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Saudi Arabia gets the green signal to practice yoga as a sports activity

This comes at a time when many Muslims in India and have been under pressure to not practice yoga.


The Indian embassy of Riyadh is seen celebrating International Day of Yoga
The Indian embassy of Riyadh is seen celebrating International Day of Yoga

What's the story?

In what has turned out to be a revolutionary step for the land of Saudi Arabia, the government's nod to approve yoga as one of the major sporting activities has received mixed reactions after Nouf Marwaai, founder of the Arab Yoga Foundation in Saudi confirmed the decision through a social media post.

After a post dated November 12th, 2017 appeared on Facebook, albeit from the unofficial account of Nouf Marwaai, the post went viral as comments poured in from all corners of the world.

In case you didn't know

Yoga, one of the most ancient arts that originated in India, is practised by millions of people all over the world. A physical, mental and spiritual practice that is known to have transformed the lives of many people, International Day of Yoga was announced by the UN's General Assembly on June 21st, 2015.

However, according to Muslim traditions, the practice of yoga is shunned due to which the sudden development in Saudi Arabia lifted a lot of eyebrows and received bouquets and brickbats. In India, there have been instances of religious leaders urging followers not to practice yoga which they claim is un-Islamic.

The heart of the matter

The post on Facebook went on to say 'Yoga, which literally means union. A union of mind, emotions & soul, nation to the globe has officially arrived at the seashore of Saudi Arabia. It has crossed boundaries of fundamentalism.. ideologic extremism'.

The move comes only a couple of months after Saudi King Salman lifted the ban which disallowed women to drive cars in the kingdom, a decision which collected heaps of praise.

What's next?

The green signal for allowing the Kingdom to practice Yoga would be a welcome move for many people who will now be free to learn about the rich history, practice it and also influence youngsters to learn by obtaining permits to teach the historic art form.

Author's take

Saudi's move to accept yoga as a sport has not fallen on deaf ears as even Baba Ramdev seemed to appreciate the decision taken by the government. With the move surely set to reform many people, the Kingdom can only benefit from yoga and prove as an ideal model for other Islamic countries to permit the art.

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