The Moving Meditation

By Nicole Dorsey Straff / September 12, 2011

To master the keen and ancient art of archery, the ability to concentrate with laser-beam focus is the key to success. Instructor Rho Densmore (shown) says, “A successful archer learns how to center herself and not allow external distractions to interfere with the shot. Like meditation, the person shooting a bow must learn to be present, in the here and now.”

During a typical lesson, Densmore, who holds World and State Championship archery titles, suggests beginners shoot a blank bale (with no bull’s-eye on the target) and progress to a larger target. For fun, she often places balloons in the field. “There is something very rewarding when an archer shoots a balloon and gets the instant gratification of the popping sound,” Densmore says. “The three most important aspects of introducing people to the sport are that students know they’re safe at all times, that complete precision can be fun, and that shooting a bow is a very empowering and meditative experience,” she says. “I discovered archery in November of 2002 at the age of 39 when a friend bought me a $2 archery lesson at a local fair. It was after shooting the second arrow when an amazing, peaceful feeling came over me that I knew something significant had happened.”

It can happen to you, too! Several spas offer archery lessons including The Golden Door Spa in Escondido, California; LeSport Spa in St. Lucia in the Caribbean; and the Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol just outside Innsbruck, in Austria.


  • Allow your instructor to determine your dominant eye and hand.
  • Learn postural steps and proper form for standing to address the bow.
  • Bring the conscious mind back again and again to the process at hand.
  • Be patient as you hold, raise, and shoot the bow, then release the string.
  • Learn how to consciously aim and breathe through each shot.
Nicole Dorsey Straff

Nicole Dorsey Straff

Nicole Dorsey, M.S. is a travel and wellness expert who earned a Master’s Degree in the health sciences while writing and editing for industry giants, such as The New York Times, Fitness Magazine and Her true passion is adventure travel and her spa reporting has taken her all over the world.
Nicole Dorsey Straff

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