Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guts, Glory, and Plasticity of The Golf Mind

How many times have you scored a triple bogey and essentially given up on the round? I’ve even stopped keeping score I’ve been so demoralized. Keegan Bradley, after chipping into the water, had a triple on the 15th hole on the last day of the 2011 PGA Championship–the first major he’d ever played in–and came back to win the tournament. That takes guts and courage and the ability to never say die, traits any golfer could use more of. These are traits of the mind, traits of character, traits of a person who can turn adversity into the seed of an equal or greater benefit. After Bradley’s triple, he was five shots behind Jason Dufner, a 34 year old journeyman. Bradley then birdied his next two, one with a 40 foot putt, and parred the 18th, arguably the most difficult hole on tour. He tied Dufner in regulation, a gutsy feat that has to be one of the great comebacks in the history of the majors. How he did it is a lesson we can all learn from.

Simply said, in golf, as in life, you never give up. Golf tests the resiliency of the mind to come back after disaster. The mind is conditioned generally to give up rather than come back and try again. It’s an organ of memory and we tend to remember the bad more than the good. Think PTSD which is near epidemic in this country. So instead of facing obstacles and hindrances, we often give up and go in another direction. Or we medicate ourselves with whatever opiate is at hand. The brain’s amygdala, the center of emotional response, is often so conditioned by the time we reach adulthood that it forgets its original function: to help us get through tough times, times of change, times of negativity, of disappointment, of disruption to our comfort zone. The amygdala becomes dysfunctional, and requires external booster shots to help us through the day.

When disaster hits in golf, and it will whether you are Rory McIlroy or John Doe, how you respond is critical. In 1990, unknown Mike Donald was on the verge of winning the U.S. Open. He lost in a playoff against Hale Irwin and was never heard from again until he emerged on the Champions Tour in 2005. Ben Hogan, on the other hand, almost died in a head on car crash in 1949, then came back and won 8 majors. And I shot 45 going out at Bennett Valley the other day, then came in with a 37. In golf, you never say die.

How a Simple Loving-Kindness Meditation Can Transform Your Life

Do you maybe want to become happy, wise, peaceful, or simply – a better person?

When you look deeply into your desire for change, you may find something uncomfortable at the bottom – a lack of self-love and self-acceptance.

In ancient teachings reaching right back to the time of the Buddha, we can find ways to cultivate loving-kindness toward ourselves and others.

Here’s the good news:

Each one of us has the capacity for boundless love and kindness.

That’s why it can’t be given or acquired.

We’re like water. Water can’t become any wetter, because being wet is not something apart from water.

In the same way, love and kindness are not attributes that we can add to our being. Our true self is loving and kind at its core.

Zen Master John Tarrant says :
If you are busy thinking you should be kind, you might miss the reality that kindness is already present. In you.

“Ok then,” – you might want to ask – “if that’s the case, why am I often grumpy and struggle to feel kindness in my heart?”

The answer is simple: our capacity for boundless love and kindness is buried deep within. So deep, that we sometimes can’t feel it at all. It’s as if the heart goes numb.

There is a way to uncover the natural radiance of your heart.

Where Should Your Focus be During a Golf Shot?

Attentional Focus describes how we direct our thoughts. Attentional Focus is either internal or external. Researchers agree that an external focus is necessary for optimal golf performance. The ball, mechanics, swing tempo, ball flight and distant targets (Target Orientation) are all sources of external Attentional Focus. Science has also concluded that changing thoughts or shifts in Attentional Focus cause eye movement and is destructive to golf performance. If you think about your mechanics (movement of your body or the club), swing tempo (movements of the club), or ball flight (movement of the ball) your thoughts shift to mentally follow that movement and so do your eyes.

The only two external sources of Attentional Focus where the mind and eyes remain completely quiet (don’t move) are the ball (Ball Orientation) and some distant target (Target Orientation). Which orientation produces superior performance? Because mentally focusing on the ball produces a condition referred to as ‘being ball bound’ where your body becomes so rigid during the swing that you fall back and away at impact, an Attentional Focus on the ball is not conducive to superior golf performance. This can be seen in golfers who have great practice swings that disintegrate into a series of slashes, swats, and lunges when hitting balls.

The point at which are eyes are directed (where we’re looking) is referred to as Visual Fixation. The point in space where our mind is directed is referred to as Attentional Focus. So, Attentional Focus differs from visual fixation. It must be noted that our attention can be directed at a point different than where our eyes are fixated. That means we must learn to look in one direction and keep our mind focused on another point. If we learn to keep our mind focused on the target throughout the swing it will keep our eyes fixated on the ball until slightly past impact when the body naturally turns the head forward.

