What exercise is scientifically proven to reduce back pain, lower your blood pressure, and treat depression and anxiety? That’s right: yoga.
And despite the stereotypes surrounding this ancient practice, it’s not just for housewives or religious gurus – yoga for golfers can help improve flexibility, core strength, and range of motion.
Here’s what you need to know if you want to incorporate yoga into your fitness routines to improve your performance on the links:
What Exactly is Yoga?
As a beginner, you probably have an idea of what yoga is, but maybe you aren’t completely sure what defines the activity or what separates it from simply stretching. The Yoga Alliance defines yoga as a “system for well being on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.”
In Western culture, we typically think of yoga as a series of physical stretches and poses.
The thing to remember is that yoga can be done in almost any setting, at any time, by any person. You don’t need to be in a class full of people or take instructions from an expert, to do yoga.
How to learn Yoga
With that said, there is an advantage to taking classes or studying under a teacher. If they know you are specifically interested in yoga for golfers, they’ll be able to guide your movements and watch your posture to ensure you don’t suffer any physical harm. They’ll also encourage you when needed and answer specific questions you may have.
If you are brand new to yoga, it’s best to start off with some easy poses, then move on to the ones that are designed to help your golf game. In some cases, these poses will be the same.
The Best Type of Yoga for Golfers
Remember, if you are new to yoga, it’s best to either get in-person instruction at a class or facility or closely watch tutorial videos online. There are plenty of excellent exercises for golfers and other athletes on YouTube, for example.
Once you’re confident in your abilities, here are three of the top poses to try:
- Downward Facing Dog – This pose is great for stretching your lower back and calming your mind. It’ll also strengthen your arms and shoulders, which are important to maintain an accurate swing.
- Bird Dog – This is another pose that will help you strengthen your core, improve back muscle flexibility, and can even ease your neck pain. It’s a little more advanced than the downward facing dog, so this may be one of the poses you try after you get a few sessions under your belt.
- Inverted Table – The inverted table is all about opening up your spine. It will help you improve your upright posture, which will allow your back to handle the stress it takes from staying straight during and prior to swinging.
There are dozens of other yoga poses that may be able to help you improve your golf game (and your flexibility).
Experiment with others to see which ones fit your tastes, and don’t forget to check out the SwingDish blog for more info on great exercises to help you take your game to the next level.