By Ann-Kristin Allen | Photography by Kelsey Grudle
Most often people think of yoga as someone doing seemingly impossible and weirdly twisted exercises while chanting and burning incense. This might come from images of ancient ashrams and traditional yoga practices. Over 5000 years old and originated in India, yoga has quickly become one of the fastest growing movements in fitness. The meaning of the word yoga is most often described as “union” and said to be for the purpose of uniting the body and the mind. In the 1980s, yoga became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world and adapted to fit the modern lifestyle.
Yoga is a constant training of your body, utilizing the force of gravity against your own body weight and creating weight bearing, strength building exercises and flexibility, which in return help the body move easily through the full range of motion. Breathing awareness and use of the breath are the fundamental practices of yoga. Proper breathing improves the quality of the poses by increasing the blood flow to the muscles, body temperature and improving endurance. Golf, on the other hand, is often thought of as a game of technical skills while it is also an athletic sport. Golfers are required to train their bodies just as an athlete in other sports to improve their skills and the prevention of injuries. In addition, a golfer is constantly challenged by the requirements on the body and mind.
At The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch, as certified Yoga for Golfers instructor, I am teaching a unique and proprietary yoga methodology called Yoga for Golfers, developed by Katherine Roberts. This methodology fuses Western biomechanical science with Eastern mind/body conditioning and applies it to every dimension of the golf swing to drive improvement in performance, from the first tee to the last putt. The uniqueness of golf, from other sports, is the ever-changing conditions. The temperature, wind, course conditions and noises are all factors. Being mindful and staying in the present is what Yoga for Golfers teaches, a skill needed to play your best golf and encounter various conditions. Yoga for Golfers focuses on achieving body symmetry, balance, alignment through the swing to increase power, as well as enhancing flexibility and core development to improve mobility, strength, power and endurance. The program’s emphasis on breathing awareness to quiet the mind is taught to achieve focus and relaxation between shots. There is a direct correlation on proper breathing and releasing tension of the golf swing to improve rhythm and tempo.
As we graciously go through the aging process and become more sedentary, the first to go is our flexibility. With reduced flexibility we might experience a “balance challenge.” Without adequate balance, your golf game is a “challenge” as you set up to the ball. Good posture is essential for all yoga poses and an efficient golf swing. A poor posture can lead to pain and injuries when it is not addressed.
I encourage everyone to learn more about Yoga for Golfers.
Ann-Kristin Allen is a TPI Certified Fitness Professional Level 3 and a Certified Yoga for Golfers Level 2. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 210.367.5942.
Yoga and golf are both conducted in three plane motions. During the golf swing, the trunk and/or spine moves along these three planes of motion at the same time. The three planes are sagittal, frontal and transverse.
Sagittal plane is the forward and backward bending of the body. In golf, we bend forward at the address position and bend slightly back during the follow through.
Frontal plane is the lateral side bending of the body. In the backswing we bend left at the top of the backswing (for right handers) and bend slightly right at impact and to the finish.
Transverse plane is the rotation of the body. During the backswing we rotate right and left through the follow-through (for right handers).