When Jim, a 62-year-old golfer, walked into my studio I saw a man who was depressed and desperate to play golf again. Ten years ago Jim’s physician recommended he give up the game due to the pain he experienced in his low back. Imagine if you could not play golf and the physical, social and emotional toll it would take on your life. For many years Jim was resigned to the notion that he was too old to change his body.
After conducting a comprehensive physical assessment, I established that most of Jim’s concerns were related to a lack of flexibility. One assessment I used on Jim was the cat cow pose. I asked Jim to perform the exercise expecting to see movement in his spine. Jim insisted he was moving his spine when in actuality he had no movement. Within two months we had total mobilization of Jim’s lumbar spine. Now in retirement, Jim plays golf three days a week, pain free![subscribelocker]
Some of these poses may look familiar to you as I have suggested them as a series of warm-up poses. For senior golfers I recommend you begin the poses by moving very slowly, inhaling and exhaling through the nose with each pose. Practice the poses four days a week, in the morning (right after coffee) and in the evening right before bedtime. Studies prove stretching before sleep support faster muscle integration and faster results.
Recommended equipment for these exercises: Yoga Matt
Cat / Cow pose:
On all fours, inhale as you pull the navel towards the spine, pressing the spine towards the ceiling. Exhale, pressing the spine towards the floor, rolling the shoulders away from the ears and lifting the head slightly. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
Gentle Dynamic Twist:
Preparation position: Bring the arms perpendicular to the body, keeping the feet on the floor (Par Level) or lifting the feet off the floor (Birdie Level).
Pose: Inhale, pressing the navel towards the floor, engaging the core and rolling the legs to the right. Exhale bringing the legs back to the starting position. Repeat to the left side, and repeat the pose 10 to 20 times.
Seated Twisting pose:
Sitting up as straight as possible with the assistance of the right arm, place the right foot on the outside of the left knee. Maintain connection of the right foot to the floor. Inhale, lengthening the spine, exhale as you twist to the right. Repeat five times and switch sides.
This pose stretches the back and relaxes the mind. Sit in this pose for approximately two minutes. Note: If you feel discomfort in the knees, place a rolled towel in the crease of the back of the knees. RELAX! The mind is a powerful tool. Taking the leap of faith, exercising and visualizing your body as strong, flexible and full of vitality will transform your thoughts to reality!
Work on your game anywhere! This series is great for seniors and the physically challenged golfer.
One of my favorite aspects of yoga is that what appears to be very easy on the outside is actually very physically active on the inside. Yoga always begins with breathing and the core. Imagine that every movement begins from the deep, internal core and moves outward. When practicing this week’s poses it is important to draw the navel toward the spine, “telescope” the ribcage up, roll the shoulders back, elongate the neck and then perform the exercise. Done correctly, this action will be very physically active and require focus on your breathing.
Sitting at the end of the chair, sit up as tall as possible and engage the gluts. Feel as if you are pulling the gluts under, hips tilt forward slightly and imagine a string pulling you upwards. Imagine you are creating space between each vertebra. Hold for 10 to 15 breaths or hold as long as possible. Repeat five times.
Note: I do this pose in the car, in the office and on an airplane.
Easy pose with a twist:
Continue from the easy pose as you inhale, lifting the ribcage. Exhale and twist to the left. Utilize your arm for greater intensity in the pose. Return to the starting position and repeat five times. Switch sides.
Easy pose with crossed arms and a twist: