Yoga is an excellent form of exercise that complements many activities and helps establish balance and harmony when life gets chaotic. It’s also a perfect activity to help us become better golfers.
During my last yoga lesson, I discovered that one of my instructors grew up with the game. Like me, she believes that yoga is one of the best ways to prepare mentally and physically for golf. With her help, we created a yoga routine that complements your pre-round warm up. All of these poses warm and strengthen the body, open the upper back, hamstrings, and your quads.
Here is a quick, ten-minute yoga routine that will help prepare yourself mentally and physically for your next round.
Don’t worry if you’ve never struck a yoga pose in your life, and please don’t think you have to be flexible to do yoga. Just start slowly and adapt the poses to your comfort level. There’s no shame in using a chair or a wall for help with balance or to only hold half the pose. Listen to your body, take it slow, and only do what feels right.
First, find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted for a few minutes that has enough room for you to stand and lie down with your arms fully extended. Make sure you’re wearing comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing. A yoga mat is great but not necessary. Just be sure you’re in a comfortable spot where you won’t slip.
You’ll begin laying flat on your back with your arms falling naturally at your sides and your legs outstretched. Use this time to clear your thoughts and disconnect from your day to reconnect with your body. Begin with 60 seconds of deep breathing, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Focus on your breath and how it feels in the body. Set an intention for your round. When you’re ready, take in a breath and move into the next pose on your out breath.
Still lying down, lift your knees to place your feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart. In this pose, you will tilt your pelvis to warm up your spine and work out all the tightness gathered in your lower back. Gently press your back against the floor and tilt your pelvis up. Hold this pose as you take your next breath and let go on your out breath. You shouldn’t physically rise from the mat. Instead, you should simply shift your pelvis back and forth with your weight gently resting on your upper back. Repeat ten times and on your next out breath, move into the next pose.
Still lying down, get your hamstrings ready for walking the course by extending your legs in the air, knees bent or straight depending on your comfort level. You can do this one leg at a time or simultaneously. Slowly, stretch out your legs with this pose, being sure to keep your back flat and pelvis neutral. Try five lifts on each leg, and on your next out breath, return your feet to the floor.