MUCH MORE project Turku tested archery and experienced moments of mindfulness.
Take a good position and stand straight. Be calm, breathe and relax. Concentrate, concentrate and concentrate. Focus on the target.
This might sound like some kind of mindfulness or meditation practice but actually I’m talking about archery – a sport that MUCH MORE team in Turku tried last week.
The group of six men participated in this peer group session that was a bit different from any other group sessions we have had before. Two trainers from a local archery team taught our Much More group the basic techniques. None of the group participants had tried archery before. To them it was something totally new.
During this group session the men hardly talked though speaking was not denied. The guys who normally tell jokes stayed nearly quiet this time. That’s because speaking while shooting arrows is nearly impossible. Multi-tasking and archery is a combination that just doesn’t work.
Archery is demanding though the basic technique is quite simple. It seems that you just need to stand and shoot. But if your mind is wandering it is nearly impossible to hit the target. Relaxation, focusing and concentration are necessary for perfect shots. You must really calm your nerves before you can release the bowstring and shoot. Otherwise you don’t shoot well.
This is how practicing archery resembles practicing mindfulness, the art of being present. Archery can teach you how to control your attention and regulate your emotions. It can help you to become more mindful and more able to concentrate.
We finished our archery session with a playful shooting competition. Our clients got a chance to release their inner Robin Hood. It was fun and freeing. All in all – they enjoyed themselves and left the group session happy and calm. We managed to hit the bulls-eye.
By Terhi Toppala, Blue Ribbon Association of Southwest Finland