It used to be that yoga was an alternative exercise for those looking for a more spiritual, soothing, or mental workout. Though that is still the case, yoga is now the exercise of choice for many athletes who want to improve performance and lengthen their careers. Golfers are no different, with many practicing a variety of poses that will keep them on the links and strengthen their games. Here, Gwen Lawrence of Power Yoga For Sports demonstrates seven different poses that will help you build muscle, increase energy, and maybe even take a few strokes off your game.
This pose is a great way to strengthen your core without yanking your neck or overstretching and compromising your back. It helps keep your torso long in the front of your spine, which promotes greater lung capacity and provides oxygenation of the muscles for endurance on the course. If your core is strong, you will stand and perfom upright for longer periods of time. This pose will help you attain greater — and safer — twist and torque in your swing.
Seated Easy Crossed Leg Twist
This is more of a move than a pose. It helps prevent a collapse of your spine which inhibits your swing. While sitting in this position, twist slowly to the left and then back to the right, breathing in sync with the movement. Do this for two to three minutes prior to your round or your training routine. It is a great way to warm up and tune into the rotation in your spine.
This exercise not only stretches your legs and back, but helps you learn your body’s weaknesses, imbalances, or misalignments. It’s a basic yoga pose that helps the golfer get into the daily habit of assessing his or her body to eliminate potential inuries before they occur on the 17th hole.
This pose is the perfect blend of balance, strength, and flexibility. It opens up the groin, inner thigh, hip flexors, quadriceps, and stretches the Achilles tendons and bottoms of the feet. When your feet and toes are flexible, it promotes a complete follow-through in your swing. Having your legs and hips more open also helps you maintain balance and hold your posture.
This back-bending pose is critical in stretching the posterior spine. Many daily activities, especially sitting at a desk or even in a car, add to slouching. Bad posture cramps your golf swing, too, so it’s important to be able to stretch the front of your spine and open up your tight, inflexible back. It is important for golfers to be constantly concerned with flexion, extension, and rotation of the back to avoid potential injury.
Happy Cow Arms
This pose may have a funny name, but it will really help your game. It opens up the front of your shoulder, an area that can be particularly vulnerable to injury if not properly stretched. Happy Cow Arms also builds greater lung capacity, sends more oxygen to your muscles, and gives you more stamina. On those hot summer days, you’ll still be going strong while the rest of your foursome is huffing and puffing.
The inverted table does great things for golfers. The pose opens the wrists, stretches the forearms, strengthens the spine, builds powerful hamstrings, and opens the front of the neck. Strong wrists and forearms improve your grip and give you better control of the club, not to mention eliminating fatigue and cramping. Open hamstrings reduce strain on your back while releasing the front of your neck gives you more flexibility and helps relax your swing.