Jeddah: Scores of yoga enthusiasts, with various skill sets, and from different ages and nationalities, mostly Saudis and other Arab citizens, laid down their mats, relaxed and communed with nature for an early celebration of World Yoga Day in Jeddah on Saturday.
Usually observed on June 21, the Indian Consulate in Jeddah, in collaboration with Arab Yoga Foundation, celebrated the Day earlier at International Indian School. The event was inaugurated by Indian Ambassador Ausaf Sayeed, Lina Khaled Almaeena, member of the powerful Shoura Council, and Indian Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh. Almaeena is a strong advocate of promoting sports among women in Saudi Arabia.
Nouf Marwaai, Saudi Arabia’s first certified yoga instructor and president of Arab Yoga Foundation, held rehearsals of common yoga protocol. Marwaai, a recipient of the Padma Shri, founded Arab Yoga Foundation — the first of its kind in the Gulf.
The moment of the day was when Noor Sheikh surprised all with his clinical performance of the ‘sirsasana’, which is regarded as the toughest among all ‘asanas’. This was one of the many curtain-raiser events planned in Saudi Arabia ahead of the grand scale events. The Indian Embassy is set to organise Yoga Day on June 20 at Al Madi Park in King Abdulaziz Historical Centre in Riyadh. NRI community organisation Samanwaya is also set to organise a mass event at TVTC football stadium in the capital on June 21. “We are expecting over 5,000 people to turn up for rehearsal on June 21 at the football stadium,” Satish Deepak, president of Samanwaya, said.