Embassy of India
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF YOGA CELEBRATED IN RIYADH
June 21 is celebrated as the International Day of Yoga all over the World. Recognizing that Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being, the United Nations’ General Assembly in its 69th Plenary Session held on December 11, 2014 decided to proclaim June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.
2. Under the theme “Yoga for Healthy and Active Life”, the Embassy of India, Riyadh celebrated the 4th International Day of Yoga by organizing a Yoga Session on Thursday, June 21, 2018 at the picturesque and beautiful Al-Madi Park of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre, adjoining the historical Murabba’ Palace established in 1937 and the coveted National Museum in the down town. This is first event of its kind when the IDY is celebrated in an open part with the approval of Saudi authorities.
3. The event was attended by over 600 Yoga lovers, including a large number of Saudis (male and female), officials of the Diplomatic Missions in Riyadh, journalists, Embassy of India officials, their spouses and Indian community members. Along with three Indian Yoga trainers, two renowned female Saudi Yoga trainers, namely Ms. Noura Al Wayeli and Reem Ibrahim Al-Arfaj demonstrated the Common Yoga Protocol and other popular Yoga Asanas necessary for the fitness and well-being.
4. Addressing the Event, Ambassador Ahmad Javed thanked His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince HRH Mohammad bin Salman for recognizing ‘Yoga’ under sports activity of the Kingdom and spoke of the multiple facets of Yoga, including the medical benefits attributed to it. Ambassador further appreciated Arriyadh Development Authority and the officials of the King Abdulaziz Historical Centre for extending all possible support and arranging required facilities for successfully organising the event.
5. The Saudi Yoga practitioner Ms. Noura Al Wayeli spoke on the medical benefits of Yoga and its growing popularity in the Kingdom. Reem Ibrahim Al-Arfaj shared her experience in propagating Yoga in Saudi Arabia.
6. A highlight of the programme was that the Yoga demonstrations were led by Ms. Nora Al Waeli and Ms. Reem Al Arfaj, both Saudi Yoga enthusiasts.
7. A special session focusing on the medical benefits of Yoga postures were demonstrated by the Embassy based Yoga Teacher. Simple Yoga postures which are scientifically proven to offer relief in Cervical Spondylitis, Lower backache, Diabetes and Hypertension were demonstrated.
8. The event garnered huge attention among the yoga enthusiasts, especially among the Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has recognized ‘Yoga’ as ‘Sports activity’ in November 2017, thereby paving the way for this year’s ‘International Day of Yoga’ event in a grand way. The Indian Government also awarded Padma Sri in 2018 to a Saudi women yoga practionert Ms. Nouf Marwaai for her efforts in promoting in the Gulf, especially in Saudi Arabia.
9. In addition, the Mission organized online competitions (i) Yoga poster competition and (ii) Yoga photography competition from June 5-18, 2018 and the winners were declared on June 19, 2018. Notably, the Mission received a huge number of posters and pictures, particularly from the children for the said competition, reflecting the growing relevance of Yoga in the Kingdom. Earlier, Indian PM’s message on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga was shown in a special gathering at the Embassy premises on 18 Jun, 2018.
10. Moreover, the Mission in association with the International Indian Schools organized a series of events across the different cities of the Kingdom with participation of over 2000 students. The International Yoga Day was celebrated in the Indian School, Riyadh (Boys & Girls Section) on June 20; and IIS Dammam and Jubail (Boys & Girls Section) on June 21. IIS Majmaa’ will be organizing the IDY celebration on June 24, 2018.