Yoga set to be introduced in Saudi Arabian universities: Report
Saudi Arabia is set to introduce yoga in the major universities of the country. Several agreements in the pipeline will be signed with universities to support and promote yoga, according to Saudi Yoga Committee (SYC) President Nouf Al-Marwaai. SYC is a body under the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee, Ministry of Sports.
The decision was taken at a forum titled “The Role of University Sports in Supporting the Kingdom’s Vision in Sports,” organised in the capital city of Riyadh where several experts and international leaders registered their presence, according to Arab News.
Reflecting on the importance of yoga, SYC chief Al-Marwaai said the decision was taken as part of achieving Vision 2030.
“Yoga gives its practitioners many health benefits (for) both physical and mental well-being. One of the most important pillars of achieving Vision 2030 is to enhance participation in sports activities, and to achieve sports excellence locally, continentally, and internationally," she was quoted as saying by Arab News.
Al-Marwaai added that the committee will aim to discover yoga talent in the country and hone their skills with the hope that they "represent the Kingdom in local and international tournaments".
Saudi Arabia's first yoga festival
Notably, it was in January that Saudi Arabia's first yoga festival was organised. The event took place at Juman Park, King Abdullah Economic City in the city of Jeddah and saw the participation of a number of top Saudi yoga teachers including Marwa Khairudeen and Lana Nazer.
Saudi Arabia, in 2022, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India for the establishment of a formal "yoga protocol (standards)" for the promotion of yoga in the country. This was the first such bilateral cooperation between India and Saudi Arabia on yoga.
PM Modi's push for yoga
Ever since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power, he has embarked on a mission to popularise yoga and its benefits on the global stage.
He proposed June 21 as the date for Yoga Day at the United Nations, noting that it is the longest day of the year. He received overwhelming support from the member countries for his proposal and since then, June 21 is observed as International Yoga Day (IDY) around the world.
Despite reservations by a few countries that yoga is related to Hinduism, Saudi Arabia, one of the leaders of the Muslim world has wholeheartedly accepted the philosophy behind yoga.