Golfers often focus on upper back flexibility, yet neglect opening the hips. This can lead to a tight low back, putting you at possible risk for injury. Improving the range of motion in your hips can reduce injury risks in your back, and yield a deeper twist in your torso, which can better your swing! It is recommended that these postures are practiced a minimum of twice per week, but can be practiced daily for greater flexibility. As with any exercise program, it is recommended to consult your physician prior to practicing yoga.
Through the Hole Pose
• Begin lying on your back with both feet parallel on the floor.
• Lift the right leg, turning the knee to place the right ankle above the left knee.
• The head and back remain on the floor as you lift your left foot.
• Place the right hand through the hole while the left hand
reaches behind the left thigh and connects with the right hand.
• Begin to pull the legs towards the chest, keeping the right foot flexed to engage the leg muscles and protect the knee.
Hug the legs in to the chest as far as you can comfortably stretch.
• Hold the pose for 10-15 slow breaths.
• Release the pose by unclasping the hands and slowly lowering
• Return the right foot back to the floor, parallel to the left.
• Repeat on the other side.
Pigeon Pose: This pose can increase range of motion in the hips by opening the front hip flexors, primarily the psoas and piriformis muscles, when extending the torso upright.
Begin in a tabletop position, wrists aligned underneath shoulders, and knees beneath hips.
• Bring your right knee forward to the floor, sweeping the right foot through, keeping the knee in line with the hip.
• Flex through the right foot to engage the leg muscles and protect the right knee.
• Lower the hips down as you extend the left leg behind you, keeping the foot in line with the hip.
• Both hips remain facing forward. If this is intense, place a blanket or rolled towel underneath the hips to keep the hips in alignment.
• Extend the torso upwards, lifting through the spine.
• Hold for 5-10 slow breaths to lengthen through the front of the hips before lowering the torso.
• Lengthen the tailbone towards the left foot as you extend through the full spine lowering the torso down over the right leg. The stretch will now be concentrated on the outer right hip and glute muscles.
• Continue to flex through the right foot while distributing the weight between both hips evenly.
• Only lower down as far as you can comfortable go, relaxing the shoulders and neck.
• Hold the pose for 15-20 slow breaths.
• Release the pose by slowly lifting your torso, pushing in to your hands to slide the right knee back towards the tabletop position, while returning the left knee to the starting tabletop position, as well.
• Repeat on the other side.
By Kristi Grosse, CYT