This is the second of an eight-part series on the ‘Golf Obstacles’ inspired by Patanjali’s Yoga Sūtra.
It’s not a matter of if the obstacles will show up, but when. The timeless wisdom of Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra tells us the obstacles are the path. We learn to hit out of the metaphorical divots, hazards and bunkers along the way.
Physical and Mental Laziness (Sanskrit: styāna and ālasya): Stuck in these two obstacles, we are doomed to mediocrity. A lack of motivation to practice or to give each shot our best effort will eventually cause problems. Golf requires a tremendous quantity of quality training to become proficient. Physical and mental laziness hinder the effort critical for improvement.
styāna: ‘to grow dense’, dullness, lethargy, sloth, fatigue, lack of enthusiasm, procrastination. This can also be a state of physical lethargy. The big greasy burger we ate at the turn isn’t going to make for an energetic back nine!
ālasya: lack of focus, bad mental habits, continuing to succumb to a life of comfort, feeling devoid of all purpose and experience discontent, self-pity. B.K.S. Iyengar describes ālasya as having no goal and no path.
With both styāna and ālasya, golf becomes a chore, full of drudgery. If we are not deeply interested in something our minds and our senses become dull due to a lack of purpose. This lack of direction makes us physically exhausted and mentally unenthusiastic. The motivation to improve doesn’t exist and the mind avoids discomfort. Resigning to these obstacles, our mind slips into the state of the “muddy mind” (mudha). Trapped in this mental dullness, we cannot focus on the target and have no concentration. (Or last night’s New Year’s Eve party can have the same next day effect)
Confined by these obstacles, we look for a metaphorical elevator to improve our games instead of taking the stairs. We want the easy route to a new golf swing or a better putting stroke and can’t deal with being uncomfortable so we seek the shortcut. When we can’t find it, we quit.
Golf is not for the lazy person. There are no shortcuts. We must be committed to work with the entire application of our energy and minds. We must do something to regain our enthusiasm or the two obstacles of styāna and ālasyawill obstruct our progress. Grab some caffeine, muster up some motivation and get to work.
Dodie Mazzuca is the founder of Golf PROformance and teaches golf and Mindfulness for Golf programs in Santa Cruz, CA.