India men's hockey team captain Harmanpreet Singh on Wednesday said the inclusion of yoga in their weekly routine had worked wonders as the ancient practice was helping them focus better and improve flexibility. (More Hockey News)
"Since this is going to be a tough year with back-to-back events, we are working on keeping ourselves fresh mentally and physically.
"Yoga has been added to our weekly routine and it has helped a great deal in channelising our focus and has done a world of good to our flexibility as well," said Harmanpreet, who is leading the goal-scorers' chart in the ongoing FIH Pro League.
The Indian team is currently preparing for the European leg of the Pro League under newly-appointed chief coach Craig Fulton of South Africa.
"We had our first meeting with new chief coach Craig Fulton on Saturday morning. He brings great energy to every session and has a well-structured plan for us this year," Harmanpreet said.
"We have good momentum right now, having done well in the home games of the Pro League. The idea is to go into the European leg with the same confidence."
India will play Belgium and Great Britain in the Pro League in London starting later this month before travelling to Eindhoven to face Argentina and hosts Netherlands in June.
After the Pro League, India will host the seventh edition of the Asian Champions Trophy in Chennai from August 3 to 12, a precursor to the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
"It will be quite a thrilling experience not just for us but also for the spectators. I am hopeful all the hockey fans will turn up in big numbers again to watch us play against some of our top rivals in the Asian continent," said Harmanpreet.
"We will have a good 45 days to prepare for the Asian Champions Trophy after we return from the Pro League. Doing well in the Asian Champions Trophy at home will definitely set us up for a good show in the Asian Games," the star drag-flicker said.
India won the Asian Champions Trophy in the inaugural edition in 2011 and then defeated Pakistan in the final to bag the title again in 2016.
In the following edition in 2018, India were joint winners with Pakistan after rain played spoilsport in Muscat.
In the last edition in 2021 in Dhaka, India bagged a bronze.