The deep abdominal muscles (your “abs”), together with the muscles in the mid and lower back, make up the core muscles and help keep the body stable. By building the core muscles, it cranks up the power and can help prevent falls or injuries during sports like golf.

I recommend the following four yoga exercises to boost your core power. Every one of these poses involves balance, which is a great way to work the core. Additional benefits of these include improved posture and relief of back pain. Dedicate time (even 15 minutes will do) to practice these postures 3-4 times per week, practice each for 5-8 breaths, and you’ll feel—and notice—the difference.

Forearm plank

Lay flat on your belly. Come onto your forearms and balls of your feet. You can keep your forearms parallel and straight forward with palms flat on the mat, make a triangle with your arms and fingers interlaced together, or another comfortable variation. Your body is in a plank position squeezing your gluteus (or rear end) muscles, pulling the belly toward the spine, and keeping the hips slightly lifted to protect the lower back.

Cat Cow Stretch

Starting off on your hands and knees with cat cow stretch is a good warm up. Arch the back on the inhales and round the back on the exhales. For alignment, keep the wrists under the shoulders and the knees under the hips. Allow the backs of the feet to lay flat on the mat.

Side Plank

Start at the top of a push-up or plank position. Shift to the outside edge of your left foot and stack your right foot on top of your left. Keep the left fingers spread on the mat and the weight distributed evenly. Reach the right arm up with fingers extended.

And gaze up to the right fingertips. Come back to plank position with arms straight and repeat on other side.

Down Dog Splits

Start on your hands and knees. With your toes curled under, draw your hips back as you straighten your legs into downward facing dog. Keep your palms flat and fingers spread on the mat. Pull your belly in toward your spine. Raise your right leg up and keep your hips squared. After 5-8 breaths, lower your right leg and raise your left leg up. Lower into child’s pose to rest as needed. In child’s pose you are sitting back on your heels with your knees spread slightly, your arms by your sides, and your forehead down.

This article appeared in Issue 5 of Women's Golf Journal.

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