If you’ve been around the game of golf long enough, you’ve probably heard of players that do yoga. Your buddies say it’s good for their game but, you’re just not quite buying it. As far as your concerned, yoga is for younger people with the flexibility of a rubber band. And that certainly isn’t you. You’re fine with doing some stretches and getting your heart rate up on a regular basis…
Then one day it happens. Someone convinces you to give yoga a shot. You reluctantly agree to give it a go. Next thing you know, you’re walking into a yoga studio where everyone looks like they know what they’re doing. They’re all spread out on their mats warming up and you feel like a fish out of water. I’ve been there and it’s intimidating. It took me a while to get over my initial fears but, yoga’s benefits have been remarkable for my golf game and overall health. If you’ve never tried, I highly recommend giving it a go.
Top 5 Best Yoga DVD’s for Golfers
The Benefits of Yoga for Golfers
Even though golf is a relatively low-impact sport, golfers are still prone to a host of injuries. Just ask Fred Couples who suffers from chronic back pain. Or Tiger, whose list of ailments and surgeries is the length of his arm. Bottom line, the golf swing is an unnatural motion for the body. If you don’t take preventative steps, you’re going to suffer an ailment or two as well.
There might not be a better form of injury prevention for golfers than yoga. When you practice yoga, you strengthen all the parts of the body that are prone to injury for golfers. Holding poses for extended periods of time works your core, legs, shoulders, lower back and arms.
Increased Strength and Flexibility
The number one complaint for golfers as they grow older is that they don’t hit it as far as they used to. It’s true. Once you reach a certain point, you start losing distance which is a result of decreasing clubhead speed, flexibility and strength.
The good news is that yoga can do wonders in slowing the inevitable decline of age. As mentioned above, practicing yoga on a regular basis strengthens the golf muscles in your core, back, arms and legs.
Another benefit of yoga is increased flexibility. Remember those days when your shoulder turn was full? When you could boom it out there with the best of them? When you practice yoga, you’re going to put your body in lots of positions that lengthen your spine and stretch your extremities. If you add yoga to your regular stretching routine, you’ll feel limber and loose. The results are sure to show up in your golf game.
The ailments golfers suffer can be painful. Often, to the point that you can’t play. If you suffer from chronic pain, yoga is a great remedy. Yoga is proven to alleviate symptoms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, low back pain, or any number of other chronic conditions.
Chronic pain is proven to be a trigger depression, anxiety and fear. The practice of yoga works to trigger the opposites. Through breathing, mindfulness, and attention to the present moment, the brain develops neuropathways that act as coping mechanisms for chronic pain. In short, when you practice yoga on a regular basis, you’re training your body as much as your mind. Eventually, you’ll alleviate the pain you’re suffering.
Enhanced Mental Focus
There are plenty of distractions in the world. They become magnified on the golf course. Your partner’s shadow when you’re putting. The guy mowing his lawn next to the tee box. Your own mind thinking about the shot in front of you… When you’re playing golf, focusing on the task at hand is challenging at best.
Practicing yoga challenges you to stay in the present. The key is recognizing that there is no such thing as good or bad in yoga. If your mind wanders, that’s alright. With enough practice, you’ll find it easier and easier to be present. Before you know it, this habit will show up on the golf course and in your daily life.
Best Yoga Poses for Golfers
How to do it:
Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be directly under your shoulder and your knees under your hips.
As you spread your hands, press through your outer fingertips into the floor.
Move your shoulder blades away from your spine.
Press your thighs toward the ceiling and come up off your knees.
Lengthen your head and spine.
Hold the pose for as long is comfortable. You should feel your legs, core, shoulders and arms engaging to keep your sternum off the ground.
Why do it:
The benefits of practicing plank pose are numerous. Most noticeably, it strengthens your core. I know, we keep talking about the core but, it really is that important for your golf game. When you practice plank pose, you’re engaging every core muscle imaginable.
Could you stand to lose a little weight and increase rotation in your golf swing? Plank pose is your new best friend. When you stay in plank pose for an extended period of time (more than 30 seconds), you boost your heart rate which in turn, burns calories.
What about that back pain you suffer when it’s less than 60 degrees outside? I know I feel it. Since I started practicing plank pose however, my back pain is much subsided. Plank pose strengthens the muscles in the lower back and provides increased stability that allows you to swing freely and repeatedly without worry.
How to do it:
Standing with your feet together and hands by your sides, bend forward from your hips. You should feel like you’re lengthening your torso.
As you bend, let the crown of your head hang.
Extend your arms toward the floor as far they’ll go. If you’re unable to reach the floor, it’s okay to bend your knees (you can also use yoga blocks under your hands to modify this pose).
From here, engage your quadriceps and draw them up toward the ceiling. You should feel power in the fronts of your legs and a stretch in your hamstrings, back and upper torso.
Hold this pose for as long as you’re comfortable and repeat.
Why do it:
When you drop your head below your heart, it’s called an inversion pose. Inversion poses calm your brain and lower your blood pressure. If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, fatigue or insomnia, forward fold can help alleviate symptoms.
You also benefit physically from this pose. By lengthening your spine, you stretch your hamstrings, calves and lower back. Remember that increased flexibility we talked about? Forward fold is part of that equation.
How to do it:
Start in Downward Dog pose with your arms extended in front and your legs extended behind. Your hands should be shoulder-width and your feet in line with your hips.
Step your right foot forward between your hands.
Bend your right knee to 90 degrees so that your knee is directly over your heel. Now, straighten your left (back) leg completely.
Make sure your hips are square, or even, with the front of the room.
