Yoga has become an integral part of the Indian hockey teams' daily routine and the ancient practice has been beneficial for the players in managing stress and keeping their mind and body fit, said men's side vice-captain Hardik Singh. (More Hockey News)
Over the past few years, the Indian men and women hockey players have made yoga a part of their practice regime.
"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," Hardik said on the occasion of International Yoga Day on Wednesday.
"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 mid-fielder.
Senior women's team vice-captain Navneet Kaur echoed similar thoughts and urged everyone to practice yoga for their overall well-being.
"Yoga is part of our weekly routine and it has immensely helped us to manage our stress level. It relaxes our body, particularly after a heavy session, and some of the asanas have greatly helped us in our flexibility," she said.
While the women's team is currently at SAI, Bengaluru for the national coaching camp ahead of Spain Tour, the men's side is on a two-week break following its Pro League campaign in Europe.
The next two months leading up to the Asian Games are crucial for both the teams as they will be hoping to secure direct qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by winning gold medals in their respective categories in Hangzhou, China.
"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," said Navneet.