By Abby Seplowitz, Yoga for Golfers Instructor at the Kapalua Golf Academy
Do you want to play better, stronger, and longer? The combination of a solid yoga practice could be what your golf game is missing! When we observe different sports, golf may often be thought of as being on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to physical activity. Although it does not require sprinting to get your ball or getting sacked by linebackers, a well-rounded golf game may be one of the most difficult fitness levels to obtain. There must be a balance of physical flexibility, strength and coordination as well as concentration and acute mental focus.
Consistent yoga practice definitely helps to gain mobility/flexibility, power and stability in the golf swing. It also inadvertently contributes to a calm state of mind and mental ease for course management.
In Yoga for Golfers, we directly relate the golf swing to specific yoga poses that target muscle groups firing in the golf swing. A strong, solid foundation will help keep the player grounded for the optimal consistency and power obtainable. Using yoga postures to strengthen our bodies creates long, lean muscle, which is perfect for golf. A strong core and bottom half allow us to have the solid foundation in the golf swing that we strive to mirror from the pros. Flexibility is also a huge benefit for golfers and a key component in power gain. In Yoga for Golfers, many exercises incorporate twisting the top half of our body over a stable foundation on the bottom, mimicking that of the golf swing. Tremendous benefits and noticeable improvements are obtained by consciously taking what we learn on the yoga mat to the golf course, both mentally and physically.
- Flexibility – Many golfers have restrictions in their bodies that do not allow them to physically contort their bodies the way that our golf instructors want us to swing. By practicing yoga postures and techniques, we are constantly working on our mobility. Flexibility reduces swing faults by loosening up our bodies and in turn producing greater club head speed, while also reducing the risk of injury.
- Posture – This is the foundation on which we hold our bodies. Working our front and back bodies with yoga postures will help keep spine angle consistent which will in turn produce more consistent swings and ball striking. Going deeper: good posture stems from the center of the body, which then enhances our extension and flexion of arms and legs.
- Balance – Balance is a key component in movement, including yoga and golf. In the golf swing, balance is extremely important from start to finish. At every point in the swing we must remain balanced in order to strike the golf ball consistently and have a strong follow through. Also, because we play golf right or left handed, we often find inconsistencies throughout the body paralleling the amount of swings taken on one singular side. Yoga balances our right and left sides, front and back body, as well as helps to find a strong grounding and balance upon our own two feet.
- Breathing – In yoga, you are constantly coordinating body movements with the breath. I have found great success in using intentional, focused breathing to manage my emotions on the course, as well as in my pre-shot routine and golf swing. Along with setting up my B.P.G.A., an acronym heavily focused on here at the Kapalua Golf Academy (ball placement, posture, grip, and alignment/aim), taking one deep breath before starting your swing will help hone your energy and the most power possible.
The addition of yoga to our daily routine will provide endless benefits. Specifically, the connection of yoga and golf enhances our golf game and gives us a greater appreciation for our bodies. Now get out there, roll out your yoga mat and start practicing!
Featured photo source: Pixabay.com