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Two simple yoga exercises to practice this winter that will improve your golf game this spring.
When we are having a bad round of golf or even for some of us just a bad single shot or hole, our concentration wanes our mind drifts off the present and we start to have negative thoughts projecting a bad round or giving up on our ability to hit good shots. We self destruct. We let our negative thoughts sabotage our round. Our mind wanders, our energy drains and we “lose our cool.” Sound familiar?
In the practice of yoga breath (Pranayama) and meditation are two of the most powerful practices for calming the mind, energizing the body, and bringing us back to the present. Here are two simple exercises that you can practice this winter to be prepared for starting the golf season prepared to work through the kinks that our golf game tends to develop during the cold winter months off the course.
Exercise 1: Breathing exercise:
Practice Bellows breath to remove tension from your body.
Breathing forms a connection between the mind and the body. When we breathe through obstacles it helps us to calm our minds, be patient and accepting of ourselves and our imperfect golf shots. It lets us move on to the next shot calmly and confidently. Bellows breathing is a great exercise to practice as one form of yogic breathing.
With this pranayama practice air is energetically drawn in and out of the body much like a blacksmith’s bellows. The movement of the arms loosens the shoulders while any stale air in the lungs is removed with the downward motion of the arms. Performing bellows breath floods the body with oxygen (prana) on the in breath and expels toxins and carbon dioxide with the exhale.
How to practice this breathing technique.
- Sit in a comfortable seated position( image 1) with hands raised to shoulder height, fingers in soft fists facing forward and elbows bent resting close to the rib cage. (image 2)
- Take one normal breath in and out.
- Vigorously extend your arms straight up on the inhalation through the nose and open the hands with the palms facing forward and fingers fully extended. (Image 3)
- Close your hands as you pull the arms down to the starting position simultaneously exhaling forcefully through the nose.
- Squeeze the upper arms into the rib cage with the lowering motion. (Image 4)
- Continue to repeat the same raising and lowering action of the arms while you strongly inhale and exhale through the nose. Repeat 3 rounds of 12 – 15 breaths each.
Stay tuned for Exercise 2: Meditation Exercise – Bringing Your Mind Into the Present
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Nancy Boyle is a yoga instructor on the South Shore of Massachusetts. She will be teaching a weekly “Yoga to Improve Your Golf Game” class at the Plymouth Open Doors Power Yoga Studio, West Plymouth Square, 91 Carver Road, Plymouth begining March 29 from 4:15 – 5:30 pm. The class will focus on flexibility, core stability and postural awareness- all key elements to a good golf game. As well as a concentration on mindful breathing to increase oxygen flow to muscles, relieving tension, and allowing rhythm and tempo in your swing. Nancy is available for semi-private and group yoga instruction. Nancy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org