Yoga for Golf
(Text: Marie Monozca | Pictures: Eric Chun | Location: True Yoga, Vivo City | Direction: Al Dizon | Golf Paper April 2012)
Hi longer drives, lower your scores, keep injury and most importantly, stay focused and positive with yoga exercises.
YOGA HAS BECOME a cross-training exercise of choice among many golfers because of its many benefits. Through the different physical poses known as "asanas" and breathing techniques coupled with deep meditation, it has been known to improve one's physical and mental game.
"Yoga improves one's flexibility to improve one's swing and drive the ball further. It also builds muscle control and improves balance and coordination," says Sukhdev Singh, a yoga master with True Yoga. He was a personal trainer to former Asian number one players, Kyi Hla Han and Jyoti Randhawa as well as Singapore's top golfer, Mardan Mamat.
"The breathing techniques help with the tempo and rhythm of golf swing as well as calm the body down and relax the muscles. More importantly, yoga improves concentration and clears the mind." The 38-year-old guru also recommends yoga to female golfers: "Yoga helps the female golfer build strength, flexibility, balance and conditioning that gives her an advantage on the course in all aspects. She will gain confidence in her swing, maintain stamina and gain the mental agility and focus needed to make the right decisions, regardless of the situation." He recommends Hot Yoga and Pranayama and Meditation for women golfers.
HOT YOGA FIot Yoga is a series of yoga poses and breathing exercises done in a heated room at 37 degrees Celsius. The pos-tures are designed to systematically cleanse every part of the body and to provide a complete mind/body workout. The heat promotes sweating which help rid toxins from the body; loosens and stretches the muscles to prevent injuries; promotes blood circulation and; mobilises fatty acids to burn fats more efficiently. Hot Yoga improves circulation, increases metabolism, regulates digestion, strengthens the immune system and burns fat.
Hot Yoga also eases the execution of the yoga postures as the heat in a Hot Yoga class makes the muscles more flexible and pliable and in turn reduces the risk of injuries.
PRANAYAMA AND MEDITATION Pranayama and Meditation help female golfers address mental focus. As the name suggests, Pranayama (which means breathing exercise in Sanskrit) and Meditation specifically focuses on breathing techniques. It usually begins with simple breathing exercises and asanas (postures). The Asanas are meant to stretch the muscles around the neck and chest. Twisting postures are also done to promote rib cage movement. This helps to release tension in the upper chest and back and will assist in better inhalation of air. The class ends with mental focusing techniques, where participants are encouraged to focus on various images in their mind, such as the sea, mountains, feeling the breeze, to further calm the mind and to shift their focus away from the stresses of everyday life. For golfers in general, Singh, who has been practicing and teaching yoga for more than 20 years, demonstrates the following specific postures: