Tee Time Yoga – Mountain Pose with Spinal Twist

written by Teresa Thompson and Peggy Nolan

img_0577.jpg

One of the things I love about yoga is how much it applies to everything else in my life  –  like my golf swing!  I’ve been a fan of the mat since 2010,  and over the years,  I’ve had the privilege of working with yoga instructor Peggy Nolan on several occasions.

The first thing she taught me when I met her was Mountain Pose.

Mountain Pose,  or Tadasana,  is all about finding balance and stability.  Falling out of my stance is something I struggle with in my golf swing.  Trying to get power and speed,  especially with my longer clubs,  makes it difficult to stay in control of my body on the follow through.

Mountain Pose helps me maintain good body position throughout my golf swing.  

In our first mini-video,  Peggy combines Mountain Pose with a standing Spinal Twist.  I loved the sequence from the moment she showed it to me.  The spinal twist feels great in my shoulders and upper back.  I love the extra range of motion I get on my back swing from this stretch!

Taking a few minutes each day to do Mountain Pose with standing Spinal Twist has improved my balance and  flexibility  –  as well as my golf swing!

Take a look at how Peggy breaks down each posture…

Tadasana = Mountain Pose

IMG_0527

Peggy and Teresa in Mountain Pose

As golfers,  finding mountain pose in your stance,  whether you’re driving,  chipping,  or putting,  will help with stability,  strength,  posture,  and balance.

Teacher’s Corner:

1. Stand with feet parallel and hip width apart
2. Press pad of big toe, baby toe, inside and outside heel to earth
3. Press feet into earth
4. Gently lift knee caps, engaging the legs
5. Root to rise, lengthening from side bodies
6. Press belly towards spine; tailbone towards earth
7. Lift shoulders towards ears and allow shoulders melt down your back
8. Lift collar bones, press shoulder blades together
9. Activate biceps and triceps, point fingers firmly together towards earth
10. Lengthen from crown of head, chin is neutral
11. Take 3 deep belly breaths, feeling strength and stability in lower body and lightness and ease in upper body

Benefits of Mountain Pose:

1. Teaches basic alignment
2. Improves overall posture
3. Supports healthy joints
4. Creates space in abdominal area for better digestion
5. Creates space in both sides as well as spine
6. Creates stability and strength in legs

Spinal Twists

IMG_0531

Peggy and Teresa in Standing Spinal Twist

IMG_0530
There are a variety of spinal twisting yoga poses. Spinal twists before golf will help warm up your back and reduce tension and stress. Spinal twists after golf will help relax the spine and nervous system.

Teacher’s Corner:

1. Spinal twists can be done standing, seated, or lying down
2. Twisting your spine should never be forced
3. Only twist as far as it is comfortable in your back body to twist
4. When using twists to warm up, only go to 30-40% of the twist
5. If the full standing twist in the video is unavailable to you,  have no fear. We’ll be showing more options and variations in upcoming videos

Benefits of Spinal Twists:

1. Opens the rib cage and allows for ease of breath
2. Massages digestive organs
3. Stimulates lymph flow
4. Reduces tension
5. Aids in relaxation
6. Opens the spine and helps with spinal flexibility

Watch the video below to Join Peggy and Teresa in Mountain Pose with Spinal Twist

Peggy Nolan is a certified yoga teacher (RYT 500), former martial artist (TaeKwonDo, Muay Thai Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu), and expert crocheter. She guides yoga nidra classes at Hot Asana Yoga Studio in Hampstead, NH.  Find her on Facebook!   at  Twisted Crochet

Screen Shot 2017-12-08 at 9.20.55 AM

Advertisements

Crockpot Veggie Soup

I love to cook  –  almost as much as I love to play golf.  I also love to eat healthy,  even on days I’m at the range or on the course.  One of the ways I’m able to golf the day away and have a healthy,  home cooked meal is by utilizing my crockpot.

5FE85195-E3ED-4F14-BE50-3904664B231A

Teresa’s Crockpot Veggie Soup

Crockpot meals are quick and easy.  One of my favorites is a simple vegetable soup.  It takes 20 minutes of prep before I walk out the door  –  and by the time I come home  –  I have a savory,  ready to eat meal.

Check out my recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium to large potatoes

1 bunch celery

5 large carrots

1 large onion

3 cups chopped kale

1 can unsweetened coconut milk

salt,  pepper,  adobo,  and  turmeric

Dice potatoes,  celery,  carrots,  and onions into bite sized pieces.  Add to crock pot and cover with water.  Season to taste with salt,  pepper,  adobo,  and turmeric.  Set crockpot to low and cover with lid.  Chop kale,  cover,  and store in refrigerator.

