We already know that yoga is all about core strength, balance, flexibility, and wellness – attributes that encompass almost all physical activities. Athletes are not new to practicing yoga as an additional exercise to enhance strength, balance, and focus, especially for pose-and-balance sensitive sports like golf.
Golf is all about posture, timing, movement, and control, to mention a few, which is why yoga and golf can work hand-in-hand to provide supplementary training for beginners and professionals alike.
How Yoga Can Help Golf
There are several ways yoga efficiently helps golfers. It isn’t just confined to flexibility, which is the first thing we perceive in this discipline. Before we show you the best asanas (poses) for golf, here are some of the ways yoga can help you improve your golf game.
Improved golf swing
The golf swing is complex. It is a pattern that incorporates stability and mobility. It requires some of your joints like feet, knees, and pelvis to be stable while other joints are required to be mobile, like the ankles, hips, and spine. Yoga fine-tunes your body by providing you strength and flexibility through different asanas.
Yoga uses bodyweight for its poses, which requires high levels of muscular strength, and golfers need that same strength to make powerful swings.
Strength is one thing, but endurance is a whole different matter. Yoga poses are sometimes held for 30 seconds or longer, building muscular endurance. Golfers need this same endurance, especially during tournaments and long rounds.
Certain asanas are focused on balance, and when these poses are held for long periods, you learn to find your center of gravity. Golf also requires balance, especially when strong winds or an awkward position challenges a golfer.
The right posture and footing are important in golf. A stable posture allows you to maintain balance on different parts of your body, and this stability helps you nail the best golf swing. Yoga teaches you stability through certain asanas so you can hold balancing poses longer and more effectively.
Improved cardiovascular endurance
Regular cardio workouts increase heart rate to overload the cardiovascular system. This is still a good method, but it doesn’t include breathing. Since yoga focuses on deep, meditative breathing, it increases your lung capacity, giving you more power to sustain muscle exertion.
Improved general fitness
Fit athletes perform better because of how the body naturally responds to the changes in your connective muscle tissue. Being a fit athlete means performing at your optimal level for extended periods, regardless of how you look.
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The Top 3 Yoga Poses For Golfers
There are yoga poses that closely resemble movements in golf, and practicing a few of these in yoga will incorporate a fluidity to your game. In contrast, other poses help open joints, so you have more mobility.
The Lunge Twist or Twisted Crescent Lunge
Why: This pose increases spinal rotation, adding power to the swing.
How to guide:
- Go to the lunge position with your front and back knee in the 90 degrees angle.
- Suck in your belly, and elongate the spine.
- Keep the core engaged and twist your body towards the front leg.
- Put your hands together as though in prayer, with elbows outward, and hook the opposite elbow to your front knee.
- Stack up your arms together, ensuring you continue to engage your core and elongate your spine.
- Tuck your back toes under and press through your heel and raise.
- Release and do the same for the other side for 30 seconds.
Note: You can keep your back knee down as a beginner pose.
The Boat Pose
Why: This pose increases core strength, improves posture, and strengthens your back muscles.
How to guide:
- Roll your shoulders back and maintain a good posture.
- Lean back slowly until you feel your core engage.
- Keep your upper body straight and hold your legs up, with your arms supporting your thighs.
- If you want an advanced version, you can let go of your hands and extend them in front of you with your legs up, core engaged, and back straight.
- Do this for at least 30 seconds or longer if capable.
The Pigeon Pose
Why: This pose helps open the hips so you can effectively rotate and drive the ball. This poses stretches your hips deeply while giving you flexibility for your quads.
How to guide:
- Tuck your toes and put your hips up with your back straight in a downward dog pose.
- After an inhale, put the left leg up and bring the left knee behind your left wrist. It’s important to note the alignment.
- Slide your hip to the back as far as you can, stretch and untuck your toes and rest them on the mat.
- Ensure the knee is outside of the hip and support the space between the hips and the ground for additional support.
- Walk your hands forward and rest your forehead on the mat if you are capable. If not, you can use a block for your forehead instead.
IMPORTANT: When doing yoga, always start with the basic downward dog pose before transitioning to any pose to achieve the right form.
Yoga can help golf in more ways than three poses, but it needs a lot of practice and discipline. After mastering these three asanas, you can try other yoga poses to improve your muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. Before you know it, your winning golf swing will come to you as easy and natural as breathing.