These practices are simple… not always easy! That’s why it’s ‘practice’ and not ‘perfection’. There is no right or wrong, and what you experience will feel different each day, so be kind and don’t judge yourself… accept progress over perfection!

mindful golf

There are 3 categories of Mindfulness activities: Formal, Informal and Blitz.

Why When Examples
Formal Builds mindfulness muscle 10-60min daily
Home practice
Breathing
Bodyscan
Senses
Visualisation
Informal Boost focus and calm
Reset
Recover from setback
Diffuse negative self-talk
10sec – few minutes
During your game
Mindful walking
Mindful preparation
Mindful tasting & drinking
Blitz “Circuit breaker”
Boost focus and calm
Reset
Recover from setback
Diffuse negative self-talk
A few seconds to a minute
During your game
Shoulder stretch
Magic Breath
Contact points
Neck massage
Connect with nature

Formal practice

“Builds your mindfulness muscle” and isn’t done during the game, more likely at home. ‘Formal’ doesn’t mean it’s stuffy or rigid rather that you set specific time aside to practice being mindful. It usually involves sitting in a chair with your eyes closed for 5-60 minutes and focusing on one thing, e.g. breath, a mental image, experiencing through our senses, a phrase or mantra. It’s not so much about feeling a state of bliss or clearing our thoughts, rather noticing whatever comes up and being able to stay with it, even if it is uncomfortable. Most studies show that as little as 10 minutes of formal meditation a day have significant results in as little as 6-8 weeks. If you’d like to learn about different kinds of formal practice, please let me know!

Now, let’s focus on what you can do during a game…

Noticing your thoughts

Did you know that you have on average 60,000 thoughts per day?!

Getting out of our heads and into our senses doesn’t mean that thoughts disappear, it’s about noticing them and letting them go, like clouds passing in the sky. In fact, when you start being aware of your thoughts, it might feel like they increase at first!

When you notice a thought, just acknowledge it and let it go, coming back to the activity you are focusing on. It’s completely normal to wonder if you’re “doing mindfulness right” when you’re trying to focus, trust that it works and let the thought go.

How many times have you noticed negative self talk? I knew I’d miss that shot, my game is awful, my putting is useless, I knew I should have stuck with tennis, how stupid was I to choose a 7 iron?

Catch yourself having the thought, notice it and let it go. Each moment is a new moment and a new opportunity to clean the slate through being in the present moment.

 

mindful golf

Informal practice is any routine activity that is done mindfully.

If we are really paying attention to the activity, then we are being mindful. Break your game up with little checkpoints and take the time to just “drop in” and let go.

Start with one activity and you’ll find more with time and experience.

Step 1: Choose a routine activity and decide how long you’re going to hold your awareness with it

Step 2: Slow down the activity slightly and notice the sensations

Step 3: When your mind wanders, bring it back gently to the activity

Try these!

1. Mindful walking between shots or holes:
• Consciously notice how it feels as you deliberately take each step
• Experience walking with all of your senses
• What can you see? Choose a colour, for example, what can you see that is blue?
• How many different kinds of birds can you hear?
• How does the wind feel on your skin?
• What can you smell? Taste?
• Feel the air going in and out of your nostrils.

2. Mindful tasting and drinking:
• Use your drink bottle as an anchor and do it mindfully each time you take a drink
• Enjoy the first mouthful of your snack, slowly and mindfully… reeeaaaalllly taste it and feel the sensations… try it with some chocolate or a sultana… divine!

3. Mindful preparation:
• Mindfully replacing and taking out the next club
• Placing your marker or tee mindfully
• Focus on a rhythmic positive phrase in your mind as you prepare or take a shot. You might like to time it with your in and out breath (eg in-out, peace-calm, let-go)

Blitz meditations are quick techniques that get you out of your head in seconds!

These are for when you want to boost your focus, break-the-circuit with limiting thoughts or simply reset and clean the slate.

Try these!

1. Contact points
• Bring your awareness to your feet in your shoes, your shoes on the grass
• Be aware of your hands feel gripping the club
• In the buggy, notice your backside in the seat, feet planted on the floor, back in the seat

2. Magic breath
• One conscious deep breath in through the nostrils and exhale with a sigh
• To relax – make the out breath longer
• To energise – make the in breath longer

3. Shoulder Stretch
• Lift your shoulders up to your ears, tighten neck and shoulder muscles
• Breathe in as they come up
• Roll shoulders back
• Gently drop shoulders down with a sigh

4. Neck massage
• Take your hand to the back of your neck, massaging with the heel and the fingers
• Swap to the other hand

4. Connect with nature
• Using the senses, become aware of the nature around you
• What do you notice in front of you? Behind? Above? at your feet?
• How many different kinds of noises can you hear? Birds? Leaves rustling? People?
• How does the breeze feel on your skin?
• Hold our awareness on a particular bird flying for a few seconds
• Sense the cool and damp air under the tree

I’d love to hear from you if anything resonates, if you have any questions or if you’d like to get some tips on formal meditations for your home practice!

Cheers, Dana

 

AUTHOR


Dana BellDana Bell

Dana is the founder and Chief Possibilities Officer of Soulful Kids, which exists to inspire children to believe in themselves, empowering them to live to their highest potential.  Dana believes in Work-Life-Integration, not Work-Life-Balance and is also a Member of the International Coach Federation, a Licensed Desire Map Facilitator and an Associate Fellow of the Australasian College of Health Service Managers.

Contact Dana
hello@danabell.com.au
www.danabell.com.au