If you were an archer both your eyes and mind would be focused on the target? If you were shooting free throws in basketball both your eyes and mind would be focused on the basket. How accurate do you think athletes be in these two sports if their eyes and mind wouldn’t be focused on the bull’s-eye in archery or basket in basketball?

Learn How to Master Your Golf Game Every Time!

Do you feel frustrated on the course when you’re unable to lower your score?

Are you stuck at your current score and can’t seem to get any better?

Do you ever feel so angry that you want to throw your clubs? Ever wonder why you keep hitting the same bad shot over and over again?

You don’t need to be a pro golfer to achieve the results you've always desired. However, it is essential to have the secrets every great golfer uses to play their best game and reach the Masters.

Lower your score once and for all!

You’ve come to the right website!

Hi, I am Nancy Seagal, your Mental Golf Guru.

I’ve been playing golf for 17 years, since 1992. I've faced all the challenges of most golfers. The frustration, anger, self doubt, and even embarrassment. Once I learned the secret mental tricks to playing golf, I lowered my score and increased my enjoyment! I’ve improved my game using these specific mental techniques, and I want to show you how.

These techniques are used by Record Breaking Gold Medal Olympic Champions and Professional Golf Masters.

Unfortunately, the average recreational golfer doesn’t even know about them. Many people who’ve used these techniques have not only improved their score, but gained the admiration and respect of their colleagues.

The secret is out!

What the golf pros don’t want you to know is now available exclusively for you. I am here to share this secret with you. Implementing them into your game will instantly give you an edge over the competition.

Did you know that 90% of your golf game is mental?

Zen Meditation: How to Enjoy It

Zen meditation is not only a way to feel more peaceful or get rid of stress – it’s an amazing journey into the unknown.

Maybe you are a beginner and have never meditated before. Or maybe you are an experienced meditator.

In any case, it’s important to approach meditation with Beginner’s Mind. Approach each meditation as if it were for the very first time.

Zen meditation is called Zazen.

Which simply means ‘seated meditation’. Read through the following instructions in order to find out how to do it. If you already know about that, read through anyhow. I’m sure you will find something to inspire you.

Preparation for Zazen

There are some basic practical steps you can take to make your sitting more comfortable.

    Find a time when you will be undisturbed. Take the phone off the hook and ask your partner, friends or others in the house not to disturb you for the time you will be meditating.

    It’s good to sit in a space that is quiet and uncluttered. Turn off the stereo or TV. For many of us it will be impossible to find total quiet and we may still hear neighbors playing loud music or cars racing in the street. That’s alright – it can help us come back to the present moment.

    It’s best not to meditate on a full stomach if you can, and wear comfortable loose clothing.

    You might want to create a small ritual before zazen to help set the scene and allow you to move into the meditative space. This may be as simple as lighting a candle, taking a short walk around the garden, or having a special cup of tea.

If you’re new to meditation, remember that it’s a practice. At first it will feel strange and awkward – but in time you’ll feel the benefits in your life.

The sound of silence

What's the point of being completely silent for three days? You could just be drinking cocktails by the pool.
"You're doing this for fun?" confused friends ask before I leave. After spending three days in 'noble silence' and meditating for 11 hours a day, several people with me on the silent retreat are asking the same question.

At the end of the final day, when the silence is finally broken, one woman admits she spent a fair bit of the time wondering why she hadn't just "booked into a resort and spent the weekend by the pool, sipping cocktails like everyone else."

And yet she is glad she didn't.

The beach at Bundagen.

The camping retreat is a dana-based vipassana or 'insight meditation'. Dana is sanskrit for gift and, in the context, means nobody 'pays'. You simply give what you can afford to be there and spend the time exploring mindfulness through meditation, silence and secular 'wisdom teachings.'

Tent in hand, I'm not feeling quite so sure I am doing this "for fun". I am also feeling uncomfortably naked at the thought of being without my phone and laptop, both of which have become, embarrassingly, as 'essential' to me as clothing.

But, I bid my attire adieu (my phone stays with me, without reception, for photos and as an alarm) and arrive at the location, set in the Bundagen community on the mid north coast. Fringed with gumtrees and spotted with scraggly bushland leading down to a stunning and isolated stretch of coast, it's the perfect place to bring life back to absolute basics and recalibrate. The beach is also the perfect place to get in touch, not just with your inner self, but your inner nudist - or more specifically, your inner nudist-bodysurfer.