Go Golfing!

EF6F8383-CD33-4DF9-8FD1-20FA600448B1

When you return,  add kale and coconut milk  (separate condensed coconut milk from coconut oil before adding to soup).  Allow to cook for 20 more minutes.

5DFBC586-E6CB-48AF-9F97-C9B83A43B768

Add coconut milk for a creamy,  dairy-free soup base

Garnish with sprouts,  nuts,  and seeds.

EBC81C56-EB22-40DC-84B6-8FE8666BBA30

Teresa’s garnish –  alfalfa sprouts,  broccoli sprouts,  sunflower seeds,  pumpkin seeds,  almonds,  cashews,  and walnuts

Enjoy!

Check back next week for updates on our Tee Time Yoga series with yoga instructor and martial artist,  Peggy Nolan!

 

Finding Health, Happiness, and Inspiration Through Golf

This is me in 2015 when I first started hanging out at the driving range with Matt.

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 10.20.39 AM

Teresa  –  July,  2015

At the time,  I was simply looking for a way to unplug,  get outside,  and spend some quality time with my husband.  I spent most of the summer helping Matt work on his golf swing.  Once in a while I’d hit a few balls myself.  I had a shoulder injury due to work and I was in the middle of an autoimmune health flare up,  so my ability to swing the club was limited.

After a winter of PT and some time concentrating on getting my autoimmunity under control,  I came back in 2016 ready to undertake my journey from beginner golfer to serious golf addict!

Being outside sharing my husband’s love of golf became a huge source of inspiration.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop!  And I wanted to see just how good of a golfer I could become.  With that in mind,  Matt and I decided to film our rounds and practice sessions right off the bat.

 

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.43.09 AM

One of Teresa’s first rounds of golf with the camera

It was intimidating at first.  But I kept at it.  We started our YouTube Channel and golf blog as a way to keep track of my progress.  We also concentrated on putting together a golf program to help me and other beginner golfers be able to learn the sport in a fun,  relaxed,  supportive environment.  We organized a golf league,  held clinics,  and arranged excursions at local area golf courses.

Our goal was to create a community to support new golfers who wanted to get out on the course with us.  As we began to build up our golf program,  I started looking into lifestyle changes that would support my game.

Proper diet and exercise became an important part of my practice routine and golf lifestyle.  The inspiration I felt from being out on the course,  meeting other new golfers,  and getting to know local golf courses,  helped me make huge gains in my golf swing as well as my overall health.

To date,  I’ve lost over 25 pounds,  regained full range of motion in my shoulder,  restored my health,  reconnected with my husband,  and met some really amazing people.

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.43.09 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.43.32 AM

Screen Shot 2017-11-20 at 9.44.13 AM

The 2017 regular golf season is coming to an end…. but my motivation is still in full swing!  This winter I’m creating a Wednesday Wellness Series here on the blog.  I’ll be talking about my diet and exercise routine as well as how I find ways to keep golfing while living in snowy New England.

I’ll feature Tee Time Recipies,  Tee Time Yoga,  our Winter Golf Program (lessons,  clinics,  and leagues)  and Florida golf vacation ideas.  In the mean time,  check out my golf swing compilation video.  Let me know what you think of my progress!  And then check back every Wednesday for ways you can stay healthy while improving your golf game.

 

 

Improve Your Golf Swing With Yoga

One of the first things I heard when I started playing golf was…

Swinging a club is one of the worst things you can do to your back. 

I love this sport and want to be able to play it well into my retirement  –  so keeping my body healthy and injury free is a top priority.

4D60E1DA-987D-44E6-91DC-978BF95E978A

Teresa working on her backswing positioning at Twin Pines Driving Range in Epping,  NH

I decided right away to look for ways to keep my back healthy and strong.  That’s why I’m teaming up with yoga instructor and martial artist Peggy Nolan!

FC65D3D3-DBA9-4E73-80C5-0F95C1B1235B

Certified Yoga Instructor and 3rd Degree Black Belt – Peggy Nolan

Together we’re working on creating a Yoga series specifically tailored for golf!  The goal of our program is to help golfers gain strength and flexibility while maintaining proper spine alignment.

