To become a better golfer, taking care of your body through strength-training and stretching is a must. If you want to drive the ball farther, feel more limber and agile, or just do a 4-hour game without feeling achy, yoga can help.
To encourage yoga practice to boost overall health and wellness, Inspirations & Celebrations recently published a 5-part original fitness tutorial series called the “Yoga in the Vines Series”, in collaboration with our friends, Yoga Instructor Kate Balog and Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel, California.
Yoga in the Vines – Part 5
To help your golf game, in Part 5 of this 5-part Series, Inspirations & Celebrations’ Fitness Contributor Kate Balog (a certified Yoga Instructor) shares 5 yoga exercises to help you unwind among the vines.
One of the main attractions in many vacation destinations is golf. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of stunning golf courses around the world attracting millions of visitors each year. The National Golf Foundation sites a total of 25 million golfers heading out to the course every year. With that statistic, it’s no surprise that many players have turned to yoga to help them improve their game and take care of their bodies.
The following series of postures is designed specifically to help a golfer prepare for a game. Taking into considering the muscles used to walk a course, carry a golf bag and repeatedly swing a club, this yoga series aims to loosen and strengthen the body in all the right places.
That being said, this series is versatile and can be used by just about anyone to strengthen and stretch out the body. Take your time moving through each posture allowing your body to self-adjust.
Pay attention to your breath, making sure to breathe deeply. It is recommended to sit in meditation for at least 5 minutes after the series for maximum benefit.
Indudalasana – Standing Crescent Moon Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin standing in Tadasana (covered in series 2). As you inhale, reach both arms up over your head, keeping them straight, and bring the palms together. Interlace all fingers except for your pointers and thumbs. Take a deep inhale and reach your arms up a little higher, as you exhale bend over to the right. Make sure to keep your hips square and slightly forward to engage the core. Gaze up underneath of your top arm. Hold for 3 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Stretches obliques and opens the sides of the body. Improves balance and concentration.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from injuries to the back, hips or shoulders.
Uttanasana (variation) – Standing Forward Fold Pose (with shoulder opener)
- Correct Posture: Begin standing in Tadasana (covered in series 2). Interlace your fingers at the base of the spine behind you. As you exhale bend at the hips, lengthening the front of your torso. Let the hands fall forward. Let your head hang down, relaxing the neck. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Stretches the shoulders and hamstrings. Rejuvenates the whole body while calming the mind.
- Avoid If: Not advised for people suffering from a shoulder injury. If you have a back injury, bend the knees slightly while practicing this posture.
Utthita Trikonasana – Extended Triangle Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin standing in Tadasana (covered in series 2). Take a wide step back with the one leg, turning hips to face the side of the mat. Point toes of front leg forward, while back leg toes point to the side. Straighten both legs and stretch the arms sideways. Reach forward with your front hand, shifting your back hip slightly back so you can fold at your front hip. Keep the torso sideways, do not drop forward. Rest your bottom hand on your shin or ankle. Align the shoulders so one is directly on top of the other. Gaze towards your top hand. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: A deep stretch for the hamstrings, groin, and hips. Opens chest and shoulders. Relieves lower back pain, stress or sluggish digestion.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from low blood pressure, headache, diarrhea or heart conditions.
Vasisthasana – Side Plank Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin in Downward-Facing Dog (covered in series 1). Lower hips and shift weight forward to come into Plank Pose (high push-up). Step your feet together and press your weight down through your right hand and forearm. Roll the body to the right and balance on the outer edge of your right foot, stacking the left foot on top and keeping both legs straight. Reach the left arm up to the sky, lifting the hips and firming triceps of both arms. Adjusting to bring your body to one straight line. Gaze at your top thumb. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat on the other side.
- Benefits: Strengthens entire body. Increases flexibility in the wrists. Tones the abdominal muscles, improving balance. Also improves concentration and focus.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from severe wrist, shoulder or elbow injuries.
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana – Bridge Pose
- Correct Posture: Begin by lying on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Feet should be hip-widths distance apart. Extend your arms along the floor with the palms flat. Make sure your fingertips can graze the back of your heels, you may need to walk your feet closer to the hips. Press into the feet and lift the hips towards the sky. Draw the tailbone towards the pubic bone, holding your buttocks off of the mat. Do not squeeze your glutes or flex the buttocks. Roll shoulders back and underneath your body, clasping the hands together. Straighten the arms as much as possible. Keep the thighs and feet parallel. Hold for 3-5 breaths. Repeat.
- Benefits: Opens the chest and stretches the thighs. Helps to strengthen and open the spine. Realigns the body and reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Avoid If: Not advised for those suffering from a neck injury.
How to follow the ‘Yoga in the Vines’ Series
To catch up on Part 1-4 of the Yoga in the Vines Series on Inspirations & Celebrations, click the below links:
- Part 1: To build energy and boost confidence
- Part 2: To relax and restore
- Part 3: To relieve anxiety
- Part 4: To boost clarity
If you’re in the Monterey Peninsula, to participate in a live “Yoga in the Vines” class, head over to Folktale Vineyards & Winery in Carmel. “Yoga in the Vines” is hosted weekly on Saturdays at 10 am and includes a 90-minute yoga class followed by a complimentary glass of wine (for $20 per person).
For more exercise tips and tutorials from fitness experts and celebrity trainers, check out the Fitness section on Inspirations & Celebrations. Be well and stay inspired on your fitness journey!
Fitness Contributor: Kate Balog
Kate Balog holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, a Holistic Health Certification from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and a 200-Hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Certification through Vinyasa Yoga School in Rishikesh, India. She has been trained in Hatha and Vinyasa yoga- asana, pranayama, meditation, philosophy, and yoga therapy. She is also a Reiki 1 & 2 practitioner. Kate’s teaching combines ancient yogic technique with modern understanding to create a felt energetic experience of alignment and balance. She currently teaches in Monterey & Carmel, California. Stay up to date on upcoming posts, classes & retreats at www.yogarise.org