Katherine Roberts loves to get golfers on yoga mats. She's the author of Yoga for Golfers (McGraw-Hill, 2004) and a columnist for GolfChannel.com. The ?rst thing she notes is how much the two activities have in common. Both require strength, flexibility, balance, a steady mind, and even steadier breathing. Each teaches you to live in the moment, and yoga may even improve your golf game.
"Most golfers have rounded shoulders and inflexible back muscles, so they can't get full rotation on their swing," Roberts says. Poses like the modified cobra help you build strength in your lower back and thoracic spine and create openness in your chest. "Once your spine is in the correct position, you need less energy to rotate." Deep Ujjayi breathing, she adds, can help you relax on the green and concentrate more easily. So can balancing postures like Tree Pose and Warrior III. "I place a golf ball in front of my students' mats and ask them to stay fully focused on that as they go from the left side to the right side of Tree Pose," she says.
Although you may not see them stretching through a Downward Dog on the tee, a few pro golfers, like Gary McCord and Julie Inkster, practice yoga. And if Roberts has anything to do with it, we'll all be practicing yoga and playing golf.
Visit yogajournal.com/extra for more information about yoga, golf, and Katherine Roberts.
Mary Bolster is the Executive Editor of Yoga Journal magazine.