The mind body breath connection

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When I work with a new client I ask them a series of questions. My intention is to establish their golf and fitness goals, uncover physical challenges and strengths and understand their expectations. Over and over again golfers tell me they want to learn how to access the strengths associated with mental focus.
 
Although there are many fitness programs which are tremendously beneficial to golfers, we offer the only program designed to target the body and mind. We have all heard the sayings, you are what you think, like attracts like, etc. One of my favorite sayings is the body hears what the mind tells it. What I mean by that is that our thoughts, often perceived as fleeting and powerless images, do in fact create matter. When we believe we can accomplish a specific task, such as hitting the ball over water, often creates the visualized outcome. The gap between elite athletes and average athletes is the ability to access the power of the mind!
 
Here is a quote from Sue Stone, a lecturer on the topic of the subconscious mind. We have over 60,000 thoughts a day and these take place in our conscious mind. Whatever our conscious mind believes and accepts is picked up by our subconscious mind and this will be reflected on our external world.
 
What are the first steps to learning to quiet my mind?
 
Breathing is a mirror to your mind. When you are stressed on the golf course your breathing will become more rapid, the heart rate increases and the ability to focus becomes compromised. Additionally, the lack of blood flow due to restricted breathing causes muscular tension, the number one reason for bad shots!
 
Why is the importance of breathing in your game?

  • Deep breathing supports proper blood flow to the entire body.

  • Breathing enables you to immediately quiet the mind and move into the Zone.

  • Walking the various terrains of the golf course can be aerobic exercise, requiring deep breathing.

  • Proper breathing supports your energy level throughout the entire round.


 
The post-round section of my DVD Lower Your Score provides you with a complete series of stretches that provides you the opportunity to work on your breathing and meditation techniques, while working on your flexibility at the same time!
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The following exercises are designed to increase your breathing capacity:
 
Breathing awareness exercise:
On your back, place the finger tips gently on the ribcage. Inhale and exhale slowly for a count of four. Focus on the rise and fall of your ribcage. Practice ten times.
 
Chest opening on the ball:
Place the ball under your upper back and your head. Be sure your head and neck are supported. Lift the hips parallel to the floor. Bring the arms to a ninety degree angle with the palms facing the ceiling. Hold for ten deep breaths.

Extended side angle stretch:
Place your left hand, knee and right foot in a straight line. Press your foot into the floor and pull your navel towards your spine. Inhale deeply and stretch the right arm over your head. Hold for ten deep breaths and switch sides.

Note: the more you tuck your pelvis under or posterior tilt in your pelvis the more you will feel the stretch.
 
Spinal rotation with focus on thoracic expansion:
Move into this spinal rotation and bring your attention to your sternum. Feel as if your sternum is lifting towards the ceiling, the area behind the heart, the thoracic spine is lifting as well. Hold for ten deep breaths and switch sides.

Note: If your left shoulder does not come in contact with the floor place a pillow under your left shoulder.
 

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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of www.KRFlexFit.com and www.YogaForGolfers.com has over 20 years of experience in golf specific fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@KRFlexFit.com