Read more:

If You’re Too Busy to Meditate, Read This

People say the hardest part about meditating is finding the time to meditate. This makes sense: who these days has time to do nothing? It's hard to justify. Meditation brings many benefits: It refreshes us, helps us settle into what's happening now, makes us wiser and gentler, helps us cope in a world that overloads us with information and communication, and more. But if you're still looking for a business case to justify spending time meditating, try this one: Meditation makes you more productive.

How? By increasing your capacity to resist distracting urges.

Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them. (Image via Yuri Arcurs.)

Our ability to resist an impulse determines our success in learning a new behavior or changing an old habit. It's probably the single most important skill for our growth and development.

As it turns out, that's one of the things meditation teaches us. It's also one of the hardest to learn.

When I sat down to meditate this morning, relaxing a little more with each out-breath, I was successful in letting all my concerns drift away. My mind was truly empty of everything that had concerned it before I sat. Everything except the flow of my breath. My body felt blissful and I was at peace.

For about four seconds.

Within a breath or two of emptying my mind, thoughts came flooding in—nature abhors a vacuum. I felt an itch on my face and wanted to scratch it.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Physical Benefits of Zen Meditation

What comes to mind when the benefits of Zen meditation are mentioned? Most people will mention the spiritual and mental benefits of the meditation process. Such statements are accurate but they are not entirely complete. That is, there are physical benefits to Zen meditation as well. This is a very good thing because you cannot have a healthy mind or spirit if your body is weak.

When you meditate regularly you will discover your sleep becomes more restful. This is no minor benefit. Having proper and deep sleeping patterns help your body with its metabolic function. This is because muscle repairs itself during the body’s resting stage. As a result, your ability to develop lean muscle mass is optimized. This will have many benefits towards your overall health and fitness levels.

There have been numerous reports that regular meditation can improve the immune system. A stronger immune system means you will be more resistance to common colds, flu, and other maladies. It also means you can recover quicker from when these “bugs” affect you.

We often equate alleviating stress with mental health but it also goes hand in hand with physical health. That is because a person who lives relatively stress free will not be susceptible to the common (serious) ailments that can affect the heart. To say that a healthy heart is vital to living a long and healthy life would be a dramatic understatement.

Additionally, Zen meditation has been reported to reduce cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol are often blamed for heart ailments. So, consider Zen meditation’s positive impact on cholesterol levels yet another way it can improve heart health.

Zen meditation has been known to reduce blood pressure. This is often attributed due to the calming effect that meditation provides. Considering the fact that high blood pressure often contributes to a number of maladies, the ability of Zen meditation to lower blood pressure is a huge plus.

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Drive Time

Hit monster tee shots and keep them in the short stuff


When you address the ball, your driver head naturally rests on the turf. But since the ball is elevated on a tee, your club isn't exactly "square" to the ball. To fix this, you have to do one of two things. Raising your club at address is the first option. But the problem with this is if you raise the clubhead, it extends a little bit away from you, so that the ball is now closer to your club's heel. The best way to—ahem—address this issue is to position the ball toward the toe at address. That way when you return the club at impact (and it's naturally higher), you won't hit the ball on the toe, you'll hit it in the center of the face.


Many golfers make steep swings. This, however, is a guaranteed "death move" if you want to drive the ball well. In order to effectively flatten your swing shape to a motion more conducive to hitting good drives, I suggest bending over more at address. By doing this, you'll steepen your shoulder tilt, and that will force you to create a shallower, more rounded swing shape with your arms, thus producing a more sweeping cut at contact. At first, it will feel a little strange, but from what I've seen on the range, just bending over at address will round your swing and produce shots you've only dreamed of.


No, I'm not training for an upcoming fight. I'm making a fist and a punching motion, which looks a lot like how I want my students' left hand to look at the top of their swings. Getting your left wrist into a "hitting" position at the top of the backswing provides a couple things: a shorter backswing, which results in a stable motion; and a square clubface, which is necessary if you want to consistently deliver a square hit at impact. And, really, who doesn't want to do that? Go ahead, make a swing without a club and feel that punch. Then grip the club and remember that feeling!

Read the rest here..

Trouble Shots

Golf is a lot like life. Some days everything comes easily; other days nothing seems to go your way. But just like life, there are ways to deal with the ups and downs. Helping people figure this out is just one of the many reasons why I love to teach the game.

One challenge is how to deal with bad breaks. In my experience, golfers who can handle them the best usually come out on top. Read on to learn how you can best escape from these tough situations and get your game back on track.

Learning how to chip the ball well will help you save strokes, but it also has side benefits. Here are a few variations of the chip shot that will help you save shots around the greens, and maybe even help your full swing, too!

