Golf is a holistic endeavour that demands the harmonious integration of the body, mind, and spirit. The challenge is to simply hit a ball, that is sitting in harmony with the geometry of the landscape. However, to do this efficiently, one must pay keen attention to their own personal geometry. Negative thoughts, emotional outbursts, or improper physical posture can profoundly influence the outcome when engaging with that tiny, white sphere.

So, how do we consciously blend the efforts of the body, mind, and spirit? Yoga! The term “Yoga” is, in fact, a direct translation of “Union.” Contrary to popular belief, yoga transcends the mere physicality of cardiovascular exercise.

Yoga is much more than touching your toes or bending into a pretzel. Yoga means to break down the barriers a human organism has created and to effortlessly participate in this cosmic creation with wonder and joy. Have you ever noticed that during your peak golf performances or moments of your finest work, joy pervades your being? What if I told you that there is a way to always have a joyful spirit, and consequently, always play your best golf. Here is the first action you must take to become a Golf Yogi.

Release All Preconceptions and Identities about Yourself and Golf

Before setting foot on the course allow yourself to see the moment for what it truly is. You are alive, playing golf in Bali, have a few rupiah in your pocket for the game and are generally in strong health. This is a significant  reason to be joyful! Conversely , if you are thinking about being a 22-handicapper aiming for a gross 93 for 36 points, you’re likely to become disappointed and shaken from your state of joy at some point. Such is life. Life rarely unfolds as we expect simply because we have attached our own conclusions and expectations to the situation. Throughout the day, when your thoughts and emotions stray from joy, consciously return to the fact that you’re alive and a participant in the miracle of life. This is how you nurture your Golf Yogi Spirit.

Now, let’s address the second and third components: the body and mind. Yoga offers Asanas (physical postures) and Pranayama (breath control exercises) that work in harmony to enhance your golf performance. Here are three practical ways to integrate your body and mind for better golf:

  1. Mindful Breathing: Pay close attention to your breath. Take 8 seconds to consciously inhale (1,2,3,4 seconds) and exhale (1,2,3,4 seconds). Be fully aware of the air entering your body, traveling through your throat, chest, and down to your pelvic floor. Practice this while riding in the cart, walking on the fairway, or waiting to putt.
  2. Sun Salutation: Stand in the correct anatomical position, facing the sun with your feet hip-distance apart. Your arms should hang loosely by your sides with palms facing forward, shoulders back, belly button tucked up and in, and your chin slightly tucked. Spend 20-30 seconds appreciating the sun (our power source). You’ll be amazed at how energized and grounded this moment of sun appreciation can make you feel.
  3. Spine Awareness: In yoga, it’s said that our spine is the “axis of the universe.” Our entire human experience is connected to the health of our spine. Maintain good posture in your golf cart, walk with purpose and grace, stretch as needed, and stay hydrated. A well-cared-for spine not only improves physical health but also enhances cognitive function.

Remember that your best golf game and life experiences result from your input. They aren’t achievements that can be reached without nurturing and honouring the body, mind, and spirit. Think of it as planting a seed in your garden – you don’t just plant a seed and think ‘flower, flower, flower’. No, you provide sunlight, water, and care. In due time, a beautiful flower bloom. Similarly, focus on the journey, not just the final goal, and watch your golf game flourish. Embrace these practices and become the best version of yourself. See you on the green!


Jon Shilling