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Six Stress Busters

During this time of the year as our schedules get more and more hectic we have a tendency to overeat and drink, skip work outs and become more sedentary. In addition traveling to visit family can mean long hours in the car or sitting in uncomfortable ergonomically incorrect airplane seats. Combine all of these factors and you will begin to feel discomfort in the back. Even if you cant get to the gym or cannot seem to find the time for a complete yoga practice doing something is always better than nothing!
When my clients ask how many times and what length of time should they do the Yoga for Golfers program I suggest fifteen minutes as day, three days a week is better than once a week for one hour.
This series of yoga poses should take you approximately fifteen minutes and will bring relief to an aching back. In addition, the childs pose and forward fold will calm the nervous system and are suggested to help reduce stress and ground the body ' an asset during the hectic holiday season. Practicing these poses during the off season will help you keep your back fit for golf, reducing your risk of injury when you get back on the course.
Travel Tip: When getting on the plane grab the first pillow you see and place it between your low back and the seat. This will greatly reduce the stress on the lumbar spine. Once you have arrived at your destination I suggest you practice these yoga poses to relieve the strain on your back.
Note: If you have high blood pressure (that is not under control through medication) or glaucoma do not put your head below your heart.
Par Level = Knees into chest

Lying on your back, bring one knee into the chest and hold for five breaths. Switch sides and then bring both knees onto the chest for five more breaths. Relax the head and neck.
Par Level = Child's Pose
Yoga for Golfers - Child pose

Begin on all fours and place a towel on your heels. Begin to sit back, moving the buttocks towards the heels eventually resting on the towel or your heels. You may need to adjust the towel or remove the towel for comfort. Bring your forehad to the floor or place it on a towel. You should feel a nice stretch in your low back. Hold for two minutes or twenty-five deep breaths.
Par Level = Childs Pose with the arms extended.
Yoga for Golfers - Child pose with arms extended

In the Childs Pose extend your arms towards the front of the mat. Place your hands as wide as the mat and feel like you are pushing the mat away from you, deepening the stretch in the low back. Hold for ten more breaths. Come out of this pose very slowly, lifting from your core.
Birdie Level = Standing forward fold with elbows clasped and knees bent.
Yoga for Golfers - Standing forward fold  pose

Standing with the feet hip width apart, bend the knees and fold forward allowing the body to hand like a rag doll. If possible bring the opposite elbows together and continue to hand. Draw the navel into the spine to increase the pose. Hold for five to ten breaths. Come out of this pose slowly to prevent light-headedness.
Eagle Level = Standing forward fold with legs straight.
Yoga for Golfers - Standing forward fold  pose

Remain in the Birdie Level pose and begin to straighten your legs. You will feel more intensity in the low back as well as the hamstrings. Shift your weight so it is over the balls of the feet. Do not hyper-extend the knees. Hold for five to ten more breaths.
Eagle Level = Downward Dog at the Wall
Yoga for Golfers - Downward Dog at Wall pose

This is a great pose for working the low back, hamstrings and shoulders all at one time. Facing the wall, place the hands firmly at shoulder width apart and chest height. Begin to walk the feet back bringing the body to a ninety degree angle to the legs. Draw the navel in and roll the shoulders away from the ears. DO NOT rotate the shoulders inward. Flex the quads to increase the stretch in the hamstrings. Hold for five to ten breaths.

Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at