Yoga For Golfers: 9 Easy Steps to a Better Swing

0

One of the most important aspects of playing good golf is strength and flexibility. You want to have long, elastic and powerful muscles that can transfer energy efficiently throughout the swing. This is why yoga for golfers is a great way to develop strength and flexibility which helps improve his/her swing. Yoga can be a little intimidating for golfers or anyone who isn’t familiar with it, so we wanted to share a simple routine that anyone can follow in the comfort of your own home.

Yoga 101: Understanding the Basics

First, you want to dress appropriately. You want clothing that is both comfortable but also somewhat snug and well-fitted. There’s a reason you see female yogis wearing yoga pants and form-fitting tanks during their yoga practice: it’s comfortable and allows them to move freely from pose to pose, which is especially important in a sun salutation. For men, we recommend shorts that are slightly above the knee and a form-fitting tee or compression shirt.

As far as equipment is concerned for this exercise, a slip-resistant mat is perfect and will allow you to hold poses without fear of hurting yourself. Another useful tool is a yoga block, which can help you keep your balance as you get more comfortable with your practice. You’ll want to practice somewhere quiet, with some soothing music playing if you like. Otherwise, silence is ideal.

Yoga for Golfers: Getting Started

If you’re practicing in a group, you may want to know some basic terms. For starters, we will define Namaskar, which is an Indian greeting or salutation said while placing your hands at your heart and bowing slightly. For yoga purists, this will pay respect to the practice itself, as well to those in your group and most importantly yourself.

Now that you have your exercise or yoga mat in a quiet space with or without ambient music playing and you’re dressed comfortably, you’re ready to start your yoga poses and practice!

The Sun Salutation: A Golfer’s Best Friend

Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskar) is a great yoga for golfers starting point because it lengthens and strengthens your muscles and provides the ultimate golf warm-up without any strenuous activity. Here are some final keys to remember before we get started:

  • Take it easy on yourself: Yoga is not perfection, it’s a practice, and that practice can vary from day-to-day. Golf and yoga are similar in that respect: some days are better than others. Do the best you can every day without judgement or expectations.
  • Breathe: The number one thing beginning yogis and golfers tend to forget to do is breathe. Breathing is important in golf, but even more so in yoga, since the breath leads the sequencing. When you begin, you’ll flow from pose to pose based on your inhales and exhales. Your aim is to take inhales of about 4 seconds and exhales of about 7 seconds. You don’t need a stopwatch or a timer; just go with what feels natural.
  • Enjoy the process: Yoga is great for many reasons, but the most important reason is it’s an enjoyable activity that relieves anxiety and stress. And couldn’t we all use more of that?

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get started.

  1. Start in Mountain Pose (Tadasana)

Stand at the end of your mat, toes pointing forward, feet hip distance apart. You really want to feel your feet connecting to the ground. Arms extended at your side, palms facing your hips, shoulders back and down. From this position, get in touch with your breath. Take 5-7 breaths, inhaling and exhaling from the nostrils, with a longer exhale. Once you’ve established a steady breathing pattern, take an inhale into the next pose.

What This Pose Accomplishes: Mountain Pose is a pose of strength and connection which improves your posture and can alleviate back pain over time.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Feeling a connection to the ground is an often overlooked, but important, aspect of the golf swing. This pose helps you feel the ground underneath you, which is something you want to try to do on the golf course, even with soft spikes on. Improving posture is another benefit, which is vital to maintaining your angles on the backswing and into the transition.

  1. Upward Salute (Urdhva Hastasana)

     As you stand in Mountain Pose, inhale and swing your arms up from your sides until your arms are in line with your shoulders. Hold for a breath or two before exhaling into the next pose.

What This Pose Accomplishes:

     Lengthens and expands the ribs and chest, as well as helps properly align the spinal column.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Many of us spend our working days sitting in a desk at a computer for most of the week, which can do a number on your thoracic spine and your chest. By extending overhead, you increase a range of motion and improve your overall posture, much like Mountain Pose.

