Sun, June 27, 2004


Ask the Yoga Instructor

Can Yoga improve your Golf Game?

Earl Woods, father of the great golfer Tiger Woods, tells his son, in a quote out of "Training a Tiger: A Father's Guide to Raising a Winner in Golf and Life (HarperCollins, 1998), "If you don't clutter your conscious mind with endless pointers and tips, you make it easier for your subconscious instincts to guide you." Golf is such a mental sport, and yoga the most mental of exercise. Does it not make sense to bring the two together? Many yoga students who are golfers have told me how much their yoga practice has improved their golf game. Yoga addresses a multitude of elements, which are required for a better golf game. Have you tested your balance lately? Stand with your feet hip distance apart, feet parallel and focus your eyes on one spot. Concentrate and focus on that one spot inhale and slowly lift your right leg, bending the knee toward your chest. Breathe through your nose, slowly and deeply. Hold the pose for 3 slow relaxed breaths. Were you able to maintain your balance? Good balance is very important, not only in golf, but in everyday life as well. As we age, it is important to work on maintaining good balance to make us stronger and keep us from falling and possibly breaking a hip. If you were not able to maintain your balance make this exercise a daily practice and you will see improvement in your balance. There are many different balancing poses in yoga. Tree Pose is one of my favorites. Besides building better balance, improving concentration and strengthening the legs and feet, Tree Pose makes me fell calm, steady and just a bit taller…. Yoga poses will help steady the nerves. Golfers tell me that regular yoga practice has increased their swing rotation and their golf stance is more centered due to the balance that is acquired through the balancing poses in yoga. How is your breathing? Are you holding your breath right before that all-important shot? Yoga teaches us how to better control our breath and being aware of our body and mind. Be aware of your breathing, not just on the golf course but throughout your day. Remember the old saying: “take a deep breath”. Learned deep, relaxed breathing, as well as body - mind awareness helps players to totally concentrate before the ever-important shot.

How is your lower back?

A common ailment for golfers is in the lower back. Strong abdominal muscles are needed to protect the lower back. Hip flexor and hamstring flexibility is important. Yoga poses address all of those muscles needed. Yoga students who have enhanced their golf with a committed regular yoga practice have told me that they were able to increase their swing rotation, thereby adding distance, and their golf stance is more centered due to the balance that is learned through the balancing poses in yoga. They use the focused and relaxed breathing technique learned in yoga before that ever important shot, and most of all they are having fun without feeling stressed and they are proud of their improved game.

Ilse Mindling is a Yoga Alliance registered and certified instructor, instructing in Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda. She may be reached at (941) 204-0095 visit:

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