Saudi Arabia's Makkah hosts Yoga championship

The second Saudi Open Yoga Asana Championship attended by several girls and 10 boys was held in Makkah last Saturday. The event, held under the auspices of the Saudi Arabia Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Sports, signaled the official recognition of yoga as a legitimate sporting activity.

The championship attracted participants from Jeddah, Makkah, Madinah, Taif, and other cities. Many international delegates, including the Consul General of India, were present for the event. Nouf Al-Marwaai, the President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, hailed the importance of yoga in promoting the physical and mental well-being of a person. 

For India, events like these provide opportunities for diplomatic and cultural exchange between the two countries. 

While the first International Day of Yoga was observed around the world on 21 June 2015, Yoga was officially allowed in Saudi Arabia only in November 2017. Since then, it has seen a steady rise in popularity with more people recognizing its numerous benefits. This led to the formation of the Saudi Yoga Committee in May 2021.

The first Saudi Open Yoga Asana Championship was held in Jeddah in 2022. The diverse and widespread interest the ancient practice generated prompted the organizers to hold the second event in Makkah. 

According to the organizers, the growing interest and participation in yoga are indicative of a broader societal shift towards embracing diverse forms of physical and mental fitness. The practice of yoga plays a crucial role in promoting wellness, unity, and cultural exchange, they said

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