Golf Hypnosis and the Mental Game, with Bee Epstein-Shepherd, Ph.D.

I have to be honest. I have never played golf and know nothing about it.  And for the life of me, I can’t figure out why people love it so much. I always hear from my dad and husband how they had a bad game and it’s expensive. Then I think, why in the world are people so crazy over golf?

But I have seen some tournaments on TV that have impressed me and I get caught up with (even though I try not to get too excited because I don’t want my husband to get the impression that I actually want to watch it.)

So the reason I took this class? Well, because I know there are so many of you that do love golf and because it’s not an easy game, I thought you could use some insider tips. And boy, these tips are priceless. Not just for golf, these really can be applied to almost anything.

According to Jack Nicklaus, golf is 90% a mental game.

Bee Epstein-Shepherd, who is here at the ranch regularly, gave me so much insight, not only into playing a game of golf better, but also playing the game of life better.

She went on to explain that the reason pro athletes, whether it be golf or basketball, are able to make those incredible shots that make us go, “how did they do that?” is because they are playing with their subconscious mind instead of the conscious mind.

It actually makes a lot of sense.  You practice and practice until you have the right swing down.  Our subconsious remembers the muscles that we use, our posture, the movement, everything.  That’s why we need to reach that state of letting our subconsious mind take over, trusting it to do the job.  In those split seconds that it takes to swing the club, our conscious mind only gets in the way.

According to Bee, these are the six steps you need to take before you make that swing:

  • The 3/5 Breath: Take a breath in through your nose into your belly (like a yoga breath) while counting to three, then release the breath through your mouth while counting to five.  This will relax you, focus you and let your subconsciousness take over.
  • Pick where you want the ball to land, keep eye on the target while taking the breath and tell your subconscious where the target is.
  • Never say “I hope” or “don’t.”  This will confuse your subconscious mind.
  • Never think of the bad shot you took before and never think of the last time you were on that hole.  Be in the moment.
  • Take your practice swing after you relax, focus and visualize.  The reason for this is that practice swing will be what your subconscious mind will revert to when you take the shot that counts.
  • Mentally rehearse exactly how you want to see yourself play.  Study and play the course in your mind before you even step foot on the grass.

As you can see, these techniques can apply to almost anything in life.  However, we all know that golf is a very hard game, right?  And I’ve already told my husband the techniques.  I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

Meditation with Swami Nityamuktenanda Saraswati

group meditation, health retreat, health spa, meditation, swami

Ashram Week has probably been my most meaningful week here so far.  There’s always a certain calmness at the Ranch, but I would say especially during this week.  In fact, it’s been almost magical.  It’s come in the middle of a very chaotic time in my life and it was honestly just what I needed to calm things down and put life into perspective.

I’m like most other people who are new to meditation.  With my life being so busy, I find it extremely hard to sit still and calm my mind.  However, when I’m able to do it, even if it’s just for a minute, it’s so gratifying and refreshing.

The meditation was guided by Swami Nityamuktenanda Saraswati in the Oaktree Pavilion.  The room was adorned in beautiful orange saffron drapes that matched her robe.  Since the meditation was in the morning the light from the sun made the drapes glow which was just beautiful.  Perfect setting for a morning meditation.

We focused on breathing through our belly and diaphragm, taking deep breaths in and making sure that our inhales and exhales were even.  Then, we added a mantra to our breathing to help us stay focused.  We could either come up with our own mantra or chant So Hum, a well-known mantra.  Or we could even say 1, 2…anything that was simple and kept us focused on our breath.

It sounds easy enough, but I had a really difficult time with it!  My mind was racing and it was definitely a struggle to stay focused.  However, like anything you do for the first time, it gets easier the more you practice.  It was really amazing and inspiring to watch Swami Nitya because she is so at ease during the meditation and her lectures.  Even though the meditation was not easy for me (even Swami Nitya told us it was very difficult for her when she first started) I want to continue to work at it.  I’ve seen it change people’s lives, my father being one of them.  Also, I have to say, that for my first time in a group meditation, I’m pretty lucky to have been in the presence of Swami Nityamuktenanda Saraswati.