"Act Without Expectation"
Have you ever performed a headstand or shoulderstand? Better yet, have you been on an inversion table? If you have done either activity I'm sure you had a pretty similar experience. Your brain went kind of blank. Your mental chatter slowed down and you were able to really feel your body. I encourage everyone reading this post to practice doing a headstand or shoulderstand every morning after you wake up and every evening before bed.
I just finished reading the book A Calm Brain, by Gayatri Devi. She describes what happens when getting calm from the bottom up. "Your heart rate and breathing slow down. Deep, slow breaths and a slowed heartbeat send a strong message to the core brain, signaling there is no threat in the environment, and the world is a safe place."
So give it a try tonight and see how it makes you feel. The more you practice being in this position for say 10-20 breaths will have you on the path to a more calm state and a more relaxed mind and body, which will improve your scores immediately! Enjoy the walk...Play the game.
I've written in the past the value of meditation and how it can help athletic performance. I have come across an excellent resource for your daily practice. Visit this link and follow the instructions on how to really deepen your meditation.
Listen to this sound byte from NPR on how MBA programs across the country are teaching the art of meditation. No matter your faith you will benefit from this valuable skill! http://www.npr.org/2012/09/13/161050141/buddhist-meditation-a-management-skill
Kettle bells, you may have seen them at the gym and wondered what are those things? You’ve probably noticed guys and girls doing silly looking moves. So you ask yourself what are they and would they help me? Wikipedia gives the following definition of a kettle bell. The kettlebell or girya (Russian: ги́ря) is a cast-iron weight (resembling a cannonball with a handle) used to perform ballistic exercises that combine cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training.
They are a phenomenal piece of equipment to add to your workout. They work the entire body and improve your power and strength while increasing your range of motion. Certified Titleist Performance Institute Professional Jason Glass demonstrates three great exercises with the kettle bells for golfers. Even though he describes the benefits for golfers all athletes will benefit from these movements. After watching these movements I couldn’t wait to do them. They look simple but if done properly will get your blood pumping and heart going! I then came across Tim Ferris’ book Four Hour Body. I highly recommend it to everyone. You will find some fabulous information in the book from diet, to fitness to sleep to being better in bed. He talks a lot about kettle bells and the value of doing the kettle bell swings. He has a case study on himself and a woman who lost 100 pounds that other than her slow carb diet she just engaged once a week in 75 kettle bells swings.
I have added the kettle bell swings to my work out twice a week and I can tell you I feel much more powerful in my hips and legs. My squat movement has improved as well and I haven’t even worked up to the 55 lb. kettle bell Mr. Ferris recommends for men.
Next time you are in the gym, grab that kettle bell and perform some segmental stabilizers, then work into the kettle bell swings. Mix in both arms and single arms, really focusing on keeping your arms loose and driving the kettle bell up with your hips. Focus on deep abdominal breathing as this is an intense workout that will really get your heart pumping. Remember before you attempt the swings to warm up your hips and glutes with 20-40 hip extensions. Please share your experiences with the kettle bells and other good exercises below. Thanks in advance!
Over the years we have read and heard more and more talk about meditation and how the eastern influences have moved west. I was introduced to yoga and meditation when I was the assistant golf coach at the University of Florida in 2004. It was the off season with the team and the head coach and I set up some group yoga sessions for them. One of the sessions, we had a guest come in and introduce a lot of us to meditation and the benefits gained by a daily practice.
I was instantly intrigued. It appeared to be a great thing to do in the morning and evening and it sure seemed as if it would improve my golf performance. Since that day I have regularly meditated. I have experimented with different types and read a lot of books on it. When I started my regular meditation in early 2005 it sparked my desire to get back on the golf course and play full time. I was rewarded with qualifying for the 2005 US Open at Pinehurst.
Our breath is vital to achieving a calm focus. When we get nervous during a competition we experience fight or flight like symptoms. Breathing properly down into your abdomen immediately starts to bring the body back to a calmer state. The longer we practice meditation and learn to just follow our breath and watch and observe our thoughts, we are able to do that in our athletic endeavors and perform in a more zone like state. The greatest athletes have said that when they are in the zone they aren’t thinking, they just react, they see the ball, hit the ball, make the basket, or make the catch. By learning to put yourself in a calmer state where your brain quiets with all of its thoughts you get closer to performing in the zone.
To gain the benefits from meditation start very simple. Sit for 5 to 10 minutes with your spine upright. You can either sit cross legged or in a chair. All you have to do is be aware of your breathing. Don’t control it, just be aware of it. Also, have your awareness be on your thoughts. Don’t judge the thoughts just let them float through your head. If you find yourself going with a train of thought take yourself back to your breathing and focus on that. The more you do it, the more you will have moments where you won’t have much mind chatter. It will feel calm and pleasant and you will be immersed in the moment. Great performance comes from when we are fully engaged in the present moment. Besides the improved athletic performance, meditation has an even greater array of health benefits.
Until next time, enjoy improving your meditation practice or starting one for the first time. Please share your experiences with me!
Professional Golfer, Golf Coach, Director of Golf for SFA, #UF, #Gator Grad, sports fan, musician, student of life & all things social. Married to an amazing woman with two incredible children.