12182724_10153218563913870_1237524201530978900_o-2

Peggy doing yoga at Summit Lake,  Mount Evans,  Colorado

Ask any golf professional and they’ll tell you maintaining proper angles in the golf swing is key to consistency.  Getting the angles you want requires correct alignment in your body.

Body alignment is what yoga’s all about!  

That’s why yoga is such a powerful tool for golfers when it comes to improving their swing.

I wanted to work with Peggy because of her experience in combining yoga with other sports  –  specifically martial arts.   Peggy is a Registered Yoga Teacher at the 500 hour level and a 3rd level black prajioud (3rd degree black belt) in Muay Thai.  Peggy taught Yoga for Martial Arts at Tim Barchard’s Professional Martial Arts Academy in Derry from 2012 to 2017.   Currently she teaches Yoga Nidra at Hot Asana Yoga in Hampstead.

254369_10151116505078870_759740502_n

Peggy training at Tim Barchard’s Professional Martial Arts Academy in Derry

23471975_10155101657963870_8936781725047623736_n

Peggy’s Yoga Nidra Class at Hot Asana Yoga in Hampstead,  NH

We started creating our yoga series by having Peggy take a golf lesson with Matt.  During her lesson,  we focused on posture,  balance,  alignment,  and flexibility.  As we worked through the various moving parts,  Peggy was able to begin the process of putting together a yoga series specifically for golfers.

832F4397-2D90-4AA8-99D9-954B0674A09A

Matt and Peggy working on spine angles and positioning

 

226B10E6-4A74-4CFD-966F-514FF5BADF57

Focusing on correct shoulder alignment through the finish

In the next few weeks,  we’ll be picking apart the anatomy of the golf swing  –  pairing each piece with yoga postures that support the full range of motion,  strength,  balance,  and flexibility every golfer needs to take care of their back while swinging a club.

We’re scheduled to begin filming Tee Time’s Yoga for Golf in December with a release date of January 2018!  In the mean time,  check out our Wellness Wednesday Winter Blog Series right here at the Tee Time Golf Blog.  We’ll be talking about healthy ways to stay in the swing of things during the off season.

Namaste and Keep Golfing!

Check out our monthly membership golf program here.

We offer winter lessons, clinics, and leagues!

 

Waumbek Golf Club – Jefferson, NH

The last course in our 2017 series of  Preferred Golf Courses  is Waumbek Golf Club.  Waumbek Golf Club is the oldest original 18-hole golf course in New Hampshire.  Founded in 1895,  this course has remained unchanged for over 120 years.

DSC00969

Waumbek Golf Club  –   founded in 1895  –  Jefferson,  New Hampshire

Matt,  Bunny,   and I headed out early that day for the hour and a half drive north to Jefferson,  NH.   It was a bit foggy when we left,  making for a beautiful morning over the mountains of Franconia Notch.

DSC00965

Oldest original 18-hole golf course in New Hampshire.

We were given a warm,  cheerful welcome by Dianne Morneau,  General Manager of the Waumbek.   Dianne was able to tell us the history of the golf course  –  as well as how best to manage it once we got out there to play.   “Line up to Cherry Mountain.”  she said.  “And try not to let the scenery distract you!”    With views of the Presidential Mountain Range from every hole,  it’s impossible not to take a moment to appreciate the natural beauty surrounding this golf course.

DSC01033

View of Cherry Mountain from the back nine.

 

Matt,  Bunny,  and I were joined by Jerry for a mid-day tee time.  Matt and I played a game of match play against Bunny and Jerry.   The Waumbek is a challenging golf course. The greens are small and fast while the fairways are ambitious and unpredictable.  There’s even a hole where you have to hit the ball over an active highway.  How’s that for a hazard!?

DSC01014

Small,  fast greens

DSC01007

Unpredictable fairways.

DSC01040

Beautiful views of the White Mountains

 

Playing this course requires thoughtfulness,  patience,  well-placed shots,  and a little bit of luck.  Jerry and Bunny had it on the front nine,  closing us out by 2 points.  Matt and I rallied on the back nine,  ending the match one up with a well-earned putt on the 18th hole.

DSC00983

Teresa,  Matt,  Bunny,  and Jerry

I loved playing Waumbek Country Club.  It was such a unique experience to play the oldest course in the state  –  knowing it’s architecture has been preserved for over a century.   If you’re looking for one more  ‘must play’  golf course to finish out your season,  this is it.

