The Taoist art of Standing Meditation describes the process of standing still like a post or stake, which is sunk into the ground. It is a traditional form of ‘power training’ used in Tai Chi and is an extremely beneficial practice for golfers looking for more structural stability and mental relaxation.
Standing exercises are an excellent way to examine posture, body alignment, relaxation levels, the breathing process and the activity of the mind and how it affects the body. By simply standing still, we are getting rid of any stimuli which can impair our ability to “listen” to our body and examine its state.
Moreover, as we can learn to let the force of gravity drop through the body into the ground, we can relax the muscles over the top of good skeletal alignment, helping us move more quickly and fluidly, thus developing greater club-head speed and distance.
WUJI – the Infinity Posture Stand with your feet shoulder-width wide, toes pointing slightly out. Unlock your knees and relax your lower back, allowing your tailbone to gently unfurl towards the floor. Relax your chest and become aware of your feet in contact with the floor. Imagine the crown of your head is suspended from above, as if by a thread. Look one mile into the distance.
HOLDING the BALL – the Universal Post Empty your chest and raise your arms slowly until your palms are in line with your shoulders. Hold your arms as if you were hugging a large beach ball – keep your elbows pointing outwards and relax your shoulders.
HOLDING the T’AN TIEN – navel area Return to a more upright posture, as per Wuji posture, with your knees unlocked but not bent. Slowly lower your arms and place your hands on top of your navel.
- empty your chest
- concentrate on your navel area and take deep breaths
- fill up your footprints
3 - 5 minutes in each posture, in the order shown
Build a Strong, Athletic Setup
To build ground-force energy, you need to stay rooted both at setup and throughout your swing. The practice and applications of Standing Meditation will help you build strong bio-mechanics and will also help you to master your bio-chemistry (nerves and adrenaline) so that you can retain your swing mechanics any time you’re under pressure during a round.
Hollow your chest: The Tai Chi phrase is, “Relax your chest to find your feet”. As you empty or hollow your chest you will instantly release tension from your upper body and start to feel more connected to the ground.
Breathe deeply: Lowering your centre of awareness, by concentrating your mind at the navel, is a key focus in both Tai Chi and chi-performance GOLF training. As you gently focus on your navel, you will find that you start to breathe more deeply and slowly and this in turn helps you combat anxiety.
Fill up your footprints: Many golfers I work with feel they are setup to the ball well, but a gentle shove in the sternum sees them fall backwards into the driving bay, proving they are neither rooted nor relaxed over the ball! Focusing on your feet keeps you grounded.
It may take a while to integrate these focuses into your setup, but the more you practice Standing Meditation – emptying your chest, breathing deeply and staying grounded – they will become second nature and help you (as the enigmatic teacher Shivas Irons remarked in Michael Murphy’s classic book ‘Golf in the Kingdom’) “build a solid place to swing from”.
To explore this training in more depth you can take my online course ‘Recreating the Perfect Golf Shot’. This course consists of three videos, with MP3 downloads to play in the car and on your mobile device, plus a special bonus training report. Please view and signup for the course here.