1 Hit A Low Hook Around A Tree

When I was a kid, I loved trying to make my shots hook and slice on purpose. It was fun seeing my ball curve around trees, and it helped me get out of a few tough situations, too. To hit your shot around a tree so it ends up back in a safe place, you first have to have a proper setup.

I start by aligning my body (feet, hips and shoulders) on the path I want the ball to start on (to the right of the tree). Then I align my clubface to where I want the ball to finish (in this case, the flagstick). Once that’s established, I swing my club along my body line. The ball will start out on that line and curve around the tree toward the end target.

The final key to curving the ball is to finish properly. If I want to hook the ball more, I swing the club into a flatter finish; if I want to slice it, I finish into a steeper finish.

2 The Tee Shot That Doesn’t Set Up For You

Why Living a Life of Gratitude Can Make You Happy

Many days, I try to humble myself and hold a 2-minute gratitude session. I simply sit or kneel, with no distractions, close my eyes, and think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful for.
I don’t do it every day, but let me tell you, on the days I do it, it makes me very happy.
Why should that be? Why should the simple act of thinking about who and what I’m grateful for make such a big difference in my life?

Just a few reasons:
  • Because it reminds you of the positive things in your life. It makes you happy about the people in your life, whether they’re loved ones or just a stranger you met who was kind to you in some ways.
  • Because it turns bad things into good things. Having problems at work? Be grateful you have work. Be grateful you have challenges, and that life isn’t boring. Be grateful that you can learn from these challenges. Be thankful they make you a stronger person.
  • Because it reminds you of what’s important. It’s hard to complain about the little things when you give thanks that your children are alive and healthy. It’s hard to get stressed out over paying bills when you are grateful there is a roof over your head.
  • Because it reminds you to thank others. I’ll talk about this more below, but the simple act of saying “thank you” to someone can make a big difference in that person’s life. Calling them, emailing them, stopping by to say thank you … just taking that minute out of your life to tell them why you are grateful toward them is important to them. People like being appreciated for who they are and what they do. It costs you little, but makes someone else happy. And making someone else happy will make you happy.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Yoga Posture To Calm the Mind and Enhance Concentration Power

There are yoga postures which help to calm of your mind and enhancing your power of concentration. Actually our mind wavers especially with too many distractions around us. When we do not have any control over our mind, it continues to be restless and flits from one thought to another. Regular practice of yoga helps to focus your mind and thus increasing your memory.

The yoga posture that will benefit you are :

Surya Namaskar (The Sun Salutation Pose)

There are 12 variations of poses. It is not only beneficial for the whole body but also improves the memory.

1. Stand straight. Bring your palms together in prayer position.

2 . Inhaling raise your arms over your head keeping your palms together.

3. Exhale and then bend forward until your hands can comfortably touch your feet.

4. Inhaling stretch your right leg back, arch back and lift your chin.

5. Exhaling stretch your left leg back into a plank position, keeping your spine and legs in a straight line and supporting your weight on your hands and feet.

6. Holding your breath, lower your knees, chest and forehead keeping your hips up and toes curling under.

7. Inhaling stretch forward and bend back, keeping your arms straight.

8. As you exhale, curl your toes and press down into your heels and lift your hips.

9. Inhale and move your left leg back with the top of your foot stretched out straight on the floor. Lift your chin and look up.

10. Exhale and then bend forward until your hands can touch your feet.

11. Inhale and stretch your arms forward and over your head. Gradually bend backwards from your waist.

12. Exhaling come back to the standing position.

Padmasana (The Lotus Pose)

Golf And The Art Of Concentration

Concentration is the root of golf mastery. It is much more than the ability of not being distracted or even visualizing the golf shot.

Granted, hardly any of the authors of ANY golf training book have comprehensive training in golf psychology, so let me give you some tips for peak concentration on the golf course. I'm not talking about "grinding" out on the golf course...this will burn you out early in the round and mentally deplete you.

First off, dance with which you brought to the other words, don't try to fix your golf swing out on the course. There is plenty of time to fix your swing on the range after the round. Your job on the course is to play golf, not play need to score!

Your thoughts need to be focused on getting the golf ball into the cup in the least amount of strokes possible...the object of the game! (How soon we forget this fact) The only things you should be thinking about while you plan your golf shot is the target, distance, direction, wind speed, your lie...and any other factor that comes into play.

Forget about your last shot and what score you might shoot. Only concentrate on the golf shot at hand. You must discipline yourself to stay in the moment...this takes time to master...if you want to become an accomplished golfer you will master this skill.

