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Professional golfers often speak about the significant role that the mind plays in being successful on the course. Because of this, it makes sense that a mind-body practice like yoga would be great for golfers.
However, if you need more convincing that yoga can improve your game, read on to learn about some of the greatest benefits of yoga for golfers.
The more strength you can build as a golfer, the greater amount of force you’ll be able to exert when swinging the club. Many golfers neglect resistance training or only do it sparingly, but yoga can be a great option for improving strength without needing access to a gym or a lot of equipment — all you need is your own bodyweight.
Some people might be skeptical about yoga’s ability to improve muscle strength, but research shows that yoga — specifically sequences like sun salutations — can provide significant increases in strength when done on a regular basis.
Yoga is also great for improving your muscle and cardiovascular endurance. Endurance is essential for helping you maintain a high level of performance for an extended period of time, whether you’re playing in a long tournament or just want to keep your energy up through an entire round of golf.
There are a couple ways that yoga improves your endurance. As far as muscular endurance goes, yoga utilizes a lot of isometric exercises (holding on position for a period of time). As for cardiovascular endurance, advanced yoga classes tend to move quickly. This keeps your heart rate elevated and improves your heart and lung capacity.
Better Flexibility and Mobility
Many athletes, including golfers, have a tendency to underestimate the importance of flexibility and mobility. But, being able to move your joints through a full range of motion (and feel strong and competent while doing so) is essential for performing your best and preventing injuries.
Yoga is a great option for improving flexibility and mobility to keep injuries at bay. It can also be used therapeutically to help you recover from existing injuries. Whether you’ve got an injured shoulder or are managing a golfer’s elbow injury, yoga can be a big help.
Better Balance and Stability
Thanks to the number of one-legged and arm-balancing poses that comprise most classes, yoga is also great for improving your stability and balance. This, in turn, helps you maintain your center of gravity while you swing, which can help you exert a greater amount of force without giving in to variables like wind or uneven ground.
Finally, yoga is great for improving your ability to concentrate and focus. Whether you’ve only played a few rounds of golf in your life or a few thousand, you know how important concentration and focus are to a successful game.
Many people find that the still, silent portions of a yoga class (especially savasana, the final resting posture) are some of the most difficult. If you can conquer those and find a way to keep your mind quiet, you’ll be able to transfer that same skill onto the course. This, in turn, may yield a better game (or at least help you keep your temper in check when things don’t go your way).
Things to Know Before Your First Yoga Class
If you’re convinced that yoga might be good for you, there are a few more things you should know before you head to your first yoga class:
- Pay attention to the class schedule and choose one that fits your skill level — going to an advanced class when you’re brand new to yoga will just leaving you feeling frustrated and confused
- Talk to the instructor and let them know it’s your first time so they can give you extra attention and help you maintain proper alignment
- Don’t compete with the person next to you — focus on yourself and the improvements that you personally need to make
- Pay attention to how your body feels in different positions; this will help you know what muscle imbalances you need to address
Keeping these tips in mind will help you make the most of your class and enjoy the benefits without feeling frustrated or overwhelmed.