Today we see that yoga is being applied in not less than 20 fields quite successfully including other sports like Kabaddi then why not other sports. Remarkably it is also true that many top sports stars are already practicing yoga postures and taking the best advantage. Our Hon. Prime Minister Shri. Narendra Modi has initiated to bring out the essence of Yoga in front of all UN with all 177 countries declaring 21st June as International Day of Yoga right from 2015.
After all Bhagvad Geeta States that Yoga is “ Yogah karmasu kaushalam”
Yoga is the union /joining /coming together of two or more things. One stays comfortable in alignment to achieve the higher goal. (?)
Spiritual experience & bliss is the final aim of Yoga, however, the journey of it deals with Holistic health & fitness of individuals and the players. It is not only improving the tone of the big muscles but also corrects the reflex mechanisms of the body. This is supported by above aphorism of Gita. It develops correct skills.
WINNING can be a final aspiration of the game, however, the process is concerned with players & the cricket lovers. Therefore to maintain the pure Cricket spirit, Yoga has its own value. It can be utilized for cricketers on & off the field. Great cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid etc. all shared their own experience of it.
All the techniques & methods of Yoga demonstrate magnificent work of connecting body & mind through Breath and corrections in the posture and GAIT
In cricket also there is need of connecting bat & ball through the sharp mind. Yoga definitely increases concentration power and better focusing.
Hence it’s essential to have the mind free from all its unnecessary stuff.
Swami Vivekananda translates the sutra as “Yoga is restraining the mind-stuff (Citta) from taking various forms (Vrittis).”
Yogic discipline allows cricketers to remain calm, alert in present moment & skillful all the time during play.
Yoga defined in the first Yogsutra of Sage Patanjali – “Atha Yoga Anushasanam” PYS: – 1:1
It means now the discipline begins. In every game, there are rules and regulations and need a proper discipline.
Ashtanga Yoga techniques are very well known& necessary to achieve mental strength.
They are as follows,
YAMA – Ethical Restraints
NIYAMA – Self Observance
ASANA – Postures (Standing /Sitting/Lying Supine & Prone Postures)
Asanas not only help to prevent the body from major injuries but are also helpful to heal injuries faster. They have unique characteristics of isometric and isotonic coordination of muscles bones & joints due to which they are well trained. Hence yogis gain the lot of suppleness, stability & stamina.
Asanas e.g.Tadasan, Vrikshasan, Garudasan,Virabhadrasana,Dhanurasan,Naukasan , Ushtrasana, Mayurasan Etc. work on Coordination of head, hand & legs which increases sharpness of mind.
Spine-health depends on its strong support of muscles & ligaments.This can be well trained by asana practices which are focused on disciplined spine flexibility like twisting, bending (forward & backward) asanas e.g.Parvatasan, Setubandhasan, Marjarasan, Mastyendrasana, Trikonasana, Badrasana, Vakrasan, Neck Movements (Brahma mudra).
PRANAYAMA – Prana+ Ayam –Control of life force (e.g. Anulom vilom, Ujjayi, Bhramari, Bhastrika, Suryabhedan, Sitali, Sitkari )
PRATYAHAR – It is detachment of mind from the sense organs
DHARANA – Concentration (Yog Nidra, Dehdharna etc.)
DHYAN – Meditation (Drusti/Tratak practices through internal & external objects)
SAMADHI – Merge into Divinity
Shuddhi Kriya – Kapalbhati etc.Abdominal muscle strengthening & Increase lung capacity. They are purificatory processes to make all the systems healthy. Lethargy is decreased.
Bandha & Mudra – It helps in increasing subtle awareness of mind & body.
A cricketer has to develop a lot of mental strength, stamina & flexibility because of the huge mental pressure they face from an audience. To maintain a balance between internal & external world, Yogic techniques of Pranayama, Concentration (Dharana), Meditation( Dhyan) can be an ultimate instrument to maintain peace within. It can be a tremendous energy booster.
Finally, Cricket is not only game but it’s a passion close to the heart of the Nation hence to win these millions of hearts cricketers have to adopt yoga as a part of practice sessions along with their usual training. Yoga gives extra power to the individual to come up with any kind of stress effectively.