Check out our video here…

*Thank you Bunny and Jerry for playing a round with us.*

**Thank You Dianne Morneau and Waumbek Golf Club for having us out on your course.**

 

 

 

The Oaks Golf Links – Somersworth, NH

The weather in New England’s been phenomenal for golf this year,  so it was no surprise to be under beautiful,  sunny skies as we played The Oaks Golf Links in Somersworth,  NH.

DSC00872.JPG

The Oaks Golf Links  –  Somersworth,  NH

Matt and I were both pleasantly surprised by this golf course.  The facility is much bigger than we expected  –  with a modern clubhouse and ballroom,  and excellent dining.  There’s also a full driving range,  a sand bunker and chipping area,  and one of the largest practice greens I’ve seen so far.

Before we headed out to the course,  Matt and I spoke with Shaun Bishop,  Head Golf Professional at The Oaks.

DSC00884

Shaun Bishop  –  Head Golf Professional at The Oaks Golf Links

“We have one of the most unique membership programs out there.”  Said Shaun.  “All our member benefits are good at both The Oaks,  and our sister course,  Candia Woods.”  As he showed us around the facility,  Shaun also told us about their junior golf program  –  which supports youth golf participation through lessons,  fundraising,  and junior golf scholarships.  For such a large facility,   this course felt comfortable and welcoming from the moment we arrived  –  and I was looking forward to starting our round.

DSC00875

The Oaks Clubhouse and practice green

DSC00890

Beautiful panoramic views of the golf course from the clubhouse

DSC00917

Nice Fairways

DSC00920

Excellent Greens

This week Matt and I were both behind the camera as Ross and Eric took on Rick  and Rick Jr.   As we filmed,  I was impressed by both the landscaping and the ambiance of this golf course.   Many of the fairways were framed with trees  –  allowing for players to concentrate on their game in a private,  quiet setting.

DSC00904

Rick,  Rick Jr.  Eric,  and Ross at The Oaks Golf Links

The pace of play was fantastic and the greens were among the fastest and best kept I’ve seen on any course we’ve filmed this year.  It was a tough match between our players with Ross and Eric taking an early lead.  Rick and Rick Jr.  came back in the middle of the round to make for an exciting finish between the teams.

See who won by checking out the video below  –   then go book a round at The Oaks Golf Links!   You’re guaranteed to have a great experience on this course…

*Thank you Ross,  Eric,  Rick,  and Rick Jr.  for joining us in this week’s video.*

**A very special thank you to The Oaks Golf Links for having us out on their course.**

 

 

 

Amherst Country Club – Amherst, NH

Matt and I recently visited Amherst Country Club  –  one of only four Audubon Certified golf courses in New Hampshire  –  to play a round with Bob,  Caroline,  and Eric.

DSC00836

Caroline,  Bob,  Matt,  and Eric at Amherst Country Club

I’m both a lover of nature and a lover of golf,  so I was excited to learn more about the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf  when I visited this course.

Amherst Country Club has been Audubon Certified since 1997.   For the past 20 years,  they’ve been dedicated to creating sanctuary habitats for local wildlife,  reducing chemical use on the golf course,  conserving water,  and protecting local wildlife through environmental planning and good stewardship of the land.

To be eligible for Audubon Certification,  courses must consult with Audubon support staff,  create a plan,  and document their environmental practices.   It’s a great way for  golf courses to save money and improve relationships with local communities  – all while learning about and implementing ecologically sound business models.

DSC00844

Natural Habitats and Environments

DSC00840

Beautiful Fairways

DSC00818

Excellent Greens

I enjoyed seeing all the natural habitats and protected wildlife areas as I filmed Bob,  Caroline,  and Eric play a game of match play against Matt.

Amherst Country Club is a challenging course with tricky fairways and fast greens.  As a spectator and fellow golfer,  I appreciated the layout of this course.  The front nine sprawls out in front of the clubhouse while the back nine hops back and forth along the Souhegan River.  There are several bridges traversing the water as well as a passage under the main highway  –  making this course fun and interesting to navigate.

Bob,  Caroline,  and Eric did a fantastic job working together and playing as a team.  Matt struggled a bit on the second green,  making it challenging for him to get back on track.  Everyone was required to hit well-placed shots and practice good course management to remain competitive and stay in the game.  It was a day of ups and downs,  but in the end,  each player was able to overcome their obstacles to play some good golf.

Check out the video below to find out who won!  –  and to see one of New Hampshire’s only Audubon Certified golf courses.

 

*Thank you Bob,  Caroline,  and Eric for joining us out on the course.*

**A Special Thank You to Amherst Country Club for your continued commitment to ecology and the environment.**