As a former NCAA Division I varsity golfer, I remember getting lectured on how weight lifting and strength training was the best way to gain power and length on the golf course. I never really bought into this ideology because of my relationship with yoga and the benefits I received through practicing for years.
Golf and yoga are very much alike in the way that they both teach you a lot about life and yourself. My golf game would not have been what it was in college if I hadn’t had a solid foundation of yoga in my life. Not only did yoga give me an edge mentally but also gave me the flexibility and length to be successful in a competitive field.
Both of my hobbies have now switched roles as I have become a yoga instructor and golf strictly recreationally. Now I understand why yoga helped me the way it did and I hope that sharing these tips help you as well!
This is the single most helpful tip I can share about being successful in high pressure, intense moments on and off the golf course. In yoga, we have “Ujjai” (oo-ja-yee) breath meaning “in through the nose and out through the nose”. Tap into your deepest breath typically 4-5 count inhale and 6-10 count exhale to get into your deepest focus.
There really is never a time in a yoga class where you aren’t working your core. Going through sun salutations (pictured below) with the thought of pulling your belly to your spine will really activate your abdominal muscles and give your golf game an extra boost of strength and power.
Yoga involves twisting, forward/backward folds and stretches in order to get rid of toxins and negativity in the body and mind. This is so helpful for golf because it allows for more rotation and turn in your swing.
How are you sitting right now in this moment? Roll your shoulders away from your ears and down your back. What is your belly doing?—Pull it up and in. Open up your chest and lengthen the crown of your head to the ceiling. Yoga makes you taller! There were so many times when I would start to see sloppy golf shots on the range or the course and realize I had gotten complacent with my posture and my golf game followed suit.
Positivity is key in yoga and golf. There is never a time in yoga where you doubt yourself or criticize yourself for not being able to get into a difficult pose. Yoga is a journey where you allow your inner teacher to keep you trying new poses and learning from the people around you. This “inner teacher” is the key to keeping your mind from getting into that negative rut that happens so often on the course. Keep it light and keep moving forward!