  1. Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana)

As you exhale, keep your arms extended and swing away as you fold from your hips as far as you can. The key is to maintain a strong engagement of your legs, hips, and glutes. Don’t worry about being able to touch your toes; if you can’t make it there, rest your hands on your knees or on a yoga block for a breath.

yoga stretches for golfers Forward bend

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Strengths the glutes and lower body while lengthening the hip flexors and lower back muscles.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Lower-body strength is another overlooked aspect of a solid golf swing. Maintaining a solid base is key to being able to consistently repeat your swing, and this pose really engages the lower body.

  1. Half-Standing Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana)

On the next inhale, slide your hands up to your shins and straighten your upper body until it’s parallel to the ground.

Half standing forward bend with blocks

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Stretches out the abdominals while strengthening posture, both crucial to improving posture.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Another posture-building pose that will help you maintain your spine angle on the backswing and downswing.

  1. High Lunge

From the Half Standing Forward Bend, lower your hands back to the ground and exhale as you drop your left foot back into a lunge. The key to this pose is to keep your hips level to the ground and really extend your left leg while keeping your balance. Also, it’s very important to not let your knee bend past your ankle.

Lunge, or sometimes known as a kneeling pose in yoga

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Develops strength in your right leg while lengthening the left glute, hamstring, and calf. Also improves balance and stretches the hips.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

On top of having a strong lower body, you also want those muscles to be long and responsive instead of tight and static. Ever feel like you can’t hold your finish or even finish your follow-through? It’s likely due to tight muscles in the lower body, which this pose will help alleviate.

  1. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Place your hands back on the floor and move your right leg back with your left. From there, feel as if your hips are being pulled up and back by someone as your body is formed in an inverted-V. Don’t focus on getting your feet to touch the floor; this is about releasing tension in the hips and elongating the spine.

Downward dog is a popular pose when beginning yoga for golfers

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Arguably the most beneficial pose you’ll do in yoga. Engages your body from the ankles to the shoulders, taking all the compression out of the lower back.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

In order to play your best golf, your body needs to be in harmony from head to toe, and few poses will have you feeling more in-synch than downward facing dog.

  1. Plank Pose

Gently lower your hips down and your arms will move under your shoulders for plank pose. The key to this pose is to form a straight line from the top of your head to your ankles. To achieve this, pull your shoulders down and away from your ears, externally rotate your arms and tighten your tummy. Hold for a breath and lower slowly to the ground for the next pose. If a full plank is too difficult, kneeling plank works well too.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQuwL9CB7f2/?taken-by=yogaforgolf

 

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Engages almost every muscle in your body and activates your core.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Having a strong core is imperative for generating power in the golf swing, and the ability to hold a plank pose for a minute or more can really improve your pillar strength. The straight arm plank is best, but a plank from knees is okay when beginning yoga for golfers

  1. Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana)

Lower yourself to the ground slowly by bending your elbows. Once you’re on the ground, place the top of your feet on the mat and raise your upper body while keeping your lower body on the ground.

Picture of Upward facing dog which is great yoga for golfers pose

What This Pose Accomplishes:

Lengthens and loosens the back muscles while engaging the lower body.

How This Helps Your Golf Swing:

Having a mobile upper back helps you make a full turn back and through. This pose also helps prevent injuries sustained from lack of mobility.

  1. Downward Facing Dog, then repeat from High Lunge.

Lay flat on the ground again, and push your hips back up into downward facing dog. After a breath or two, lift your left leg up, then bend and swing it up to your hands. If this seems like too much to coordinate, you can kneel on the ground and bring your left knee forward. Once it’s in place, lift yourself back up into a lunge, and repeat the steps until you are in downward facing dog the second time again. From there you can walk your feet up to your hands into a forward bend, slowly raise your back one vertebrae at a time, and you’re done!

Conclusion

When you complete this sequence, you should feel loose, a little sweaty, and energized. You can even do a sun salutation on a driving range session! And don’t worry about any awkward stares from your group or other players. If this yoga for golfers post helps you play your best golf, you’ll see that yoga and golf can go hand-in-hand.

Namaste

Share.

About Author

Howard’s Golf helps noobs, weekend warriors, and average joes lower their handicap. There’s a lot of information out there about golf. We’re here to discuss it.

Leave A Reply

10 − 5 =