Psyched Online

Yoga and Golf

With Paul Schienberg, PhD

AN EXPERIENCE AT THE DRIVING RANGE ENLIGHTENED ME. I KEPT HITTING THE BALL OFF TO THE LEFT. I AM A LEFT HANDED GOLFER. AN INSTRUCTOR STANDING TO ME ASKED ME IF I WANTED TO KNOW WHAT I WAS DOING WRONG. I SAID, “SURE.” HE TOLD ME, YOU ARE NOT SWINGING THROUGH WITH YOUR HIPS, BACK FRONT SHOULDER. I THOUGHT I WAS, BUT WHEN HE PHYSICALLY SHOWED ME WHAT I WAS DOING I REALIZED I WASN’T . AFTER PHYSICALLY MOVING MY BODY IN THE CORRECT WAY I STARTED HITTING THE BALL STRAIGHT. HE ASKED ME, “DO YOU PRACTICE YOGA.” “NO.” I SAID. HE SAID, “GO TO SOME CLASSES, YOUR OWN MAT AND DO SOME OF THE POSES REGULARLY. YOU ARE SO TIGHT.”

BREATHING AND YOGA

THE BREATHING YOU LEARN IN YOGA HELPS YOU RELAX, AND THE STRENGTH AND BALANCE YOU GAIN IMPOROVES YOUR SWING.

YOGA ALSO RELEASES TENSION IN THE LOWER BACK, NECK, SHOULDERS, HIPS AND GROIN AREAS THAT CAN BE TIGHT FOR YEARS.

BREATHING IS THE FIRST AND FOREMOST THING IN GOLF AS IN YOGA.

DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU BREATHE DURING YOUR GOLF SWING?

MOST PEOPLE DON’T KNOW IF OR WHEN THEY’RE BREATHING.

WHEN YOU HOLD YOUR BREATH, WHENEVER YOU UNDER STRESS (STANDING ON THE FIRST TEE OR OVER A DIFFICULT PUT), YOUR HEART ACCELERATES.

AN ACCELERATED HEART CAUSES TENSION IN THE MUSCLES AND AN INABILITY TO CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS AND YOUR MENTAL FOCUS AND LEARN DIAPHRAMATIC BREATHE.

THE SWING AND YOGA

THE SWING ITSELF IS AN EXPLOSIVE MOVEMENT FROM A STATIC POSITION, TAKING PLACE IN LESS THAN TWO SECONDS.

FORCE AND COMPRESSION ON THE SPINE OFTEN CREATES AN AWKWARD ROTATON.

EVERY MUSCLE AND JOINT IS WORKING ON THE GOLF SWING AND THUS THERE’S LOTS OF INJURIES.

POSES FOR GOLFERS

A MODIFIED COBRA POSE.

THE MOST COMMON INJURY IS IN THE LOWER BACK – 63 PERCENT OF GOLFERS PLAY WITH AN INJURED LOWER BACK.

LY ON YOUR BELLY WITH YOUR PALMS NEXT TO YOUR CHEST, FINGERS FACING FORWARD, ELBOWS HUGGING THE
SIDES OF YOUR BODY LIKE A CRICKET AND LIFTING THE CHEST SLIGHTLY.

START TO BUILD STRENGTH IN THE LOWER BACK, FLEXIBILITY IN THE THORACIC SPINE OPENING THE CHEST.

A ROUNDED SHOULD AND INFLEXIBILITY IN THE MUSCLES IN THE BACK WON’T GET A FULL ROTATION, AND YOU WILL BE UNABLE TO MAINTAIN THE PROPER ANGLE IN THE SPINE THROUGH THE GOLF SWING. THE SPINE IN THE CORRECT POSITION NEEDS THE LEAST AMOUNT OF ENERGY TO ROTATE.

II. I LIKE THE ALLIGATOR TWIST, IN WHICH YOU LIE ON YOUR BACK, ARMS PERPENDICULAR TO YOU BODY, PALMS UP. PLACE YOUR RIGHT FOOT JUST ABOVE THE LEFT KNEE AND TWIST THE LOWER BODY TO THE LEFT WHILE KEEPING THE RIGHT SHOULDER DOWN.

III.DOWNWARD FACING DOG IS A VERY GOOD POSE.” TARGETS FROM THE FEET UP, FLEXIBILITY IN THE FEET THE ACHILLES TENDON, CALVES, HAMSTRINGS, HIPS, LOWER BACK, MID BACK, SHOULDERS, ARMS AND WRISTS.

THIS POSE PROMOTOES FLEXIBILITY IN THE HAMSTRINGS (MOST GOLFERS HAVE TIGHT HAMSTRINGS) .

THEY CORRELATE TO THE HEALTH OF YOUR LOWER BACK AND THEY HELP SUPPORT YOUR KNEE FLEXION WHEN IN AN UNSTABLE LIE, WHEN YOUR FEET NOT LEVEL.

IT PROMOTES STRENGTH IN THE SHOULDERS, THE ARMS FOR DISTANCE OFF THE TEE.
FLEXIBILITY IN THE HANDS AND WRISTS IS CRITICAL. THEY ARE YOUR ONLY CONNECTION TO THE CLUB. INJURY

AMONG HANDS AND WRITS IS THE NUMBER THREE INJURY AMONG GOLFERS.

IV.TREE POSE. PUT A GOLF BALL ABOUT THREE FEET IN FRONT OF THEIR MAT. GO FROM LEFT SIDE TO RIGHT SIDE. IT HELPS WITH BALANCE AND FOCUS. TRAINS TO KEEP FOCUS ON THE PRESENT.

Maxine Roberts, “Yoga for Golfer”, (McGraw-Hill, 2004). She is a columnist for GolfChannel.com, and a yoga teacher.