Saturday, Nov 01, 2014

Pune-based yoga,Vedanta gurus recall their time with Sachin

Written by Debjani Paul | Pune | Posted: November 17, 2013 2:43 am

Evening had just begun to set in on Thursday when yoga exponsent B K S Iyengar walked into the room to meet his students. “I was just watching the match,Sachin was batting on 20,” he said. Iyengar,like millions of others,had tuned in to watch Sachin at crease for his last Test match. “he is a gifted man. He still has the stamina and endurance to play a five-day match,” he said.

Iyengar has been working closely with Sachin for over a decade,helping him with tailor-made yoga exercises. Sachin has met the yoga guru several times over the years,the latest in April. “He had a lot of problems with his foot and his doctor in London had suggested surgery. I saw that the soles of his feet were as hard as rock. We tried a few asanas. About 10 days later,he returned to London for an appointment with the doctor,who said that surgery was no longer necessary,” Iyengar recalled. The first time Sachin visited Iyengar was with complaints of a backache in 1998. The cricketer has returned to the institute many times to resolve his physical discomforts and injuries.

Iyengar is considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world,and often receives sportsperson from across the world,wishing to learn yoga for fitness or to combat injuries. “Sportspersons like Tendulkar are national assets,so whenever they have problems that are hard to recover from,I try to guide them,” he said.

While Iyengar laments the fact that most Indian sportspersons do not make yoga a habit,he adds that there are still a few who are sincere in their efforts.

“Sachin became very sincere about 4-5 years ago when he had a severe backache. After the class,he told me that he had slept well for the first time in many days. Sachin is a very obedient student. He surrenders to the lesson quite readily,” said Iyengar,who has taught Sachin several postures. Iyengar is of the opinion that while it is Sachin’s personal choice to retire,he could have gone on playing longer. “He has the stamina to do it. D B Deodhar (who was Iyengar’s first cricketer student) used to have knee problems but with the help of yoga,he played past his 50s,so Tendulkar could also have continued to play,” said Iyengar,who will soon release a new book,Yoga for Sportspersons,in February.

Sachin had met another guru a few years ago when he was facing a dilemma whether to quit or go on. Swami Parthasarathy of the Vedanta Academy said about five years ago Sachin had visited his academy in Lonavla and sought counsel. “I had advised him to retire because I believe too much attachment to anything is not good and felt Sachin needs to be detached to the sport now,” said Parthasarathy who who plays cricket at the age of 86.

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