In golf, the first action is to set your feet or your stance, to make the connection with the ground, to develop a solid, stable, strong foundation. Once the feet are planted we begin to adjust our stance from the feet up. If we are not firmly connected to the ground our balance and stability are not secure.
In yoga a pose called tadasana translates to mountain pose which teaches one to stand as tall and firm as a mountain. Externally the pose appears to be just standing still but internally it is extremely physically active when practiced properly.
This pose is considered a closed chain movement, which means that you are using your bodies force against gravity to build strength. The movement of lifting up and activating the muscles also creates a sense of feeling grounded. Keep in mind the symbol for medicine, a staff with two snakes, one moving up and one moving down. Note: I once held this pose for fifteen minutes and was so sore I was barely able to walk the next day.
A second benefit in this pose is the mental focus required to stand still for five to ten minutes at a time. Without lowering the head, pick a spot on the floor approximately four feet in front of you. Do not allow your focus to deviate.
Begin with the feet hip width apart. Flex the muscles in the following progression:
- Feet - weight is directly over the arches. Lift the arches up.
- Calves- engage the calves so you feel the sensation of the lower leg lifting off the ankles.
- Quads - very active quads lift up on the knees.
- Lower abdominals - pull the navel towards the spine as you lift the ribcage up.
- Gluts - Squeeze the butt.
- Chest - The sternum lifts towards the ceiling; shoulders roll back, without arching the low back.
- Head and neck - Keep the head, neck and spine in alignment.
- Breathe - Inhale and exhale slowly.
Now with all the muscles engaged, begin to visualize your feet connected to the earth six inches below the floor. Maintain this pose for five to ten minutes.
Next time you are on the golf course your neuromuscular system will remember this grounded sensation and give you a stronger foundation and better focus on the course.
Special Note: My first in a series of books, Yoga for Golfers ' a Unique Mind-Body Golf Fitness System provides 168 pages and over 50 photographs of golf specific yoga poses is now available on my website @ www.yogaforgolfers.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.