By Jenny Park
On the surface, golf looks deceptively simple enough; you pick a club, hit the ball, and then tap it into the cup. The game of golf might take a few hours to learn but you spend a lifetime improving. In many respects, yoga is similar to golf. Both look quite simple on the surface and both have nuances and subtleties that can keep you engrossed for years. The best news is that the practice of yoga can even help your game.
The swing is the most fundamental part of the game. Flexibility and coordination are both essential parts of a good swing. The golf swing relies not on brute force or impressive biceps; the best swings come from the ground up. A solid golf swing comes from the twist of the hips and the power generated by the body, and the core strength developed from yoga practice makes the difference between a so-so swing and a showstopper. Although swings may look fairly simple there is actually a lot of things happening all at once that require a fair amount of coordination. Yoga can help you connect with all parts of your body so they can all work together when you need them to.
Breath control is another important part of playing a good game. Want to sabotage your next opponent? Ask him or her whether they inhale or exhale on the back swing and they will spend the next few holes puzzling over this and inevitably shanking everything in the bushes. In all seriousness, controlling breath during your golf swing is a cause for concern among new and veteran players alike. Yoga teaches an integration of body and breath, which can help you find the right tempo of breathing for your perfect golf swing.
Golf is a stressful sport at times. Being outdoors on a beautiful spring morning is the ideal setting for relaxation, but when you keep hitting in the rough or overshooting the cup while your buddies are laughing at you and the foursome behind you are jockeying to play through, relaxation is the last thing on your mind. A regular yoga practice teaches deep breathing that will calm your mind and body and a deep connection to your inner voice that will allow you make the physical and mental adjustments needed to get your game on while ignoring the pesky distractions that ruin a perfectly good game of golf.
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