Once upon a time your ability to concentrate was incredible. Before you could think or understand what words are. This was when you were a baby. Your brain was a sponge. As a baby you could hold your attention on anything in your field of vision without any distracting thoughts.

As you got older and learned how to talk and to think you soon became aware of that little voice inside your head that seems to be with you during every waking moment. It is that little voice that you can't quiet no matter how hard you try. It is always telling you that the golf shot is too hard, or that other golfer is better than you.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

10 Steps to a Zen-like Working Environment

For today’s knowledge workers, every distraction is a drain on productivity and sanity. Every ringing phone, instant message, flashing email reminder, pile of papers, cluttered sticky notes and phone messages and knick knacks and memo posted on the wall — each of these things slows you down, wastes your time and energy, and stresses you out.

To achieve calm, and simple productivity, create a Zen-like working environment.

Imagine for a minute that your desk is completely clear, except your computer monitor, keyboard and mouse, your inbox and phone, and perhaps a framed photo of a loved one. Imagine the walls around you are free of visual clutter, except for a photo or painting or two of a serene nature scene.

You are able to focus, you can crank out your tasks, and you can lower your level of stress.

It’s not hard. Here’s how:

•    Clear papers. Take all the papers on your desk, and around your desk, and put them in your inbox. If they don’t fit, just put them in a single pile. Now go through that pile, one document at a time. Don’t put any document back on the pile — deal with it immediately, and then move on to the next document, until you’ve cleared the pile (this may take several sessions for some people). With each document, your choices are to 1) Trash; 2) Delegate; 3) File immediately, 4) Do it immediately; or 5) Put the action on your to-do list and the document in an “action” folder.

•    Clear clutter. Now clear as much of the other stuff on your desk as possible. And it’s all possible. Knick knacks, post-its and phone messages (those should go in the inbox to be processed), most of your framed photos, folders, etc.

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Benefits of Daily Meditation: Turning Back the Hands of Time

Have you ever daydreamed of turning back the clock to a more youthful, more energetic, more carefree time in life? Or perhaps having at your disposal a magical cosmic Undo button that could erase certain effects that have accumulated over the course of time—from stress, abuse, or other erosive habits that have left you with less than perfect health or a waning enthusiasm for life.

I experienced the need for a second chance at a clean slate earlier in life than most. I was only 25 when I received a diagnosis of cancer. That cancer was just the last in a whole host of serious problems I’d had. Those of you who are familiar with my story know that I had a horrendous childhood filled with sexual and emotional abuse. I’m certain I had post-traumatic stress disorder by the time I was four. By my teenage years, I was a complete wreck. At that point, I began doing everything possible to numb my feelings and run from them—I smoked, drank, took drugs, and acted out promiscuously. I was anxious. I was depressed. When my cancer announcement came, it was really time for a change. By then, I needed some truly powerful help to undo all that I had been through so that I could continue to live.

Amazingly, I found it—the way to turn back time and release the many effects of all of the stress that my mind and body had endured. That way was meditation. A daily practice of 20 minutes, twice a day, gave me much more clarity to address my disease and ultimately helped me to heal my cancer, release my addictions, and end my destructive streak and get on my true life path. I can honestly say that meditation is the best thing I have ever done for myself. So much so, that I haven’t missed a single day of it in 30 years.

Golf Short Game Chipping Practice Tips, Ideas and Suggestions

Short Game Golf Master Class

- Turn 5 into 4
- Get up and down every time with our key short game recovery shots.

Many average golfers achieve little success at basic greenside recovery shots.
Improvement in your short game can reduce your scores dramatically.
Crowlands Heath Head Golf Professional Chris Jenkins will offer you a few short game ideas which you will find easy to implement into your own game.

Expert Chipping

Typically, I find that club golfers tend to use the same club, usually one of their wedges, for all chip and pitch shots around the green. That is fine if you have a sound technique and endless hours to refine your feel for distance, and judgement of spin. For those who don’t have endless hours to practise golf, a more reliable and consistent method involves the use of a variety of different clubs to get the ball close:

The idea is for the ball always to land a couple of feet onto the green, where the bounce is more predictable. Simply vary your club selection to produce sufficient roll to get the ball to the hole. This might be a wedge if the flag is close to you or it might be as high as a 5 iron if the flag is at the far side of the green. You can even use a rescue club or wood if you feel that’s the club which is needed to get the ball to the hole (fig.6).

Using this method is easier because you are always looking to land the ball in the same spot. Choosing the correct club, will dictate the spin and roll of the ball. There is less emphasis on ‘feel’ with this method, as opposed to what is required when a single club is relied upon to produce this shot to a variety of landing areas.