Yoga is a practice that was founded thousands of years ago. Recently it has become one of the hottest things in the west. Yoga has taken on many meanings including the union of mind and body, connection, focus, and mindfulness.
How yoga can forever change the way you play golf and live your life.
The physical practice of yoga (asana) will transform your mind and body. When practicing physical poses, it will improve strength, flexibility, balance and overall mind/body awareness. Often people think that yoga is all about back bends, head stands and touching your toes. Yes, flexibility is important however it is a small percentage of what yoga is and how it can change the way you play the game of golf and life.
How can yoga change your golf game?
When we practice yoga, it gives you and your body information on what is accessible and sustainable. This is key to our golf swing. If we cannot sustain the movement, it is not repeatable. When students come to my lesson tee, it is important to see what is accessible and sustainable in order for the movement to be repeated. So many of us want to have a “consistent” swing,
When you practice yoga, it gives you and your body information on what is accessible and sustainable. This is key to our own golf swing. If we cannot sustain the movement, it is not repeatable. When students come to my lesson tee, it is important to see what is accessible and sustainable in order for the movement to be repeated. So many of us want to have a “consistent” swing, yet it is virtually impossible to repeat something if it is not accessible. Yoga will help you better understand how your body moves, where your strengths and weaknesses are and how we can build on this. This is essential with our golf swing.
Yoga will improve your mental endurance through mindfulness. Being mindful helps us better understand what our thoughts are as they come up in a round of golf. We cannot turn the mind off, but we can acknowledge the continued thoughts that arise and disrupt our focus during a round. One way to do this is to breathe. Taking deep breaths will help still the mind and stay more present. During a round of golf, we can get stuck in that space of the last hole rehashing the bad shot, or we can move forward to the present moment where the magic happens.
Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and the surrounding environment. In addition, it involves acceptance, meaning that we pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. This is key to staying present in golf and life.
We live in a society that is fast paced, constantly moving and changing. We are continually challenged to be present. A golf course is a perfect place to “practice” mindfulness. The more mindful we become on the course, the more present we can become in our daily lives.
The practice of yoga will change your game and your life. It is a commitment to yourself, becoming a better player, better person and, ultimately bringing more peace and happiness into your life.
Kathleen Heiney is a member of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional Membership and a graduated with a Masters in Kinesiology from Indiana University. With a solid foundation of over 30 years’ experience in health and fitness, she’s practiced everything from competitive golf, tennis, personal training, body-building, and ski instructor for the disabled!
But her extensive experience is but a small drop in the bucket of what makes Kathleen good at what she does. Kathleen is a passionate person and her zest for whole-body wellness is infectious. She strongly believes in a whole-life balance and knows that the game of golf, combined with yoga and fitness instruction is a great way to achieve this.