(This is the fifth of a five part series inspired by yoga’s systemization of inner wisdom and the ‘Qualities of Mind’)
“In yoga (and golf) we are simply trying to create the conditions in which the mind becomes as useful as possible for our actions.” –T.K.V. Desikachar
Like the calm eye of a hurricane, as mindful golfers we can access the highest quality of the mind (nirodha) to play our best golf. Step out of the tranquil eye and into the cyclonic chatter and we are right back into the myriad of swing thoughts, monkey mind, self criticism, and the lower qualities of mind-states. (Anyone who as played golf in Florida, especially LPGA Tour School, knows hurricanes exist both externally and internally.)
As the yogic wisdom advises, to access great golf we must work towards the highest quality of the mind: nirodha. Nirodha-what? (Translated from Sanskrit. Rudh: To be wrapped in. Ni: with great intensity.). It’s also translated as “limit” or “restraint”. The mind has become so focused that no other mental activities can penetrate it, “TOTAL ABSORPTION”.
Yes! This (nirodha) is the “ZONE” or “FLOW STATE”. This is the concentrated mind that is absorbed in the golf shot with great awareness, fused with the target and merged with the hole on every putt. It is the complete integration with the shot at hand. . .for 18 holes.
After chasing the monkey mind (ksipta), the muddy mind (mudha) and the oscillating mind (viksipta), we turn towards the one pointed mind (ekagrata)and finally arrive at total absorption (nirodha). Following yoga’s inner wisdom, we use the ancient advice to access our highest mind-state for great golf. . .and we leave the cyclonic golf adventures for the other players.
Dodie Mazzuca is the founder of Golf PROformance and teaches golf and mindset programs in Santa Cruz, CA.