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Yoga & Golf

By: Melina Meza


Today in America, roughly 6 to 9 million people practice yoga. Almost every gym or health club now offers regular yoga classes. Newsweek and popular business magazines write about the booming industry, while celebrities like Madonna and Sting glamorize it as well. Given yoga's current popularity - and the inroads it's making in medicine, mental health care, corporate America, and the entertainment community - yoga is poised to be a potent force in both personal and social transformation.

What is it about yoga that has captured the imagination and spirit of America?

Turns out the Indian mystics who sat in deep intoxicating states of meditation 5,000 years ago were on to something. Now that yoga has crossed the borders of India, its original form has changed rapidly to fit contemporary needs. Americans are blending the ancient wisdom from the East - with input from medical doctors, physical and massage therapists, psychologists and dancers - in the West to create a sophisticated new movement practice.

Say "yoga" to most Americans, and most will think "yoga poses," which place the emphasis on the physical body as a vehicle for personal or spiritual growth. Never before in the history of yoga has the practice of physical postures assumed the importance that it has in the West.

If you have ever tried a yoga class with a qualified instructor, you'll know how intoxicating the practice can be. Your body is opened from the inside out through concentrated breathing exercises, twisted and compressed to release muscular tension, then turned upside down to give your mind a new perspective of the world. After the body is cleansed though the postures, the relaxation and breath work still the mental fluctuations, leaving the student in a place called Samadhi, or deep peace.

Many popular sports are starting to incorporate basic yoga movements into their warm-up routines to prevent injuries, to strengthen the core and deepen concentration, while offering techniques to remain calm in stressful situations. What golfer wouldn't want a healthy body and steady mind?

Take 10-15 minutes before you golf to warm up with a few yoga stretches. Your alignment, posture and stamina to play the game will improve. Old neurological movement patterns that are no longer serving your body will change for the better as you introduce a wider range of shapes for your body to follow.

In my book, "The Art of Sequencing," there are numerous examples of yoga sequences to practice, whether you are a beginner or seasoned yogi. I highly recommend the Level One practice for the shoulders and hips, and get introduced to asanas, or postures, that build strength and flexibility in areas where the golfer needs it the most.

In the future, I'll delve into more specific yoga poses that will enhance your golf game, and your life.

A yoga teacher and nutritionist, Melina Meza received her Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University. While attending Bastyr, Melina discovered the art of yoga, which brings together the mind, body, and spirit. Yoga taught her about balance, concentration, and relaxation, essential lessons that reside at the foundation of her own personal practice and the classes that she teaches to groups and individuals.

Melina has been teaching yoga full-time since 1997, when 8 Limbs Yoga Centers opened in Seattle. Her continual growth as a teacher and practitioner has been influenced by studying with numerous yoga instructors and taking annual sabbaticals to deepen her commitment to personal practice.

In addition to teaching private yoga sessions and group classes, Melina is the co-director of the 8 Limbs Teachers’ Training Program and Enrichment Program. Throughout the year, she also leads retreats and workshops that allow her to blend her passions of yoga and nutrition education.

Her book, "The Art of Sequencing," the first in a series of practical, affordable, and enjoyable wellness tools, is the next phase of Melina’s contribution to those seeking to live more conscious, healthy lives. For more details about Melina and her book, visit www.melinameza.com.    

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