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Posted on 06-10-2015

Yoga is for all golfers - from beginners to the advanced player

I am new to the sport of golf. I am only just in my second year of playing and taking lessons as well as practicing on a weekly basis. As you well know, it's one of the most challenging sports - at least in my athletic arena of sports it is.

I am a well rounded athlete having taken up such sports as Muay Thai, cycling, running, baseball and yoga - all of those have their own challenges, however golf is one of the most complex sports and game I have ever participated in. And I love it!

How Yoga fits into golf

There are so many aspects involved in the swing as well as the game. From a beginner's perspective, the swing comes first and then the game of golf itself, which (in my opinion), is a whole other beast. As I began taking lessons, I realized that I had a huge advantage - I have been practicing yoga (and teaching!) for 14 years. It struck me as my golf instructor began breaking down the swing into small parts - I was so thankful for my knowledge of the body and knowing how to move my body in order to construct an amazing and powerful swing. 

What is Yoga?

Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that incorporates movement and breathwork and it has been practiced for thousands of years. There are many professional athletes as well as regular Joe athletes that have incorporated yoga into their sport of choice. Like other athletic endeavors,  yoga requires discipline, patience and most of all practice. The benefits can be felt long after class. With a regular (weekly) yoga practice you will notice a big improvement in your swing and your game.

Three ways Yoga will improve your swing

1. Yoga gives you a lot of body awareness. Some postures are complex and others very simple. However, they all incorporate a great deal of alignment, awareness, flexibility, strength and balance. Just being able to feel where your hips are, where your shoulders are, where your feet are - all of that is important to your golf swing. With body awareness comes the ability to move the entire body in sync, therefore greatly improving your swing.

2. A strong and flexible core. All of that translates into a powerful swing. Yoga helps you develop a strong core as well as a flexible one. In yoga, there are many postures that develop the flexibility and strength of the spine as well as the hips, back and belly. 

3. Balance. Balance is extremely important to your swing. With a steady (and strong) stance, and strong legs, great power can be generated. As you take your club back, power is not derived from the arms. It comes from core and legs. Just pushing into the ground (almost like you are pushing off) with that back leg and syncing that movement with a powerful core, your golf swing is greatly enhanced. 

How breathing can improve your game

Another aspect to yoga is mindful breathing. When one practices yoga, it is important to breathe into the postures and breathe out of the postures. The mind calms, the body relaxes, and one is able to stretch even deeper.

Golf is very much a mental game - it requires you to focus, be present and both of those are much more easily accomplished when you are breathing. 

It's so easy to get frustrated on the course especially after a few bad shots. However with some deep and mindful breaths, it is much easier to let go of the bad shot and approach the next one with an open mind. My instructor says this all the time - approach each shot as if it were a totally new game. 

When one is frustrated or angry, the body contracts and we don't breathe as deeply as we could be. That on it's own affects how you play your game and it affects the amount of power you can put out. Yoga teaches you how to to be mindful, it asks you to be patient with yourself and your body, and yoga requires you to breathe. Mindfulness, patience and breath work will improve your game exponentially.

If you are interested and would like yoga to improve your golf game, please feel free to contact me. I may be a new golfer, however, I am an experienced yogi. Yoga is helping me tremendously with my golf swing and my golf game.

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