Article by Jayne Storey of Chi-Power GOLF
In this article I will take us through the ancient art of Meditation – literally “contemplation or mindfulness of breathing”.
The great Tom Watson once said “When I learned how to breathe, I learned how to win”, and many golfers struggle with this basic mental game skill, which makes them prey to mental interference and the emotional highs and lows of the game.
What’s this got to do with golf?
If you think it’s an odd approach to raising your game, just remember – the world’s No.1 player, Tiger Woods has been practicing from a very young age, and his example is now being followed by Justin Rose and others.
Through the practice of Meditation, the golfer can develop awareness of mental interference (fear, anticipation, anger, excitement – all of which are being experienced on golf courses around the world right now!) and what’s more, the ability to return the mind to a neutral and relaxed state, more conducive to a great drive, putt or chip shot.
So, how do you practice?
Sit upright, your feet on the ground, palms resting on your thighs. Hold the crown of your head up, as if it were held by a thread. Tuck your chin under and relax your shoulders.
Once you are comfortable, gently bring your attention to your breathing. Silently repeat in your mind “I am breathing in – I am breathing out”, with each inhalation and exhalation.
Simple as it sounds, after a few moments your mind will wander and you will start thinking about lunch or a phone call you have to make and so on. The challenge is to catch your mind wandering and bring it back to focusing on the breath and repeating your silent ‘mantra’.
There is no way for you to stop the mind generating thoughts, and the practice of Meditation is not so much about controlling the mind but rather, staying detached from unwanted thoughts by single-mindedly focusing on the breath.
What will it do for your game?
Bringing your attention to your breath is a great trigger to increase focus during your pre-shot routine.
You can also use short bursts of meditation (a few deep breaths) any time you get anxious, and to help you let go of a bad shot, instead of mentally carrying it to the next tee.
Focusing on your breathing will also help you relax and improve balance and rhythm.