Step Back Regroup and Breathe

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During this time of year, we seem to automatically accept the self fulfilling prophecy that this is a stressful season. While we impose the demands of places to go, people to see and presents to buy, the decision to be stressed is our choice.
 
This concept of self imposed stress became apparent to me yesterday during my golf lesson. My focus for the day was on release, specifically the release in my hands so I can generate more action in my swing. The concepts of effortless power, release vs. holding on, relaxation vs. tension. As a yoga teacher and fitness trainer for twenty years I know this concept to be true, on a physical level as well as the universal principles of attraction.
 
I remind myself to come back to the most effective, readily accessible tool to reduce tension in the body and allow freedom of movement ' breathing.
 
This week will take a break from the muscular exercise portion of the Core workout and focus on breath work.
 
The two styles of breathing we will learn this week are called Ujjayi breathing which translates to victorious breathing because of the energy and vitality it brings to the body. This style of breathing is characterized by a sound that is generated by gently closing the back of the throat. The sound is sometimes referred to as a Darth Vader sound. Secondly we will do Kapalabhati breathing, which translates to skull shining due to the direct increase of blood flow to the brain. (It is better than a double Venti Latte!)
 
Breathing on a Thera-ball

 
Begin by sitting on your Thera-ball, chair or with your back against the wall. It is essential that you are sitting up straight, spine elongated and length in the cervical spine.
 
Energy / Skull Shining breathing:
Sit up as tall as possible, inhale deeply through the nose and quickly exhale through the mouth. Imagine you are telling the kids sshh, be quiet! The sshh needs to be fast and sharp. As you exhale on the sshh portion of the exercise feel the navel snap towards the spine. The speed of this exercise is important. Practice twenty repetitions quickly, take a few deep breaths and repeat. Do three to five rounds of twenty.
 
Victorious breathing:
Close the eyes and begin inhaling and exhaling through the nose only, the mouth remains closed. Inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of four. Focus on the expansion of the diaphragm, feeling the raise and fall of the abdomen. Begin to incorporate the sound of the slightly closed throat. Allow the body to become more relaxed and stress free with every exhalation. Visualize tension leaving the body and focus on the freedom you will create in your golf swing. Continue for three to five minutes.
 
These breathing exercises are two in a series of four detoxifying yoga exercises and are powerful tools for stress reduction, detoxification, energy enhancing as well as relaxation. Use them on and off the golf course!
 
Katherine Roberts - Total FitnessThis year, consider reducing your stress by donating your time, offering gifts of health and heart. In my new DVD program, 8 Minutes to a Better Swing and Yoga for Golfers book, breathing is taught as an integral part of each exercise. Check out the 50% holiday discounts in our ProShop @ www.KRTotalFitness.com.
 
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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 info@yogaforgolfers.com.