MORE THAN two decades ago, a young Yuva Dayalan suffered from pneumonia during his university badminton days, forcing him to take a break from the sport for over six months. Dayalan took up yoga on the insistence of his coach C M Anandhan to recover and he went on to achieve rank number two in the Indian mixed doubles. Having worked with the Hong Kong badminton team in Hong Kong and later the Chinese badminton team, 36-year-old Dr Yuva Dayalan is now working with the Indian badminton team. Dayalan, who hails from Chennai, is in Chandigarh to spend time with young badminton players taking part in the Smt. Krishna Khaitan Memorial All India Junior Ranking Badminton Tournament at Panjab University courts.
“It is important for badminton players to start practising or have the knowledge of yoga early in their careers. The last few years have seen players such as Saina Nehwal, P V Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth also taking up yoga for healing… they started it a little late. Badminton is a sport based on speed and reflexes and that’s what yoga also teaches youngsters. As in badminton, there are two strategies of being offensive and being defensive and in badminton Yoga, asanas such as Veerbhadra, teach them being offensive and flexibility and asana like Bhujasana teaches them to be defensive,” shared Dayalan, who also holds a diploma in yoga from NIS, Patiala, and lives in Hong Kong.
As a national level badminton player, Dayalan was once ranked number two in the mixed doubles category in India before he moved to Hong Kong in 2004 where he joined a yoga company and also founded the Hong Kong Yoga Federation. Dayalan, who won the doubles title in China Open for Masters last year apart from finishing as the runner-up in Taiwan Masters this year, met Cheung Kok, vice president of Chinese Badminton Association in Hong Kong in the late 2000s.
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This also meant that Dayalan would meet former two time world champion Xiong Guobao and the duo organised training camps for Asian teams, which also included training the legendary two-time Olympic champion Lin Dan. “Working with Kok, who was the owner of the company I worked with in Hong Kong, meant that I also met badminton players from countries such as China, Taiwan and Indonesia. With badminton players prone to a lot of knee and shoulder injuries, we would have training sessions with top players including Lin Dan and others and most of the players acknowledge yoga for training in their schedule. We have recently come with the concept of ‘Badminton yoga’ and soon there will also an application for the players as well where they can put their data and see the techniques and videos themselves,” shared Dayalan, who is also the founder of World Sports Yoga Federation.
The last two years have seen Dayalan working with the Indian badminton team along with national coach Pullela Gopichand and the former badminton player travels with the team for their international assignments. “Pullela has been a great coach and he wanted the players to see yoga and its benefits. I have been travelling with the team for championships like China Open and Macau Open. The emphasis has been on the functional training of the players. We are also organising World Yoga festival next month at Mahabalipuram where Gopi sir will also come as a special invitee,” said Dayalan. We are also organising World Yoga festival next month at Mahabalipuram from November 30-December 4 where Gopi sir will also come as a special invitee and will also conduct a yoga session,” said Dayalan.