Yoga & Golf – Flexibility, Balance & Strength
A player’s success on the golf course is the result of a combination of technical moves and motion, geometry and physics, highly engineered equipment, and psychological, emotional and physical skills. As we evaluate the golf swing, one important focus is a player’s physical condition, including any injuries and their level of flexibility, strength and balance. These physical essentials, as well as possible limits, are a core part of their golf swing growth and improvement. I am a dedicated student of yoga and I share the foundations of the yoga practice with my students. There are many yoga positions and exercises that are at the core of a golf swing and central to general health and life.
1. BREATHING / RELAXING / PREPARING
Be sure to give yourself some time to get your body moving and ready for your round. Our muscles, bones and joints need to be warm and open
to take that first swing of the day. A variety of exercises can be performed on the range or by the first tee, and these will help start your round smoothly, without risk of injury and while allowing the full swing motions. In addition to the physical benefits, performing these pre-round stretches can help you leave behind all other thoughts and plans and allow you to become more present in each swing of the day.
Each of these poses helps open up the spine for golf-swing rotation. In order to take a full back swing while maintaining a solid and balanced position over the ball, a player needs to have a good range of motion. These flexibility exercises help to open up spinal movements in all directions. Front, back, arch, round and rotate! All are needed for the golf swing.
Any good golf swing–in fact, any athletic move–requires balance. Exercises and poses that work on balance will help develop a sturdy stance and posture throughout the golf swing and lead to solid ball contact–any small shift of loss of balance and a player will miss the desired ‘sweet spot.’ Working on these poses will help stabilize the lower body for balance, and combined with the flexibility work will lead to maximum swing power.
Strength is needed to get the ball flying farther and protect the body from injury. Core strength created by the abdominals, glutes and quads is what connects a player’s body, enabling a faster clubhead speed while maintaining steady balance.