Yoga for the golfer
Here are some simple asanas to help golfers strengthen the hips and spine
STANDING MOUNTAIN STRETCH Internalising the strength and solemnity of the mountain - PHOTOS: R. RAGU
Tiger Woods teeing off. The talent-driven ball soars, gets ever higher and..... disappears. Has it landed on the moon? And on the moon, what game did the astronauts play? Golf, of course!
The "of course" underscores the magnetic pull of the golf course. Lush green grounds, earthly paradise, each one of them inviting one to `enter n' experience' it all; it's so easy to go romantic with golf. I know many with whom it is "my golf, my car, my wife" in that order.
FOUR POINT POWER LIFT For the shoulders, elbows and wrists.
In golf, you walk the course, there is no running involved. You don't play against anyone either, you take the course on: you versus you or, accurately, you with you.
SIMHASANA The lion roar for the right degree of mental toughness
And so golf lulls one into thinking it's a simple, gentle game.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The repeated winding up for the swing, the ultra-raajasic one-way torque of the spine, the jarring impact on the elbows, wrists and the shoulders while divoting and the exaggerated follow through... the constant semi-bend for the putt romantic game? Perish the thought. Unless you rank 7 on a scale of 10 for both technique and fitness, you may end up ruing the day you decided to try the game.
ARDHA CHANDRASANA AND INTENSIFIED ARDHA CHANDRASANA For greater freedom in hips and spine - PHOTOS: SHAJU JOHN
Go to a yoga coach
For technique, sign up with a golf expert. To see how yoga can help, read on before signing up with a yoga coach.
If tennis is all about legs, golf is all hips and hips-upward. The visuals show two exquisite balancing poses, done with wall support. The wall totally eliminates any risk of a fall. Regularly done, these asanas help gain an unbelievable degree of freedom in the hips and spine and cause lower and mid-back aches to become strictly `things of the past'. On the psychological side, both are tremendous confidence-boosters. To offset the repeated use of the dominant side, it is essential to try the swing on the other side as well. If I am not mistaken, Brian Lara plays right- handed golf.
Look at the lion-roar pose and the seated spine twist don't they make you want to do likewise? The leg arrangement of the latter brings nearly all the lower body joints into play, while the graceful back arch and the tongue-out feature of the former contribute in no small measure towards promoting the necessary degree of aggression and confidence, so necessary in getting tricky putts in trickier match conditions.
SEATED SPINE TWIST All ease and grace, model Jency at Dreeamcast studio
Speaking of mind-sets, can there be anything superior to pranayama in mind tuning? Is it a vital tournament? Do you have to step on the course in the AN? There can be no better way to prepare the mind than with a good breath programme at 6 a.m. or earlier. After a rewarding experience, when the mind is at its tranquil and alert best, lie down comfortably and visualise the AN as a film: let it unfold on the mind's screen... the vast expanse of the course, the blue skies with wisps of white floating lazily, yourself as part of the setting calm, confident, competent; simply acting out the perfect script... watch it all, WILL it to happen and slowly come away from the position. And then you will call me, even as Chander Swamy yoga client and serious golfer did, and say, "My partner and I won the cup!" My response would be: "But of course!"
(The writer is a city-based yoga consultant)
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