Yoga has been practiced since the Vedic age and has its roots with the Indian culture. Our Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has strived to give ‘Yoga’ its international status and under his leadership, the entire world celebrates International Yoga Day on the 21st of June each year since its inception in 2015 as it was declared unanimously by the UN General Assembly.
International Yoga Day though recognized worldwide, was an exception to Saudi Arabia. Five years ago, those practicing yoga in Saudi Arabia were harassed and a lot of hate messages were hurled. Prior to this, yoga postures would consider them outlawed due to their conservative approach. However, since November of last year, yoga is embraced as a sport. All thanks to the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has vowed for an “open, moderate Islam”. This liberalization drive is a breather for many who were not free to practice yoga.
Ever since the new ruling, yoga centers are booming with a high demand for yoga instructors.
Even in the holiest cities of Islam – Mecca, and Medina, yoga is being openly practiced.
Yoga benefits are many. A lot of women in Saudi Arabia have confessed that yoga has provided them relief from a series of chronic ailments. A lot of women had to face opposition due to openly practicing yoga. But they strongly believed that yoga has nothing got to do with religion. It is merely a sport with a series of health benefits.