Aerospace scientist teaches yoga to India’s top cricketers

BANGALORE: Sachin Tendulkar and India's other top cricketers are being taught the ancient art of yoga by an aerospace scientist, who believes meditation will help them finetune their body and mind. 

“Yoga is a way of life,” said S.N. Omkar, a senior scientific advisor to the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science here. 

“It has to do with the way you handle things. If applied to a cricketer it helps him beat stressful conditions on the ground and off the ground. It teaches him to keep detached. 

“All these are very essential to a modern day sportsman,” Omkar told AFP after a stint with India's 36 cricket probables taking part in a fitness camp here. 

At a five-star hotel in India's aviation and technology hub, Omkar attended to batting maestro Tendulkar and put him through the paces with stretching exercises. 

Tendulkar, who suffered a groin injury two seasons ago, listened closely to his 42-year-old tutor while navigating difficult exercises with the help of cushions, mats and chairs. 

“Essentially one is looking at core muscles (quadraceps, back muscles and hamstrings),” Omkar said. 

A suitably impressed Tendulkar devoted an extra 30 minutes to the yoga session even as team-mates wound up for the day. 

“Yoga is not for the back or for any other injuries,” Tendulkar told AFP. 

“It is a very good thing to do. It can only help and cannot damage anything. So I look at it in a positive way. 

“It is the overall mental feel ... the feel-good factor helps to relax. I would recommend it to everyone.” 

Omkar said the cricketers will benefit from yoga as focussed breathing techniques and stretching create harmony of the body and mind. 

“It is the balance of mind which is vital. One should never get emotionally disturbed,” said Omkar, who has been teaching yoga to local cricketers in Bangalore for a decade. 

Indian paceman Javagal Srinath, spinner Anil Kumble and batsman Rahul Dravid, all based in Bangalore, are regular students of Omkar's Yoga Mandir (Yoga Temple). 

Omkar said being a scientist helped him to teach yoga. 

“The training that I get in the institute has greatly enhanced my understanding of yoga. Scientific temperament adds to the way one understands the subject of yoga,” he said. 

“For cricketers, I have specific courses which help to improve the core muscles. 

“In yoga there is no weakness. Everything is a strength.” 

The fitness camp, which lasts until August 27, will be followed by another devoted to honing cricketing skills from September 1 to 6. – AFP  

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