A Golfers Introduction to Yoga

In addition to physical postures, yoga also consists of breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, meditation, and dietary advice. The word “yoga” means “union”, referring to the union of body and mind. Thus, the objective of this practice leads to extreme levels of physical and mental health.

Similarities

They both require the use of mind and body

Golf is a sport that requires just as much mentally as it does physically from athletes. It’s a matter of strategy, analysis, shot selection, confidence, and the ability to stay focused. With that being said it also requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, power, and generation of swing speed. Yoga is able to blend stretching and physically challenging poses that help to build strength and balance throughout your body. Yoga does this while helping you to control your breathing, relax, and develop the focus and concentration that is important for golfers.

 A practice that favors silence

Silence is part of the game of golf game. There is a respect and level of class that comes with this beautiful game. There are people employed to hold signs that say, “quiet please” to on looking spectators. This is because golf is a sport that requires extreme levels of concentration to allow players to completely focus on each shot without worrying about outside stimuli.

In yoga, the practice itself is in search of silence, in postures, breathing exercises, withdrawal of sense, concentration and meditation. We remain attentive to both exterior and interior silence. Yoga teaches you to focus completely on the practice and to disregard outside distractions.

Passion

Golf and yoga both evoke an extreme sense of passion to those who participate. Athletes who participate in these disciplines, become interested on extremely intense levels. Yoga, because of the vastness of it’s teachings, is actually a dubbed an activity of philosophy of life. I’m sure most golfers could also attest to golf being a philosophy of life and in turn translate a lot of golf’s lessons into applicable real world lessons. For example, golf teaches qualities such as patience, problem solving, persistence, focus, vision, etc.

Lifelong Sport/Activity

Another advantage of golf as of yoga is that you can practice whatever your age. In golf, a child can begin to learn from 4 years old and continuing playing into their 80’s. Yoga in the other hand is increasingly being offered to children at school in the form of small relaxations in extracurricular activities and can be practiced well into your later years of life. People of a variety of ages can practice yoga to explore its many facets (body, emotion, mind and spirit).

Having looked at the similarities, enlisted below are some concrete reasons that justify why Yoga is equally important for golfers at all levels:

Flexibility

Swing experience shows that flexibility is a big factor important for golfers. The technique of yoga is well suited for rapid progress in a golfer’s flexibility. It maintains the amplitude of the movements and muscles regularly.

Power

To guarantee a certain power, strong support and good health of all the anatomy of the golfer, you have to focus on developing the muscles involved in the swing, Yoga helps in efficient movements that develop strength in a variety of muscle groups to maximize power.

Balance

Yoga offers very practical solutions to promote postural balance through poses or “asanas.” It goes without saying how important balance is to a golfers swing and overall game. Yoga will optimize you body’s balance, which in turn translates to a smoother, more fluent, and consistent swing. The balance of the body and mind that yoga focuses on increases concentration while simultaneously decreasing stress.

 Asymmetric 

You swing in one direction and on one side, depending on whether you are a righty or lefty, creating an imbalance in the body. This strengthens muscles in the upper body on the dominant side rather than the other thus accentuating the imbalance effects. A symmetrical golf movement will be more accurate and produce less tension in the body. The first rule of Yoga is to work in a balanced way that strengthens the weak side and increases the flexibility of the strong side resulting in equilibrium.

Alignment

To play the vast majority of shots, a player needs to have good alignment, which is not truly natural. A faulty alignment will force the player to “make adjustments” during his swing which will make the ball more irregular in its contact or direction. There is need to align the body to create a more fluid swing. Yoga focuses on precise alignment of muscles, bones and joints.

Visualization

Good visualization is an important parameter for golfers since the game largely depends on proper observations. When putting, it is paramount that a golfer relaxes his eyes and focuses on the ball and their stroke. Golfers have to relax and take time to envision their shot; yoga can help with this. In this sense, yoga allows golfers awareness and a relaxation that will extend throughout the body. Thus, further helping golfers to relax and focus on visualizing the shot at hand. Yoga offers many approaches to visualization, positive and creative, progressively to refine its own approach to help golfers imagine and guide images towards their goals.

Concentration

By considering the time spent on a course, a golfer spends plenty of his/her time playing golf in their head. During this latency period, there are many thoughts that may distract players resulting in an inability to concentrate and perform cool under pressure. Golf requires precision and attention and there is much need to maintain thought fixated in one direction. Yoga, through the practice of Dharana, helps golfers maintain and focus on a single thought. It is practiced at different levels, both in maintaining a posture, and controlling the breath or the mind.

Letting go

In golf, unlike other sports, the ball is stationary and one has time to “Think” before striking: the conscious then takes over the subconscious. Yoga offers many ways of favoring letting go: techniques promote calm inner breathing; visualization is conducive to erase negative thoughts, improve concentration capacity and preserve competitiveness.

