Your feet represent one of the most over looked and over used parts of your anatomy. During a typical round of golf you will walk between three and four miles. Consider your pre-shot routine. The first step is often setting your stance, placing the alignment of the feet, developing a sense of foundation and balance (often by a flexion in the knees or some sort of waggle) and now you are ready to hit the ball.
What exactly does getting grounded mean? Grounded refers to developing a base, a foundation and a connection with the earth. In golf if you are not grounded, you are off balance. Balance is a critical component to generating power from the lower body. With out balance you will not generate your maximum power and distance.
This weeks yoga based poses increase strength and flexibility in the feet, ankles and Achilles. Additionally the Mountain pose teaches a sense of connection from the lower part of the body to the ground.
Although this may appear to be an easy pose, I can assure you that practiced correctly it is VERY physically active. Note: In addition to using this pose to strengthen the feet it is also beneficial for grounding the energy. On days when I am feeling very stressed and pulled in different directions I will turn on some soothing music and stand in Mountain pose for five minutes.
Stand with the feet hip width apart, flex the quads, draw the navel towards the spine, slightly internally rotate the pelvis and focus on lifting the ribcage off the waist. Breathe deeply through the nose. Bring your attention to the feet. Inhale as you lift the toes off the floor, spread them as wide as possible and on the exhale allow the toes to gently rest on the floor. Continue to focus on the feet and lift in the arches. As you lift in the arches press the base of the big toes, little toes and heels towards the floor. This reverse action of lifting the arch as you press the base of the toes down will strengthen the feet. Repeat five to ten times.
While seated extend the leg out straight. Engage the core and sit up as straight as possible.
Inhale and flex the foot towards you, exhale and point the foot away from you. Internally and externally, pronate and supinate the foot. Move slowly. Repeat five times on each foot.
Kneel on the floor and use the ball for assistance with balance. Note: If your knees are sensitive place a towel under the knees. Use a second towel rolled up like a log and place behind the knees if you are challenged with knee flexion.
Press the tops of the feet towards the floor and on the exhalation sit back onto the heels. Repeat five times and hold the pose for three to five breaths.
Stand on a step placing the feet hip width apart. Slowly allow the heels to drop towards the floor without pronating or supinating the feet. Slightly bend the knees to get more stretch in the Achilles. On the exhalation lift the heels as high as possible and focus on the strength in the arches and toes. Repeat five to ten times.
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Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRTotalFitness.com or visit www.KRTotalFitness.com.