This week involves two types of stretching - dynamic and active elongation. Dynamic stretching requires that you hold the stretch for no longer than three seconds. Active elongation involves activating the muscles during the stretch. When I describe moving to the edge of the pose, as far into the stretch as possible without feeling any pain, and then activate the targeted area of the body. For example, if we are focusing on the hip function to enhance hip rotation, I will ask you to move into the stretch and on the exhalation activate the quadriceps for a count of three. Then on the inhalation you relax the muscle. This is a very effective tool for increasing flexibility.
Step the right foot forward and place the left knee on the yoga mat. The right knee is at a 90 degree angle. Focus on pulling the navel towards the spine and elongating the ribcage.
Inhale deeply and lunge the hips forward. On the exhalation, press the top of the left foot towards the mat and engage the left quad. Hold for a count of three and relax. Repeat five times and switch sides.
Hold a strap in your left hand and place the strap around the left foot. Note: Your palm should be facing outthis will insure your shoulder remains in the open position. Maintain the alignment of your knees together; engage your core by pressing your navel towards your spine and tucking your tailbone down slightly. On the exhalation, press your left hip forward. Hold for three breaths and switch sides.
When working the lower body flexibility it is critical to work the hamstrings. In this photo, Andy, a fifty-five year old, six handicap golfer and yoga student demonstrates his flexibility. For this pose please place a yoga strap around the right foot and extend the leg as much as possible. Hold for three breaths focusing on engaging the quad on both legs and pressing the heels towards the ceiling. Repeat five times and switch sides.
Place the soles of the feet together, bringing the feet as close to the groin as possible. Bring your back against the wall sitting as tall as possible. Inhale deeply and visualize your pelvis moving forward over your femurs. Hold for ten deep breaths.
The Yoga of Golf
So much of yoga and golf is about the feel. Feel is the difference between hitting the perfect shot from 50 yards out and 'skulling' the shot over the green. (I hate when that happens!!) Feel in yoga is about knowing where your body is in space. Identifying and associating the mind and body as one unit. Practicing yoga promotes the sense of feeling where you are in space and offers a direct correlation to enhancing the sense of feel on the golf course.
So when you practice your yoga for golfers visualize activating the appropriate muscles and focus on the feel. Remember your body hears what your mind tells it. If you can feel it you will create it! Have a great week! - - Katherine