Hundreds participate in Yoga Day celebrations in Riyadh's Madi Park

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RIYADH — The Embassy of India in Riyadh celebrated the "5th International Day of Yoga" by organizing yoga sessions in many places across the Kingdom. The main event was organized at the Al-Madi Park, King Abdulaziz Historical Center, on Thursday.

Recognizing that yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 21 as the International Day of Yoga.

Since its unanimous adoption by the UNGA in 2014, the International Day of Yoga has emerged as a major annual event in most countries. It has also created awareness about yoga as an ancient heritage of the entire humanity, geared to our physical and mental well-being. Yoga has become a global phenomenon uniting those who have embraced it as a way of life. Saudi Arabia gave official recognition to yoga as a sports activity in 2017.

Under the ambitious Vision 2030, the Kingdom aims to increase the quality of life of the Saudi nationals with promotion of sports and entertainment. Yoga as one such activity has a holistic approach to mental and physical well-being.

The message of yoga is one of inner peace and harmony with the external world, through physical, mental and spiritual well-being and the International Yoga Day celebrations reinforce this very message.

The embassy has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga every year since 2014. The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated on a much grander scale this year.

The Yoga Day was also celebrated in association with the embassy in Indian schools in Riyadh, Dammam, Jubail, Majmaa, Taif, Tabuk, Jeddah, Buraidah and Khafji.

The Consulate General of India in Jeddah also organized a grand International Yoga Day event in Jeddah attended among others by the ambassador and the consul general.

Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Indian ambassador to Saudi Arabia, led more than 500 participants from all walks of life in the yoga session at Al Madi Park at King Abdul Aziz Historical Center on Thursday.

Dr. Srinidhi K. Parthsarthy, registrar of S-VYASA (Swamy Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana), a unique Yoga University in Bengaluru, India, was a special guest at the event. Many Saudi dignitaries, diplomats, Saudi nationals and members of the Indian community attended.

While welcoming the Saudi and Indian participants to the event, Dr. Sayeed said: “Yoga is an immortal and precious natural technique that traces its origin to the Indus-Saraswati Valley Civilization dating back to 2700 B.C. and it predates any religion in the forms as we know today.”

He described yoga as an epitome of India’s ancient, deep-rooted and diverse civilization, which is based on the concept of "Unity in Diversity".

Dr. Sayeed lauded the yoga enthusiasts from Saudi Arabia representing different organizations such as the Saudi Olympic Association, Saudi Mass Participation Organization and others for turning out in large numbers. He said: “Yoga is also gaining immense popularity in the Gulf countries where many Yoga Clubs have been formed and men and women are taking up yoga in large numbers as a way of healthy life-style.”

It was the second consecutive annual event organized at the Al-Madi Park with the active support and cooperation of multiple authorities of the government of Saudi Arabia. It reflects the growing strategic relations between India and Saudi Arabia especially after the historic visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Kingdom in 2016 and the state visit of Crown Prince Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to India in February this year. — SG


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