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    The Inner Fitness Frontier

    1-PHOTO-JamieZimron2I usually start out my golf seminars asking people a pretty basic question: “What makes your golf ball go?” Even if you’re not a golfer, which I’m guessing most of you reading this aren’t (!), think for a moment what you would answer. Usually it’s something like, “Well, I hit it!” Then come increasingly sophisticated ideas, about momentum, impact, force, physics, transferring mental energy and intention. Those are all well and good, but even the idea of ‘energy transfer’ begs the question, “Where does the energy come from?”

    So, here’s my answer: YOU make your golf ball go! That may seem obvious now, but it’s incredibly important and much overlooked. A golf club has no idea what to do, or any ability to swing or hit, until you come along and put it in your hands. The same is true for even the genius of your computer or smartphone. You swing the club; you touch the screen and press the buttons. It’s like asking: What makes you tick? Your inner energy is what activates everything you touch, and influences everyone you interact with.

    The East has special words – Ki/Chi/prana/kundalini – for what we in the West at best call ‘life-energy’ or ‘life-force.’ Our minds are used to considering material things as ‘real,’ while Ki is invisible and sounds ‘woo woo,’ something esoteric perhaps suitable for yogis, but not athletes or scientists or CEOs.

     

    In fact, life-energy is quite palpable and real. It’s presence, or absence, is what makes the difference between a sleeping body and a corpse. We will probably never know just where Ki comes from, or where it ultimately goes. But while we’re alive, it is a definite animating force within our bodies and all around us. It’s what makes everything possible, moving through breath and enabling us to think, feel, move, act and experience the world. A golfer, starting at 0 miles per hour, in barely 2 seconds of swing motion, delivers her Ki through the club generating 70-100 mph of club head speed into the ball, to launch and guide it down the fairway to the green. All of her energy systems – moving (body), thinking (mind), feeling (emotion) and purpose (spirit) – come into intense play, requiring finely tuned coordination and synchronization.1-Zimron-kiai_1423

    What all of this means is that being the master and manager of your life-energy is essential. The good, and bad, news is that it is all about you! You are in charge of you, for better or for worse. What foods and drugs you put in your body, what thoughts you think, what you say when you talk to yourself and others, what emotions you dwell on, where you put your attention and focus, the quality of your rest and recreation … these are all energetic matters, that matter to your health, relationships and ability to prosper and succeed.

    Energy actually has measurable vibrational frequency, at a cellular level. A salad from McDonald’s has a lower vibration than ‘live greens’ fresh from the farm. We’re high and buzzing, or down and dragging. Positive thinking carries higher vibrational power, so it  works better than negative thinking. The same is true for higher consciousness and feeling states such as love, compassion, confidence and serenity when compared to ‘baser’ emotions such as apathy, jealousy, anger and revenge. My approach to golf psychology is called “Rising to Lower Scores” and teaches skills to be in, or return to, higher vibrational states, as opposed to falling into bummed-out curse mode that leads to poor performance and higher scores.

    Deepak Chopra, the Indian-American physician who is a global voice for integrative medicine, talks about becoming ‘astronauts of inner space.’ We are so conditioned to seek externally, that we miss the frontiers of our own internal fitness, which could propel us forward in incredible new ways in our lives. We’re like golfers buying the latest new driver or putter or app, watching The Golf Channel more, fiddling with the next change in grip or stance … only to still feel perpetually frustrated. Good golf, and good living, is not rocket science! It’s discovering inner space; developing your talents and mind-body skills; keeping your Ki tuned-up in higher, rather than lower, frequencies; and doing simple daily practices to center, breathe, ground, relax, clear and balance your life-energy.

    Here’s a quick and powerful “centering” practice: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your lower belly, a little below your navel. Martial arts and meditation masters call this hara in Japanese/t’an-tien in Chinese. It’s your physical center of gravity, and one point where all mental and emotional energy comes to settle when you focus there. Now imagine a bowling ball dropping down through your torso and landing in your lower abdomen, like in the bottom of a bowl. Knees bend slightly as the weight of the ball fills the center of your body. Feel your legs and feet connecting to the earth. Enjoy exhaling, letting go. Allow your mind to settle in your belly, forgetting any thoughts or worries. Relax any shoulder or body tension into hara, your center.

    It’s no accident that the Buddha had a big belly, and found enlightenment just settling there sitting under a tree. There’s something very key about being aware of, and focusing, your Ki. Until next time, try exploring energetic ‘inner space’ and unlocking new inner frontiers for well-being and success!

    For more information about Jamie Leno Zimron and her work, please visit www.thekiaiway.com.