December 3, 2010

Pilates for Golf

My Personal Discovery

Since my heart surgery fourteen years ago, I have made a continual effort to exercise both for strength and flexibility even though recreational golf does not necessarily require a high level of physical fitness to participate. Regular exercise properly carried out can provide a significant benefit to the swing mechanics. The heightened level of enjoyment derived from playing better and the overall health benefits can motivate a desire to work out.

What I have been fortunate to discover over the last year is the extraordinary benefits of working with a certified Pilates instructor. The precision exercises and movements that Pilates requires has made a remarkable difference in my capacity to play golf with a heightened level of efficiency.

My instructor, Linda Yasek, was originally introduced to me for golf lessons. I have been working on her golf game for about two years. Although a beginner, she has a remarkable amount of natural ability. What I noticed from day one of our lessons together was an unusual amount of coordination in the connection of her upper and lower body as she swings a golf club.

As I have committed myself to the Pilates exercises as an addition to my aerobic and weight training routine, I have witnessed an expanded ease of body flow in my swing.

Pilates has now become a dedicated part of my weekly training. My professional association with Linda is just another example of the “Law of Attraction.” When something is needed in life, if you remain open-minded and begin to focus on what is needed, your wanting desire is satisfied.

Origin of Pilates

Pilates is without a doubt one of the most efficient and effective methods of physical training available. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the methodology, was initially motivated by his own need to conquer his frailty as a child. Determined to become strong and healthy, he overcame his adversity and passionately dedicated himself to building his body, mind, and spirit through the practice of yoga, Zen meditation, as well as ancient Greek and Roman exercises. He became an accomplished gymnast, skier, boxer, and diver. It was not until his internment during World War II in England for being a German citizen that fate intervened and provided him with the inspiration for the beginning of the concept of the Pilates system. Working as a nurse, he developed a method of assisting disabled patients to regain mobility and strength with an innovative process using springs and straps hooked onto hospital beds. His experimental treatment revealed a very clear process that developed recognition for the importance of core abdominal and back muscle strength. He found this provided stability to the torso allowing for freedom of movement. The discoveries he made working with his patients successfully led to creating the specialized equipment utilized in today’s Pilates methods and the principles referred to as controlology.

Joseph Pilates’ pursuit led to the development of approximately 500 different exercises based on the principles of concentration, centering, flowing movement, and breathing that bring the mind, body, and spirit into alignment and promotes good health.

Joseph Pilates died at age 87 from smoke inhalation in a studio fire. He hung from the rafters for over an hour, as he attempted to escape the flames. Unfortunately, he was ultimately consumed by the intense smoke.

After about twenty sessions of Pilates, I returned to the golf course this past summer, thanks to Linda’s training, with a new sense of commitment to an expanded capability as a player and teacher. Through my discovery of Pilates, Linda and I can offer golf students a significant service to aid their overall capability. The potential of our combined efforts serves as another example of the life response that comes to the seeker. The passionate unveiling of clarity in the purpose, reveals the evolutionary process that allows for the facilitation of our pursuit. Joseph Pilates is a shining example of this life force to which we owe a debt of gratitude.

Benefits of Pilates

Pilates focuses on strengthening core postural and deep torso muscles to keep the body balanced and provide support to the spine. The goal of Pilates is to stretch, strengthen and stabilize key muscles through a progressive system utilizing the principles of proper alignment, centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing and flowing movement. These are all essential for a congruent well-timed golf swing.

The benefits also include a fantastic feeling of well-being through a mind, body, spirit workout. As the participant increases body awareness, a balanced strength and muscle tone combine to increase flexibility. The concentrated core strength helps to prevent injuries and relieves back, neck and shoulder pain. Posture is significantly enhanced. Cardiovascular circulation is positively affected providing increased energy. Balance and coordination so necessary for a well structured golf swing are dramatically improved.

Pilates will remain a significant part of my personal commitment to my golf and my life as I look forward to a long future in the game. I highly recommend that you give it a try. Find an instructor as dedicated as Linda and work one-on-one. That’s the only way to get the full benefit. I feel very fortunate to have Linda on my team in life. If you live in the area of Winding Hills Golf Course you can contact her at www.positivepilatesny.com  She can truly make a difference in your life.

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