Pro golfer Natalie Gulbis’ favorite yoga poses

A few days ago I wrote about pro golfer Natalie Gulbis’ love of yoga. She’s so convinced of the benefits of yoga — especially the way it builds strength and flexibility and balance — that she says she takes a Bikram class three or four times a week when she’s home in Las Vegas. When she’s traveling for tournaments, she packs a yoga mat and watches yoga videos via computer. “Yoga is necessary for performance and longevity in my sport,” she says.

Interested in trying some poses that complement golf? Here goes:

Warm-up for pre golf: Thread the needle

Why do it: It mimics the golf swing making it a perfect dynamic warm-up

How to do it: Begin on all fours in table pose. Stretch your right arm and torso towards the ceiling. Feel the stretch in the torso and hold for three breaths.  On your exhale slide your right arm under the left supporting arm, bringing your right shoulder and ear to the floor.  Focus on the stretch in the entire torso and hold for five more breaths. Switch sides and repeat on each side three times.

 

For balance: Warrior III

Why do it: Strengthens lower body and core; teaches you to move from your core and to activate your glutes independently. Both are essential for golf.

How to do it: Draw your navel towards your spine and engage your core.  Step one foot forward and lift your back leg off the floor. Lower your upper body towards the floor as you lift your back leg at the same time. Imagine that your body is like the letter “T”.  Hold for ten breaths and switch sides. 

 

To open the hips: Pigeon.

Why do it: to bring stability and balance to hips

How to do it: Begin on all fours and bring your right knee to your right wrist. Bring your right foot towards your left wrist.  Note: you should not feel any discomfort in your right knee.  If you feel any discomfort do not do this pose.   Slide your left leg back and feel the stretch in the glutes.  Hold for ten breaths and switch sides.

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