 Relieves stress

Golf pros, like many other athletes, are faced with levels of stress and high pressure. Since stress is often a big factor in depression, part of yoga’s effectiveness comes from its proven ability to release tension and lower cortisol levels, the hormone that is responsible for stress. This is brought about by a state of physiological relaxation, which enables the body cells to take a break. For golfers, considering the paramount amount of pressure associated with game, this is important.

Perfect energy

The “swing” is a movement that mobilizes enormous energy, “the physical impact that this movement can have on the body.” To be perfectly executed, this movement requires large amplitude and a certain relaxation, paradoxically because a successful swing must not be executed with just strength. Yoga offers the relaxation required to execute more consistent and balanced swings.

How Yoga Helps To Optimize Your Golf Game

When golfers hit the ball, they are “in the zone” where the mind is suspended and the concentration is increased. Many golfers invariably introduce the pressure element and the area disappears. Their conscious, analyzing mind intervenes and they start thinking thoughts like their technique may be faulty. They say they have to practice more to tinker with their swing and correct their imperfections. The action includes not only the gesture but also the feeling of movement in the body, breathing and air circulation. The practice of yoga makes a golfer very sensitive and aware of his/her body.

To achieve optimum performance for the game, it is essential to have a powerful, stable, flexible and fluid body. The flexibility and fluidity are often the most difficult features achieve, yet they are essential for access to power and stability. The lack of fluidity in motion will result in a loss of energy. Yoga offers both.

The release of the subconscious is contingent on the body’s ability to relax. When you are in a deep state of relaxation, you are able to experience “now” and your mind becomes clear. You know how to react or how not to react. You are able to approach your golf game with your conscience and complete concentration.

The vast majority of golfers around the world suffer from lower back pains – for a simple reason: the spine undergoes 3 different movements simultaneously: side, front to back and rotation. If the player has not sufficiently strengthened the spine, tensions and blockages will focus in the sacral region and lumbar 5, which is the least mobile of our column region. A selection of Mag yoga can be effectively used to increase flexibility. Each yoga posture can be performed according to a person’s own need to help relieve certain conditions such as back injuries or fatigue or combine these yoga postures to create a golf exercise program that will enhance flexibility in all areas of the body. These postures are intended to strengthen the spine and lower back areas that are critical to a golfer’s swing.

Golf is one of the most complex sports because of the constant effort between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. The first analysis, which alerts and streamlines the brain promotes intuition and long-term memory. Position and swing are consciously learned (conscious mind), but their memory depends on the subconscious mind. When the golfer improves his movement and hits the ball correctly, it is in the subconscious. He owns the movement. His thoughts are suspended, concentration and intuition at their peak. It is when he falls back into the conscious that the player hesitates and his swing loses its fluidity. Obviously before reaching a powerful, smooth and natural swing, practice and concentration must be required. However the practice and experience should gradually give way to long-term memory, the intuitive action and the subconscious instinct.

The integration of yoga in golf will help develop mental discipline and success. No matter the outcome, golfers should learn to play without being attached to the results; this type of awareness puts the golfer in a state of relaxation, reduces stress and physical tension that is characteristic of big golf tournaments. This state of relaxation allows the golfer to stay focused and completely present throughout the game.

Role of Yoga in physical game

The prerequisite for an improved game and movement remains a well prepared and fit body. A swing intensely works the lumbar vertebrae, which creates tension; tension intensifies due to frequent muscle weakness in the abdominal and lower back. It is no surprise then that the pains on the lower back are very common. Furthermore, the swing asymmetry creates an imbalance in the body level. Certain muscles tone asymmetrically: on one side, they will be soft and powerful and on the other side and stretched and weak. This limits the scope, fluidity and power of movement.

Conclusion

The practice of yoga is proving to be the perfect remedy to this “professional deformation”. Yoga seeks the body as a whole, promotes toning of all muscles and corrects alignment. Staying longer in the positions, the golfer tones muscles and stretches the neglected side, alleviating tension on the other side. Yoga corrects the asymmetry of the body. Moreover, the awareness level of the body, another quasi-natural effect of Yoga facilitates the work on the swing. Being fully aware of the movement, a clear understanding of the process, the golfer is “equipped” to perfect his swing. Regular practice of yoga not only develops a flexible, powerful and aligned body but also a calm state of mind that is focused and detached. The stress factor is eliminated: the golfer can leave his subconscious and guide the movement towards an intuitive, flexible and perfect swing. It’s therefore recommended for golfers to adopt yoga as a complementary approach to their training. This is due to the ability of Yoga to improve their performance as much in their physical as with their mental well-being.