As the world observed International Day of Yoga on June 21, many countries celebrated the day with grit and enthusiasm. Millions of people gathered in different countries on the occasion to practice asanas, a fitting tribute to the Yoga Day. International Yoga Day has become a tradition, ever since the United Nations proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga, aimed to raise awareness about the benefits of practising yoga across the globe. Now, from the US to Saudi Arabia and beyond, yoga is seen as a way to seek balance and harmony.
Saudi Arabia has once again participated in the global International Yoga Day celebrations with various events and activities, marking another major push for yoga in the KSA. Among the highlights was the celebration in the Ministry of sports Halls in the Saudi Olympic and Paralympic Committee's Complex with the Saudi Yoga team champions who won five medals at the second Everest International Yoga Championship, including one gold medal, three silver medals, and one bronze medal.
This year's Yoga Day celebrations in the Saudi was unprecedented. Nouf bint Mohammed Al Marwaai, the head of the Saudi Yoga Committee, explained that the Kingdom has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga on a small scale in previous years, but this year marked a qualitative leap as IDY was celebrated across Saudi Arabia in 6 regions and around 10 cities. Even more so, a total more than 10,000 participants joined the grand celebrations.
IDY celebrations take over Saudi
The Olympic Committee headquarters hosted the event, coinciding with the Olympic Day and the "Let's Move" initiative launched by the Olympic Committee. This was a major event as Riyadh witnessed over 3600 people of both genders and all age groups take part in the celebrations. But the main highlight was the initiative held by Saudi Yoga committee at the Saudi Olympic Training Center in the Ministry of Sports for the Paralympic athletes. Sixty members participated from both genders and different age groups, including the Saudi Paralympic Team for basketball.
The Saudi Yoga committee held the celebrations of International Yoga Day in Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Qatif, Alkhobar, Jeddah, Madina, Taif, Baha, Abha, and in several locations including Ministry of Sports Halls, Social Services Centers, Universities and public locations. In co-operation with Ministry of Sports, at least 5 locations held the celebrations and hundreds of people showed up. In collaboration with DISHA an Indian sociocultural group, events were held in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. Overall, a total of more than 10,000 people attended from Saudi as well as expatriates community in all events collectively.
"I was delighted to see the large attendance and active participation in the International Day of Yoga celebration by the yoga community, including people with disabilities. Everyone enjoyed practicing yoga exercises, especially the exercises that promote mental clarity. The celebration also included honoring the Saudi Yoga team champions who won five medals (one gold, three silver, and one bronze) at the second Everest International Yoga Championship, which is a great international achievement in the first participation of the Saudi Yoga team," Al Marwaai said.
The celebrations at this grand scale is a result of intensive efforts by the Saudi Yoga Committee to promote yoga in Saudi Arabia. From conducting yoga therapy conferences, workshops, introductory lessons in educational institutes to participating in the first international championship, Saudi Arabia has achieved historic feats.