9 Things Golfers Should Know Before Taking Up Yoga

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9 Things Golfers Should Know Before Taking Up Yoga

December 02, 2014

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Treat it as a supplement.

Yoga is not the answer to all your fitness needs. Your fitness regimen should include other things such as strength and endurance training, soft-tissue therapy and sports activities.

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Know its limitations.

Yoga does little to train fast-twitch muscles or improve power output, so don't expect to pick up 20 yards off the tee or hack it out of the rough any better. Even if your range of motion improves as a result of yoga, you still need speed and strength to smash the ball.

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Choose the class wisely.

Golfers should go to classes that emphasize slow movement, static positions and extension poses. Forget Bikram. Many vinyasa classes aren't recommended either. Bikram, which is essentially performing yoga in extreme heat, can negatively impact concentration, body function and also make it easier to hyperextend joints. Vinyasa, which is like the CrossFit of yoga, doesn't emphasize awareness or quality of movement -- two big components to playing better golf.

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Choose the instructor even more wisely.

Be leery of instructors who don't first assess your physical limitations (or even ask about them), or those who conduct classes that have a competitive environment. Trying to "outstretch" the person next to you is a sure way to get hurt.

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Favor isometric poses.

Static poses that require the muscles to work hard in order to stabilize the body are great for golfers. Not only is core stability a foundation to making a better golf swing, being more stable allows you to increase your range of motion.

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Focus on the movement.

The great thing about traditional yoga is that it's performed at a slow pace. You might not have time during your downswing to think about hip rotation, but you'll have all the time in the world to focus on body movement while doing yoga. It can improve your kinesthetic awareness and that can improve your golf swing.

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Note asymmetries.

Again, the slow, controlled movements of yoga give you the opportunity to really detect muscular imbalances. Most golfers tend to have stronger muscles on one side of the body as compared to the other, because golf is a one-sided sport. Those asymmetries can lead to injury if not corrected. Yoga can help.

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Remember the fundamentals.

Standard poses such as "downward dog," "half moon," "dandasana" and "warrior" are great for golfers -- especially those with hip-rotation and hip-hinge issues.

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Skip the yoga pants and tank top.

A T-shirt and gym shorts are just fine. Especially if you're 6-foot-4, 230.

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