Yoga is a great regimen for maintaining positive lifestyle, says Indian consul general in Jeddah

Yoga is a great regimen for maintaining positive lifestyle, says Indian consul general in Jeddah
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Updated 19 June 2020

Yoga is a great regimen for maintaining positive lifestyle, says Indian consul general in Jeddah

Yoga is a great regimen for maintaining positive lifestyle, says Indian consul general in Jeddah
  • Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh: I have been practicing yoga for the last 28 years

JEDDAH: Despite popular perceptions, yoga is not only a regimen for physical well-being but also a positive lifestyle, according to the Indian consul general in Jeddah.
“This year, on June 21, we are celebrating the sixth International Yoga Day,” Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh told Arab News.
He said that he was very happy that Saudi Arabia had recognized Yoga as a sports activity.
“I have been practicing yoga for the last 28 years. It all started with my father, who worked in the police department. One day in 1992, he brought home a wall poster illustrating 32 yoga asanas (postures). The next morning, I tried to do all of them, except for one asana ‘Shirshasana’ (headstand),” he said.
He added that he was able to do all the others postures as he played football, and also learned Taekwondo from his uncle, who was a black belt holder.
He mastered “Shirshasana” after intense practice, and was finally able to stand on his head. This exercise has since become his favorite, he said, adding that most of his siblings and his children are also fans of yoga.
The consul general said that he had many Muslims asking him why he practices yoga as a Muslim. “They are surprised when I tell them one can choose the asanas in which one finds comfort, and that one may simply take it as a sports activity. There is no compulsion in yoga and practicing yoga has immense benefits.”
Yoga, Sheikh said, had given him a great deal of stamina, perseverance, and self-confidence.
“I have been instrumental in supporting International Yoga Day from the first year right up to the present in Jeddah,” he said.
He added that he was proud of Nouf Al-Marwaai, the president and founder of the Arab Yoga Foundation and Saudi Arabia’s first female yoga master, who he described as “a genuine enthusiast for the propagation of yoga in Jeddah and all over the Kingdom.”
Al-Marwaai and her foundation have been participating in the Indian Consulate’s celebrations of International Yoga Day for some time.
In 2018, she was awarded India’s Padma Shri — the country’s fourth-highest civilian award — for her role in promoting yoga in the Kingdom.
Sheikh said that besides wearing a mask, washing hands and social distancing during these testing times, people should not neglect their physical and mental well-being and practice yoga. “One should also maintain calm and patience and avoid panic. Yoga can be a great regimen for this.”
The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted India’s proposal and proclaimed June 21 as International Yoga Day after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested it in 2014.
“Yoga embodies the unity of mind and body, thought and action, restraint and fulfillment, harmony between man and nature; a holistic approach to health and well-being,” Modi told the UNGA.


Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

Updated 7 min 19 sec ago

Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

Religious leaders denounce extremism in Europe

RIYADH: The King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID), in collaboration with the European Council of Religious Leaders, organized a virtual dialogue seminar under the theme “The Contributions of Religious Leaders in Tackling Violent Extremism and Promoting Social Cohesion in Europe: Fight and Response.”
The seminar was part of a series of initiatives by KAICIID to promote social cohesion in Europe following recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria. 
KAICIID’s secretary-general, Faisal bin Muaammar, said that terrorists’ behavior stemmed from a false and misleading understanding of their religion. “They chose the language of violence, leaving behind all peaceful alternatives,” he said.

HIGHLIGHT

The seminar was part of a series of initiatives by KAICIID to promote social cohesion in Europe following recent terrorist attacks in France and Austria.

Bin Muaammar highighted the effects social media platforms have in fueling violence and hatred after similar attacks in recent years.
“The responses and counter-responses from followers of religions and cultures in Europe and the world at large fuel controversy, hate speech and crimes according to research and studies adopted in this regard,” he said.
“The abuse of religion on one hand, and the targeting of societal components, religion, race and culture, on the other hand, have become an exciting feature of some societies. Last week, there was an attack on a rabbi on a street in Vienna because of his apparent religious identity only. Behind every story like this, there may be hundreds of similar stories out of the spotlight,” he added.
Participants addressed several themes, including the effectiveness of dialogue, and strengthening partnerships between religious leaders and policymakers to prevent extremism and potential violence.
Bin Muammar said that the virtual seminar reflects the center’s attempt to “provide space for reflection, confidence and participation.”