|SPORTS & WELLNESS|
Eat, pray, play
Shuttler Saina Nehwal sees the Asian Championship, to be held in New Delhi from April 12, as a preparation for the Commonwealth Games, writes Amit Khanna
AS in life, so in sports, achievements should never be final. They at best have to be just milestones and never the destination. With her aim of breaking into the top five world rankings already in the cold storage, Indian badminton sensation Saina Nehwal has set her sights on the next mission.
Gearing up for the upcoming Asian Championship to be held in New Delhi from April 12 to 18, the 20-year-old says, "My next aim is to break into the top three in the world. I know this is not going to be easy from hereon as I will have to keep with every tournament I play, but I am game for the challenge. The preparation for the Asian Championship has been really good. I had three weeks after the All- England Championship and it has come out as we had planned."
Terming the Asian Championship as the preparatory ground for the Commonwealth Games in October, the current world number six says, "It will be a good opportunity for us to get a feel of the newly built Siri Fort stadium as the Commonwealth matches have been scheduled there only. We definitely have the home advantage this time."
Most of the top 10 shuttlers may have decided to give ABC a miss, but top seed Saina is not in a mood to lower her guard. "I know a lot of top Chinese players have decided not to come, as they must be preparing for next month’s Uber Cup, but I am in no mood to relax. The competition will be stiff and there are no pushovers."
Saina, after barging into the top five with her semifinal finish at the All England Badminton Championship last month, had missed the Swiss Open to currently lie at a rung below, at number six in the latest world rankings. "The idea of skipping tournaments is working well for me as it gives me time to work on my shortcomings. Moreover, it is wise to take a break at times just to come back fitter and stronger."
With the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and the World Championship slated for this year, Saina knows it’s going to be a busy year ahead. "The Asian Championship will be a good testing ground for the big-ticket tourneys coming up later this year. It is certainly going to be very hectic and demanding, but representing your country provides the spark you need to keep going. I take one tournament at a time and hope to do well in every match I play."
"I do not get much
time off with my training schedules but on Sundays I make sure to catch
up with the latest movie in town," Saina tells how she keeps
herself engaged whenever she is not thrashing her opponents in court.
Meditation courses may
provide destress dose to CWG volunteers
AS pressure mounts on volunteers for the approaching Commonwealth Games in the Capital, they may find the perfect way to stay high on enthusiasm and physical fitness with an Art of Living course.
The mega event, which will take place in Delhi from October 3 to 14, aims to recruit 30,000 volunteers from a cross-section of people — students and homemakers to ex-servicemen and corporate honchos.
Sudhir Mital, the special director-general looking after the volunteers programme, says: "The Art of Living Foundation has expressed an interest in providing a three-day course on stress management to the Commonwealth Games volunteers".
"The course, which is otherwise a week long, will be specially formulated to suit our needs. According to the proposal, it will be divided into a four-hour capsule for three days. We are in the process of finalising it," Mital says.
Spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's organisation, the Art of Living Foundation, teaches meditation and yoga with a basic aim of de-stressing. The foundation has a large following across the globe and has a presence in 151 countries.
Darshak Hathi, international director of Art of Living, says the foundation will also offer members of their youth wing for the volunteers programme.
"We are hoping to give 1,000 volunteers from our youth wing for the volunteers programme for the Games. Members of our youth wing are in the age group of 25-35 and are a dedicated lot. Most of them are also from a sports background; therefore it's an added advantage," Hathi says.
According to Hathi, besides helping the volunteers destress, the course will also motivate them to take on challenging tasks.
"Along with technical skills, it's important that the volunteers are taught stress management and coping skills. They also need to be motivated to take up challenging tasks. Therefore, we have proposed to impart them the required skills. The same will be provided to the staff," he says.
Since the number of volunteers will be huge, Hathi says the group will be divided into batches of 2,000 who will be trained by 25 trainers of the foundation.
Preeja Jain, a teacher who has applied for the volunteering programme and also takes the Art of Living course, says: "If the Art of Living Foundation is planning to train the volunteers, then there could be no better news.
Games village to have prayer rooms for athletes of all faiths
THE Commonwealth Games village in East Delhi, where athletes will be staying during theevent in October, will have a special building with prayer rooms for all faiths. This, officials said, will give the athletes a space and option to pray and meditate — crucial for a peaceful mind during the taxing days.
The Organising Committee of the Commonwealth Games is in talks with the head priests and management officials of different religious places in Delhi for voluntary service during the Games.
"We are in talks with the Akshardham temple, the India Islamic Cultural Centre, a few gurdwaras and other religious places for volunteers to conduct prayer services in the prayer rooms during the games," Jiji Thomson of the Organising Committee said recently.
"We don't want any religious preaching to be done. The aim behind this initiative is to give the athletes an option to pray and meditate if they want to. Prayers have a healing power to soothe frayed nerves," he added.
The building will,
however, not be a permanent structure. "It will be a structure with
partitions so that the space is divided into prayer rooms for different
faiths like Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism and Sikhism. It
will, however, be a temporary structure," Thomson said. — AR
Nothing can make you more refreshed and energised for a long day ahead than a night of sound sleep. Whether we are a professional, a student or a housewife, all of us experience some form of stress in our day-to-day lives.
There is no end to the number of worries and the anxiety that can plague us; especially when we go to sleep. For some of us, depending on our lifestyle, this may be the only time that we get in the whole day to relax our body and mind. This, however, becomes difficult when you try too hard to relax. It only makes your body tenser.
There are numerous benefits of a night of good, sound sleep. It is when you sleep that your body repairs the damaged cells. It also helps increase your concentration and retention power because your mind is relaxed.
When you do not get this dose of sleep, you feel tired, drained out and unable to concentrate on work at hand. Worse, if this continues, it leads to disorders like insomnia and sometimes people even start hallucinating.
While there are drugs and chemicals to superficially cure you of such disorders and make you sleep, nothing can replace the benefits of a natural remedy. Yoga is such an experimental science.
Through yoga, you learn to experiment and understand your own body. It automatically tells you what is good for your body and what is not, what relaxes your body and what does not.
The external environment
around you will then no longer matter, because you know that you can
calm your body down no matter
You will not need to depend on anything else to get that night’s sleep. Shavasana is a relatively common relaxation in yoga but its benefits are numerous. It relaxes your entire being.
This asana should be practised before sleep as it will take away all your physical and mental fatigue and make you aware of your own body. Ujjayi Pranayama, when done in shavasana, helps in inducing sleep.
It is a tranquilising pranayama and a perfect cure for insomnia. It has an enormous soothing effect on the nervous system and calms down your nerves. Matsya Kridasana is another relaxation asana that can be practised before going to sleep. It is especially helpful in calming down the nerves in the legs.
This should be done by pregnant women for whom lying down on the back may pressurise some veins, inhibiting circulation. This asana helps in relaxing and in getting good sleep.