Over the past few years, the Indian men and women’s teams have made yoga a part of their routine. With the game demanding the best out of the players, practising yoga has had several benefits in keeping their minds and body fit.
The teams have expressed how adding this ancient practice has helped them in their performance.
Hardik Singh, men’s vice captain, said: “At first when we were introduced to Yoga, we felt like it was too slow and it was not easy to get all the asanas right. Many of us preferred pumping weights in the gym to practising an hour of yoga. But eventually, we have come to realise that practising Yoga has helped tremendously in the power of mindfulness.
“Today, Yoga has become an integral part of our regime. Personally, it helps me focus better and particularly after my injury during the World Cup, Yoga has helped me in the recovery process. I feel a lot more relaxed after Yoga sessions and it has also helped us focus better,” added the prolific midfielder.
Echoing Hardik’s thoughts, Navneet Kaur, women’s vice captain, urged people to practice yoga for their overall well-being. She said, “Yoga is part of our weekly routine and it has immensely helped us to manage our stress levels. It relaxes our body, particularly after a heavy session, and some of the asanas have greatly helped us in our flexibility.”
While the India women are currently at SAI, Bengaluru for the National Coaching Camp ahead of their Spain tour, India men are on a two-week break following their Pro League campaign in Europe.
The next couple of months leading up to the Asian Games in China is crucial for the two teams as they will be vying to win direct qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by winning the Gold medal in their respective categories.
“Every session we clock in the camp, be it gym, yoga, hockey skill training, recovery etc is crucial in our preparations for the Asian Games and we realise we need to give our 100 per cent in whatever we do. We are fortunate to have a professional set up at SAI, Bengaluru that provides us with a great environment to train,” acknowledged Kaur.