Eight Week Challenge Week 8 - Meditation Part A

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Meditation Part A
 
The Zone, a mystical state of consciousness that seems to be neither physical nor mental ' effortless amid tense exertion ' as if playing in slow motion ' perceptually sharp, keenly alert, with heightened concentration ' almost as if being psychic. Such profound experiences, often commonplace to athletes, bear comparison to daydreaming, communion with nature, and spiritual contemplation.
-Gary Gach
The Complete Idiots Guide to Buddhism

 
How many swing thoughts come into your mind while addressing the ball? How do you overcome distractions? How do you attain peak concentration? What about confidence? Where is that zone and how do you attain it? Week Eight the focus is on meditation with relaxation and visualization. Meditation is practiced to calm the mind, focus, and visualize the desired golf-specific outcome. Focus, meditation and visualization are essential tools on the golf course.
 
When the body and mind become one we are completely aligned. Everything works from driving the ball to putting out the hole. There is a feeling of being in the flowits euphoric. The mind is quiet and the body is relaxed. There is no effort and calmness within exists. Total focus within equals total focus on the course. Moving the mind into a zone-like state while maintaining full awareness can be achieved through meditation practice. A quiet mind is open to subliminal and conscious suggestions. Practicing visualization techniques will create the power to manifest your intention and your desired golf outcome into reality. Developing a quieter mind will increase concentration and visualization capabilities.
 
Tiger Woods in an ABC-TV interview said, My mothers a Buddhist. In Buddhism if you want to achieve enlightenment, you have to do it through meditation and self-improvement through the mind. Thats something shes passed on to me: to be able to calm myself down and use my mind as my main asset.
 
Week Eight will be divided into Part A and Part B. Next week we will focus on Part B with a Post Round Restorative Sequence.
 
Golf benefits of Week Eight Part A:
 
Learn to quiet the mind.
Improve focus and concentration.
Increase visualization capabilities for desired outcome.
 
You will need a yoga mat, 2 large towels, and a golf club. We will begin with an explanation of the Easy Pose. The Easy Pose (with variations) is traditionally used for meditation. An explanation of the Corpse Pose will follow.
 
Lets get started!
 
Meditation ' Easy Pose
Place a golf club directly in front of you. Sit on the yoga mat with the legs crossed. If the hips and/or groin are tight, the legs can be crossed in a more open position, or with one leg straightened or both legs straightened or bent in front of the body. The important issue is that you be comfortable. If the position is not comfortable the mind will drift to the body parts of discomfort and it will be hard to concentrate. If you have a tendency to round the back, sit on the edge of the front of a folded towel or rest your back against the wall. For those folks with knee issues or hip issues you may want to sit on a chair with the feet flat on the floor. When in a comfortable seated position, gently close the eyes, press down on the sitz bones, elongate the spine, lift the rib cage and crown of the head, and spread your wings (bring the shoulders down and back). The arms and hands on in a comfortable position resting the back of the hands on the knees, palms up with the index finger and thumb gently touching.
Begin to take long but gentle inhalations and exhalations totally focusing on the breath as it enters and leaves the body. If unnecessary thoughts or chatter enter the mind bring the focus back on the breath. Notice every detail of the breathing process from the moment air enters the nose, through the throat, the action of the ribs and abdominal area as you inhale and exhale. Use the count of two as you inhale and two as you exhaleallow a slight hesitation at the peak of your inhalation and at the end of the exhalation before beginning the next round of breath. Gradually increase the count to three in and three out, then four, and then five. As you feel your body and mind relaxing into the breath let the breath normalize (without counting) and begin to visualize a desired outcome to improve performance on the golf course. For example, you may want to visualize a round of golf on your favorite course. See yourself from the first tee to the last putt on the eighteenth hole playing the best round you have ever experienced. Notice every detail of the course from the tee boxes, the fairways, and the greens.
 

 
Corpse Pose
The relaxation pose or corpse pose is the most important part of the yoga practice, second only to breathing. Practiced at the end of a yoga sequence, it should never be skipped. If short on time, it is more beneficial to take time for the corpse pose then it is to do the poses. This is the period when the nervous system incorporates all the work youve just done, allows the body to rest, and offers the mind an opportunity to imprint the mental intentions so important to golf and life. In the corpse pose, although completely relaxed, the mind is still awake. Remain gently conscious, being present in the pose.
 
Setting up for the corpse pose option one: Lie on your back on a yoga mat and place towels under your knees as pictured. Begin by contracting every muscle in the body. Hold two breaths and relax on the exhalation.
 
Setting up for the corpse pose option two: In corpse pose focus on the breath as you begin visualizing tension leaving your body. Begin from the toes and move to the crown of the head. Each exhalation relieves tension, sinking you deeper into the ground. You can let you mind rest, allowing the mind to drift and flow freely, or take this time to practice the visualization techniques so important to golf performance.
 

 
Please e-mail me and let me know how you are progressing. I am here to support you in your new eight week commitment to excellence.
 
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    Editor's Note: Katherine Roberts, founder of Yoga for Golfers, has over 20 years of experience in fitness training, yoga studies, professional coaching and motivation. Katherine welcomes your email questions and comments, contact her at Katherine@YogaForGolfers.com or visit www.YogaForGolfers.com.