Nearly six months ago, I performed a revision surgery on patient Sarah Cohn for an Anterior-Posterior Revision Lumbar Fusion for Spondylolisthesis, after she received a failed minimally invasive spine decompression surgery at another practice. Following the revision surgery, Sarah, an avid golfer and yoga enthusiast, recovered quickly and was able to return to her athletic passions. Sarah can play golf again and stretches during rounds with simple yoga.
I was touched to not only receive a copy of her book Practice Yoga While You Play Golf but also to be nominated by her for the Mount Sinai Medical Center “Honor Your Doctor” award.
Most importantly, I was fascinated by Sarah’s unique fusion of golf and yoga and wanted to share with my readers and patients. You can visit her website at SarahCohnYoga.com and purchase her book here. Read below to see what Sarah had to say about her experience!
Q: How did you discover Dr. McCance, and how would you describe your experience with him?
A: I was referred to Dr. McCance by a pain management doctor who really wasn’t able to help me. I needed a spinal fusion and Dr. McCance made the process seem less terrifying, plus he spent plenty of time explaining the surgery and the recovery period.
Q: What is the inspiration behind your book?
A: Practicing yoga on the golf course helped me continue to play even when my back was pretty bad. Many of my muscles had to overwork to make up for a bad spine. I figured if it could help me, it would be beneficial to all golfers, whether well or injured, young and old. None of us is getting any younger and stretching helps us to stay limber. There is so much down time during a round of golf that it just makes sense to practice self-care while on the course.
Q: How has yoga helped with your golf game?
A: It mainly helped because it enabled me to keep playing while I was injured. Yoga provides a wonderful combination of strengthening and loosening, both of which are vital in golf. All of the twisting in yoga also complements the rotation necessary for the golf swing.
Q: What poses do you recommend for beginners – either in yoga or golf?
A: Some great yoga poses for beginners would involve moving the spine. They can even be done sitting in a chair (or golf cart). Folding forward, gentle twisting and side bending are great ways to start. The most important thing to remember is (controlled) breathing. For example, before a forward fold you would inhale and lengthen your spine, keeping your shoulders relaxed; and as you exhale, you would fold forward. While folded forward it is still important to focus on your breathing and to keep your head, neck and shoulders relaxed.
Q: You gifted Dr. McCance with a copy of your book after your surgery. Do you see a particular synergy or parallel between his medical experience and your golf/yoga expertise?
A: I wanted to give him the book first and foremost because I wanted to thank him for getting me back to all the activities I love. My back had gotten so bad that I had to limit the amount of activity I could do. I think there is a wonderful parallel between Dr. McCance’s ability to put a spine back in proper alignment and yoga. In yoga, we practice achieving proper alignment and strengthening and loosening the back muscles to attain that goal. Dr. McCance helps those of us with structural defects or injuries, who can’t reach that goal of proper alignment without that outside help.
Have you undergone spinal surgery and been able to return to your passions? If so, I would love to hear about your recovery and your new and improved life!