(yes those are guns – and yes, there will be an explanation . . . )
But first, over the past year, I’ve increasingly come to appreciate the physical and mental benefits of yoga – both for its own sake and also as a real source of assistance for my golf game. This isn’t a side benefit that I necessarily would have expected, so it was interesting to find out that, apparently, I’m not alone.
An entertaining New York Times feature recently detailed some of the fascinatingly odd, unquestionably diverse but still helpful “rituals” in which some of the game’s greatest players apparently engage. So before getting to yoga, let me give you a sense of what I’m talking about here:
- Brandt Snedeker, who said he drops five to six pounds from his 6-foot-1-inch frame during major tournament weeks because of stress, added that he had tried playing practice rounds between swigs of caffeine and taurine-rich Red Bull to simulate the jitters he feels when in contention.
- Dustin Johnson . . . said he liked to turn practice rounds during tournament weeks into money games, to raise the stakes and his heart rate.
- Oliver Morton, a biomechanics and performance consultant from Scotland whose clients include the world No. 39, Stephen Gallacher, alternates sets of calisthenics with shooting.
- Gary Woodland, a two-time tour winner, calms himself by counting to four in his head before every shot. (ok – maybe that one isn’t too out there…)
As noted, however, I’m apparently not alone in choosing a slightly different style of “warm up” than imbibing massive amounts of stimulants, gambling or firing off my AK . . . (not that there’s anything wrong with that)
- Some golfers turn to yoga for help corralling their emotions, using meditative and breathing exercises to reduce their levels of the hormone cortisol under stress. Katherine Roberts, the founder of yoga for golf, encourages her students to inhale for four counts and exhale for six. At a glance, she can pick out the golfers on a crowded practice range who are not breathing properly.
Very reassuring that I might just be onto something here. And seeing as flexibility, range of motion and a general sense of calm all seem to do a lot more for my personal performance than more “extreme” training routines, it does indeed make sense that – at least for me – Yoga is playing an increasingly positive role.
If you are a golfer (or even if you’re not), I recommend giving yoga a shot. (Or perhaps at least before you actually start shooting at stuff . . .)