Guru Sattvananda (Keith ap Owen), President of the Sunbury Yoga Society, tackles the thorny question of golf prowess and leg lifts. The following was an e-mail received from a recently-joined member of the Sunbury Yoga Society.
Q U E S T I O N : What sort of yoga sessions have you done with golfers?
Thanks for last night’s session. I enjoyed the leg lift part, although I could only manage a shockingly short time. What a surprise as I consider myself pretty fit! I’m still having trouble ‘shutting my mind off’ while meditating though – I think it’s going to take some time to get the hang of it.
You’ve mentioned working with golfers a few times, which I find interesting, as I’ve ‘tried’ to play golf for the last 5 years. I still struggle and most of it, I feel, is mental. I know I’m very capable of hitting a decent golf shot. What sort of sessions have you done with golfers and could you please tell me more about it?
A N S W E R : Fitness is a difficult word to define. Being ‘fit for a purpose’, is presumably what most people mean by it, and there are a multitude of challenges for us to choose from, golf being one of them. Lifting your legs off the floor is another, and I’m sure you can think of many more.
Fitness and health are not necessary ‘co-conditions’. I have worked with many people who would have been considered physically fit but were at the same time suffering from serious diseases. Furthermore, fitness does not mean ‘physical control’. One of the downsides of post-sixties ‘āsanas yoga’ is this very problem. If the body is pushed continuously into various energetic shapes by using the mind only, the power is only transitory and can eventually lead to damaging the body.
The ancients discovered this and learned to differentiate between mind and Consciousness – through pure observation. That observation is what we now call (rather inadequately) meditation. What they brought to light was how the mind was dominated by an endless amount of ‘memory banks’ amassed both in our own lifetime, as well as those inherited from our ancestors. These memory records tended to be forcefully held in by inertia, highly resistant to change, and much of it emotionally-charged.
So, development and progress cannot come from the mind alone. That is not its function. Real change can only be initiated from a point of Consciousness. This, hopefully, is what we are all developing on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings although, as you have already experienced, this it is no easy ride.
Although meditation is relatively simple, the application is hard. When Man finds difficulties in assimilating any knowledge, he tends to create intellectual mind labyrinths of complications. It could almost be interpreted as a method of hiding his own deficiencies, lack of comprehension, in an act of suppression; and unlike Theseus, omitting to take his ball of thread (sutra) with him, Consciousness. The resultant prolixity is becoming, temporarily anyway, accepted as fact and the myth continues to grow!
As young neophytes we were informed by our own mentors that ultimately the practice of meditation is to efficiently and economically initiate Will into action purely through passive observation!
Thank you for your emailed question, I hope it assists you. Namaste,
Guru Sattvananda (Keith ap Owen), President of the Sunbury Yoga Society.