Yoga poses like side stretch can help you swing to your full potential, pain-free. (Getty Images)
Every time I golf without stretching, I play at least five strokes worse. There’s good reason for that: In golf, every detail matters. If your form is slightly off, it can make the difference between an enjoyable day on the course and a long, frustrating one. To get an edge on the course both mentally and physically, try these yoga poses before taking your first swing:
1. Standing Shoulder Stretch
Why: Golf involves more than just your swing. If you don’t use a cart, you walk up to five miles while carrying a set of clubs. When you reach for your ball and line up your shots, you squat and lunge multiple times each hole. Use this stretch to help open your hamstrings, shoulders, neck and back all at the same time. It prevents muscle fatigue and soreness – especially toward the end of your round.
How: Stand with your feet straight forward and hips-width apart. Clasp your hands behind your back. Inhale, lift your shoulders so that they’re even with the base of your neck and plug your shoulders back. If your shoulders are tight and slouch forward, hold your golf club for leverage. Exhale and bow forward. If your back is strained, bend your knees as much as you need to release it. Otherwise, straighten your legs as straight as they go. Hold for five breaths and come out of the pose.
How: Stand with your feet 4 to 6 inches apart and straight. Bend your knees deeply, shift weight in your left foot and hook your right shin across your left thigh. Press your left hand against the sole of your right foot and press your foot against your hand. Flex your right foot and sit deeply, setting your right inner thigh down and back to open your right hip deeply. Practice this pose on both sides.
Jake Panasevich, Contributor
Jake Panasevich began writing for U.S. News in 2014, focusING on the practical benefits and app… Read moreJake Panasevich began writing for U.S. News in 2014, focusING on the practical benefits and applications of yoga and mindfulness. Jake teaches yoga to men and professional athletes including those on the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Phillies and The Philadelphia Union. Jake is featured as a yoga and health expert in publications including NPR, Men’s Health, Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, Origin Magazine, ABC Philadelphia, Be Well Philly and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Jake developed a style of yoga that is accessible to men and those who are most inflexible and injured. He is known for his unwavering passion and efficient approach to heal, inspire and advance students. Jake also leads weekly yoga sessions for more than 150 men in Philadelphia. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Jake received his degree in journalism from The University of Pittsburgh, where he also competed as a wrestler. Jake finished five yoga teacher trainings and has mpre than eight years of yoga therapeutics education. To learn more about Jake, visit his website, or connect with him on Instagram and Twitter.