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Hoop to basketball basics with Pranayam

It's not often that you see a basketball training camp focus so much on yoga techniques. But for former Indian basketball player and NBA certified coach, Arunagiri Mudaliar, yoga is the foundation of every basketball training camp that he has been organising in the city for the last 14 years.

Basketball coach Arunagiri Mudaliar (first from right) conducting a training session
Basketball coach Arunagiri Mudaliar (first from right) conducting a training session

"Basketball as a game is the second fastest game requiring a lot of speed, stamina, agility, flexibility all of them are provided by yoga," says Mudaliar who represented India, Maharashtra State in Men's, Youth and Junior and Mumbai University between 1977 to 1982.

So, a typical Mudaliar basketball training camp starts with three yoga asanas — Patang asanas (Butterfly Flap), Shishupalan (Rocking your Baby) and Nadhi Vibhajan (Cat Stretch) — as part of the warm up session. These are followed by Surya Namashkar which is a composed of 12 asanas.

"These asanas are one of the most impactful, graceful and powerful routines that not only improves ones flexibility, agility and strength but also enhance one's energy at a deeper level. It helps one run and jog with ease, but unfortunately, it's not too appreciated by our coaches," feels Mudaliar, adding, "Having experienced the benefits of regular Pranayama, meditations, Surya Namashkar and the other asanas, I was keen to use the same in my coaching."

Participants of the workshop
Participants of the workshop

Author of the inspirational books, Jogging for Life Success and Unleash Your Potential, Mudaliar calls himself a practitioner and teacher of Siddha Samadhi Yoga. According to this school of yoga, a human body, says Mudaliar, is made of five layers — Annamai Kosha (Physical Body), Pranamaya Kosha (Breath Body), Manomaya Kosha (Mind), Vignayagmaya Kosha (Intellect) and Anandamaya Kosha (Spiritual).

"For a human being to be truly healthy, one needs to keep on developing all the five layers. In my basketball camp, I work on improving and cleansing all the five layers. For example, I encourage participants to be aware and conscious of breathing in every process. It is said that typically, we use only 15% of the lung capacity. I have seen that when children are focused on breathing, it leads to them being able to run better with enhanced stamina. So, it's essential for basketball," he says.

But yoga for him is not just about a set of asanas. The training session also includes sessions of laughter therapy, experiential sharing and jogging. "In my opinion, laughing therapy is a yoga kriya which helps a participant feel light, joyous and less inhabited," he says.

Mudaliar informs that the workshop is open to people of all ages. "I believe that our body is the vehicle in the Journey of life, and the quality of our life depends on the quality of our vehicle (body). In our camp, we have participants from five years to 60 years and everyone benefits and experience transformations in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions."

The first of the basketball camps for the year are being held at Goregaon Sports Club, Malad, and the second camp starts from May 15 to June 10th from 6.30 am to 8 am for which admissions are open.

Call 40387000/51/72

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