Before the second wave of COVID hit Hyderabad hard, sending us all scurrying indoors, India’s chief national badminton coach Pullela Gopichand and students from his badminton academy were lucky enough to spend some time outdoors at the beautiful Heartfulness Institute in Kanha Shanti Vanam on the outskirts of the city.
Gopichand, accompanied by his students and coaching staff, attended a three-day meditation programme, where they learnt about various meditation techniques, which demonstrated how it helps to keep the players calm and composed. The group seemed to have a great time being out in the open as they went for a walk in the pristine surroundings, enjoyed deep meditative sessions and paid a visit to the in-house nursery at the centre, which houses over 2 lakh saplings.
The badminton players also had an interaction with Kamlesh D Patel aka Daaji, guide at Heartfulness. “When it comes to sports, many things are pre-calculated. So when you meditate in the mornings, many things come to your mind and leave. But you will be able to stick to what is important,” said Daaji while addressing the players. He added, “For example, if you’re playing a game, every move of yours is well-calculated a few seconds before and your intuition guides you to the target. So it’s the presence of mind which helps you to avoid mistakes, and the more focused your mind is, the better you will be able to hit the target.”
Pullela Gopichand said that he’s personally experienced the benefits of meditation. “When I was young, I was very aggressive, to the point that I used to show indiscipline on court. But thanks to my exposure to meditation, breathing and yoga nidra, I have sobered down and have been able to deal with many things in life better. I do believe that meditation has the power to transform and I’ve benefitted tremendously from it as a player and a person,” he said.