'Art of Living' for the spirit of golf
Apr 21, 2007 - 12:03:05 PM

Kathmandu, April 21 - Here's some good news for all golfers. If you are hitting the rough every time you raise the club, then try yoga - that too in the midst of the Himalayas.

Believe it or not, taking up yogic exercises imparted by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living Foundation can really improve your game, the organizers say.

And some of the golfers who are here for the first such programme at Le Meridian Gokarna Forest Golf Resort and Spa are already experiencing it.

Around 60 people have signed up for the five-day course named 'Spirit of Golf'. Besides locals there are golfers who have come from as far as Dubai and Mauritius.

Golf is a mental game as much as it is physical, and this unique programme that combines golfing and meditation is helping the golfers bring equilibrium to the mind and body and also raise the level of their game, the players say.

'In the golfing world, the whole mental side of the game, which is about concentrating, is very much a topic of debate. This workshop is really the first of its kind and the knowledge we are getting will really help to improve my game,' said Robbie Greenfield, a British golfer who lives in Dubai.

Greenfield, who has also taken part in the Ryder Cup, said the lessons of Art of Living like pranayams, sudarshana kriya, yoga and interactive sessions will help the golfers to strike the perfect balance of mind, body, breath and spirit.

'Golfing is a very technical sport, and the focus is on the technique of the swing. But what professionals have been advocating for years is that there is more to the game than just the swing. It's more of a mind game, like chess.'

Greenfield says that to enable one's mind to be stronger is just as helpful, if not more helpful, than actually improving one's physical technique.

'I feel that the course will help me to get the right mental attitude. Honing mental skills is a growing trend in the game. Every professional in golf uses a mind coach. So hopefully I will learn how to prepare my mind better for the shots and to be more at ease on the golf course mentally,' he said.

According to instructor Vikram Hazra, who is also the programme director of the Art of Living Foundation, the module for this course was designed after months of research.

'We extensively did our research for months and then prepared this model. After this course, the golfers would be able to handle their stress, which at times gets the better of them. It will also help them to cut off from the external world when they take their stance to hit the ball,' he said.

The module of the course is tailor-made for golfers and their families. The workshop starts at dawn in the courtyard of the resort set amid 700 acres of forest, of which 10 acres have been converted into an 18-hole golf course.

Then comes breakfast and daylong golfing at the picturesque par-72 course, designed by the famous Gleneagles group of Scotland. The course is set in the midst of the Gokarna forest surrounded by the exotic Himalayas, which add to the serenity of the ambience.

Golfers' families who have signed up will be taken on sightseeing expeditions, forest walks, temple trails and meditation routines in the forest. In the evening, there will be music, dance, dinner and relaxation.

The organizers say that at $1,200 per person on twin-sharing basis, excluding airfare, it might seem a bit steep. But if your pockets are deep and golfing is your passion, then it will be worth it. So get ready to pack your bags and golf kit for a Himalayan experience.

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