Reasons Why Golfers Should Practice Yoga
If you ask a golfer what is the best way to improve at golf, they will probably tell you to continue to practice on the driving range and putting / chipping green. We’d all agree on that. b
But besides golf practice for skill building we should also work on our mental game which plays a key role in our success as golfers.
Yoga has been practiced many years as a healing practice, but Yoga is much more than just stretch and touch your toes. It also has many benefits to support a golf swing both physically and mentally.
For example, golfing requires a lot of balance and strength, along with a clear and focused mind. Conscious breathing connects body and mind, and helps athletes to develop mental patience and concentration.
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We know that you must be able to manage your mood and emotions to maintain the peaceful focus necessary for playing your best golf. Yoga poses demand the same mental focus so the two go hand in hand.
Yoga is also similar to a golf session; it’s a place of freedom and a place of peace where you can escape from the world for a little while and enjoy yourself.
Benefits of Doing Yoga as a Golfer
Yoga builds strength, flexibility, and balance support to release any body tensions.
A strong core prevents you from the lower back pain, which results from repeated spinal rotation in the golf swing. It protects the lumbar spine from harm and over rotating.
Flexibility and strength in the hamstring and hip areas are extremely important, as these areas support the hips and balance in your golf swing. Strong and relaxed hands, arms and shoulders, an open chest prevents you from injuries.
5 Yoga Poses to Do This Week
This 20 minutes Yoga sequence will help you to improve your game and find a stable balance in your mind and body.
Warm up your body first, roll your shoulders, interlace your fingers and rotate your hands, practice at least 3 sun salutations, before you start these four poses, to warm up your body right before you enter the golf course:
Navasana (Boat Pose)
Drive your shoulders back and keep your spine long. Lift your chest as you engage the core. Inhale as you lift your legs up from the floor, all toes are flexed.
Straighten your arms in front of you or hug your inner thighs for extra support. Stay in the posture for minimum 5 deep breaths.
Eka pada rajakapotasana (pigeon pose)
Start from the downward facing dog, lifting one leg up, bend the knee and bring your front shin as parallel to the top of your mat, keep your back leg straight.
Flex your front foot and square your hips to the short end of your mat.
Ashta Chandrasana (Crescent High Lunge)
Start from downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong.
Inhale and raise your torso to upright. Raise your arms overhead, palms facing each other.
Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and reach back through your left heel. Shoulders back and relaxed away form your ears. Look up to your thumbs.
Stay in posture for minimum 5 breaths. Exhale, lower your hand on the mat and step your right foot back into the downward facing dog, before you repeat on the left.
Twisted Lunge (Parivrtta Sanchalasana)
Start from downward facing dog, step your right foot forward between your hands. Bend your front knee over your ankle, spine straight and long.
Lower your back knee gently on the mat. Inhale, get upright in the lunge and bring your palms together in prayer. As you exhale, hook your left elbow across your right thigh. Angle your right elbow up and plug your shoulder back. As you balance, slowly look up.
Exhale, release the twist, lower your hands on the mat and step your right foot back into the downward facing dog, before you repeat on the left.
In the “under pressure” situations we tend to hold our breath. We start to over analyze a hole and this adds mental pressure we don’t need. Negative thoughts can surface just as we are trying to sink a putt or make a swing.
When the mind starts racing thousands of thoughts, we hold our breath and the body becomes tense making the ability to execute the golf swing more challenging.
A focused and deep breathing routine from yoga will help you to stimulate the parasympathetic part of the nervous system to calm the body and mind. It will lower the blood pressure and heart rate.
Sitting quietly in a Yoga class, focusing on breathing, posture, and awareness of physical tension or relaxation, might be challenging in the beginning. But the more you practice, the more calm and focus you will feel with the time.
At first, it is enough to practice the following simple breathing technique only for a few minutes daily. You can add additional yoga breathing exercises down the road once you’re comfortable with this routine.
- Take a comfortable seated position, optional on a small cushion.
- Keep your spine straight, shoulders relaxed down away from the ears, hands resting wherever they’re comfortable. Feel the natural flow of your breathing…in and out.
- You don’t need to do anything to your breathing, just let it flow natural.
- Keep your attention only on your breathing.
Notice the sensation that happens in your body. And when you feel comfortable begin to deepen your breath.
A calmer nervous system will lead you to less stress, more focus and these things together make you a better golfer.
Remember always to warm up first using the methods mentioned above, focus on your hips and thoracic spine before you start. Take few deep breathes with closed eyes, stay focused while breathing.
Feel your body and mind connected. Make a commitment to yourself to stay relaxed and focused while playing. Open your eyes, grab your golf bag, enter the golf course with high energy and mental calmness.
Thanks for reading today’s 5 beginner yoga poses and techniques you can do to help your golf game. Build strength, flexibility, and mental clarity by doing a yoga session a few times each week.
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