Raise your torso and sweep your arms so that they’re lengthened toward the ceiling over your head. Stay here for a couple of deep breaths.
As you slowly lower, bring the left elbow to the outside of your right thigh.
Pressing your upper left arm against your thigh, turn your chest to the right as far as you can.
Once you’re in this position, you should feel as though your shoulders, hips and core are all in alignment allowing you to remain balanced.
Hold this pose for as long as is comfortable and repeat on the opposite side.
Why do it: :
Crescent Lunge can be a challenging pose. If you feel like you can’t do it on your first attempt, don’t worry, neither could I. However, with enough practice, you’ll get there. This pose is great for toning those core muscles and improving balance. Once you’re able to do this pose and hold it, you’ll notice a dramatic difference with stability and balance in your golf swing.
Half Spinal Twist
How to do it:
To begin this pose, start in a seated position with your legs fully extended in front of you.
Bend your right knee to your chest and place the sole of your foot flat against the floor.
Place your left arm on the outside of your right thigh and twist from your waist. Your upper body should twist toward your right thigh.
Place your right palm behind your right buttock.
Keep your posture upright and your buttock firm against the floor.
Turn your head over your right shoulder and lengthen your torso with each breath.
You should feel a twist and stretch in your waist, hips, lower back and legs.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Why do it:
If there was ever a pose to strengthen your obliques and abs, it’s Half Spinal Twist. With this pose, you also open your hips and shoulders. The lengthening of your spine and chest helps increase flexibility and rotary movement.
What does this mean for your golf swing? More speed, stability and length. Combined, that means more distance and consistent contact.
Sitting Forward Bend
How to do it:
Start by sitting with your buttocks on the floor and your legs extended straight in front of you.
Lifting your right buttock, reach forward with your right hand toward your right foot.
Repeat on the opposite side.
Turn the tops of your thighs inward and press them downward.
Breath, and lengthen your torso.
At this point, your legs should be fully extended and your arms reaching forward as far as they can.
If you’re unable to reach your toes, grab hold of your legs, feeling full extension with your upper body.
Hold this pose as long as you can and repeat.
Why do it:
A constant theme in yoga is awareness of the present. This pose is tremendous for that reason alone. It’s not terribly difficult but, it does force you to notice what’s going on with both your body and mind.
You can’t miss the physical benefits either. In Straight Forward Bend, you stretch your spine, hamstrings and shoulders. Sound good for your golf game? Yep. You’re right.
Additionally, this pose helps with digestion, headaches, menopause, menstrual discomfort, anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, the list goes on.
If you’re only going to do one yoga pose, this by far, the easiest. And, its benefits are untold.
Best Yoga DVD’s for Golfers
Yoga for Beginners Deluxe Set: 8 Yoga Video Routines for Beginners
If you’re new to practicing yoga, this video is a great place to start. Inside you’ll find some basic yoga routines to get you started. The instruction is professional, yet easy to understand. The videos also include simple modifications for each pose if you have a physical limitation. While the routines in this video are targeted for beginners, even the seasoned yogi stands to benefit.
Yoga Boost: Beginner’s Yoga System for Men and Women Who Don’t Normally Do Yoga, With Modifications for the Flexible
If the meditative, spiritual side of yoga isn’t your thing, this yoga DVD is for you. Focusing strictly on physical fitness, you won’t find any gongs, chants or fancy lingo in this DVD. Four workouts are tailored to whatever your specific needs are. Whether it’s reducing low back pain, burning fat or relieving stress, there’s a workout for you.
The best part about each of the workouts is that they’re only 25 minutes. You don’t have to worry about the hassle of getting to the gym, finding space or showing up at a specific time. All you need is some space in your home.
If you want to realize all the benefits of yoga without all the extra fluff, this DVD is perfect.
Gentle Yoga: 7 Beginning Yoga Practices for Mid-life
If you’re middle-aged or older and have never done yoga before, this DVD is worth checking out. Its routines are meant for people between the ages of 40 and 70. You won’t find any extreme poses that require you to twist your body or go upside down. Instead, there are workouts meant to give you more energy in the morning, improve balance, relieve pain, build core strength and relax in the evening.
Even though the DVD is a bit dated, its practices are timeless.
Beachbody 3 Week Yoga Retreat Workout Program
If you want to dive right in, Beachbody 3 Week Yoga Retreat is right up your alley. The three-week course comes with a regimented schedule that will have you practicing yoga with the best of them in no time at all.
The DVD also comes with a nutrition guide to help you shed pounds, build muscle and increase energy.
The pose tracker lets you track your progress from one class to the next and is a great tool to come back to after you’ve finished the series.
In just 21 short days, you’ll go from knowing nothing about yoga to wanting to make it part of your daily routine.
Yoga for Seniors with Jane Adams (2nd Edition)
Remember that lack of distance off the tee everyone complains about? Not to worry. Yoga for Seniors is geared toward those that have lost some strength and mobility due to age. The poses are gentle and low impact. If you have trouble standing for long periods of time, don’t worry. Some of the episodes are done completely while you’re sitting in a chair.
If you’re physically limited in what you’re able to do but, want to find a way to increase strength and flexibility, give Yoga for Seniors a try.
More and more athletes are turning to the practice of yoga to enhance their performance. Sure, there plenty of folks that go to the extreme and make it their life’s work to perfect the craft. But, that doesn’t mean you have to become a yogi to realize all the benefits yoga has to offer.
By incorporating some of the poses mentioned above, and purchasing an in-home yoga program, it won’t take long for the results to show up on the golf course. But that’s only part of the equation. With enough practice, you’ll find yourself sleeping better, in a lot less pain, and having more energy throughout the day.