position with the foot raised off the ball 4 to 6 inches slowly extend the leg to a straight position, engage the quads (flex), and point the toes upward. Hold position for 5 to 10 breaths. Slowly lower the leg to the bent knee position and place the foot on the floor. Repeat to other side.
 

 
Birdie Level Hip Opening Balance
Stand facing the ball, balance weight onto right leg, place left foot above the right knee, pressing the left knee toward the floor opening the hip, while lightly placing the lower leg onto the ball. Bend the right knee, draw the navel toward the spine, hinge at the hips, and lower the buttocks toward the floor. Keep the spine flat, with the shoulders rolling back as the arms come up much like airplane wings. Focus eyes approximately 3 feet or more in front of the ball and on one point on the floor. Hold position for 5 to 10 breaths. Slowly remove left leg from ball and repeat to other side.
 

 
Birdie Level Hip Opening Balance
If you were able to do the above hip opening balance try this one for more of a challenge. Begin with the previous explanation and add the following. Deepen the stretch by rolling the ball so it is positioned to the inside of the right leg. The left leg will be above the right knee and not touching the ball. Sink deeper into the stretch keeping the left leg off the ball. Hold position for 5 to 10 breaths, slowly lower leg to floor and repeat to other side.
 

 
Eagle Level Half Moon Pose at Wall
Stand with the left side against a wall with the ball about 18 inches in front of the left foot. Shift your weight onto the left foot and gently place the left hand on the ball with the arm under the shoulder. Focus the eyes toward the ball. Begin to shift the weight onto the left leg, lifting the right leg off the floor. Begin to open the hips toward the right, rolling the hips open. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Release pose by lowing left leg to floor and standing upright. Move around to the other side of the ball and repeat to other side.
 

 
Eagle Level Half Moon Pose at Wall
Once the pose is mastered with the hand on the ball try the following for a greater challenge. Assume the Half Moon Pose at the wall with the hand on the ball. Slowly lift the left arm extending it until it is parallel to the ball. Focus intently with the eyes on the ball. Hold for 5 to 10 breaths. Repeat to other side.
 

 
Please e-mail me and let me know how you are progressing. I am here to support you in your new eight week commitment to excellence.
 
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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.