JEDDAH: Yoga — an ancient art, science and sport combined — is getting a modern twist as Saudi Arabia begins planning specialist academies and training institutes to cater for the growing community of devotees in the Kingdom.
As part of the 8th International Yoga Day, the Saudi Yoga Committee, in cooperation with the Ministry of Sport, launched its own page on the Nafes platform to encourage investment in yoga by opening halls, academies and institutes to train instructors, and to speed up the issuing of licenses for studios and centers.
“Due to the strong demand for yoga in the Kingdom, the committee aims to increase the number of yoga centers and studios in all cities so that it is easier to access and practice yoga,” said Nouf Al-Marwaai, president of the Saudi Yoga Committee.
Al-Marwaai said that these services and centers are concentrated in the main cities, but growing demand has recently been noticed in southern regions in Asir and Abha, in the north in Tabuk and Hail, and in the west in Makkah and Madinah, Yanbu and Rabigh, as well as in smaller cities such as Al-Aflaj and on the outskirts of the Riyadh region.
“They all have a community of yoga instructors and practitioners,” she said.
Al-Marwaai said that the committee has launched other initiatives to promote yoga sports in Saudi Arabia.
“In addition to registering yogaasana players in the Saudi Yoga Committee, and issuing licenses to yoga trainers and teachers in cooperation with the Ministry of Sport on the Nafes platform, we are also inviting all yoga practitioners to participate in the first professional yogasana competition in the Kingdom,” she said.
“The aim of the competition is to create a platform for yoga professionals in the Kingdom, and expand the concept of yoga tournaments and competitions, as the Saudi Yoga Committee cooperates with International bodies such as the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation and the World Yogasana Sports Federation to form local, regional and international championships.”
The competition will be a traditional yogasana competition, consisting of three compulsory poses. The first three winners will be honored with financial prizes and will be added to the Saudi Yoga Committee as professional players.
Entrants simply post a 10-second video while holding the pose on Instagram or Twitter, mentioning the Saudi Yoga Committee account and the following hashtags #Saudi_Yoga_Competition.
Al-Marwaai said that the competition will encourage the practice of different types of yoga.
The competition began on June 21 and results will be announced on July 3.
“The Saudi Yoga Committee expects a great response to these initiatives due to a large number of yoga lovers, practitioners and trainers in the Kingdom,” she said.
Recently, Al-Marwaai was a guest of the Embassy of India in Riyadh, while Saudi Yoga Committee CEO Ahmed Al-Saadi attended a ceremony at the Indian Consulate in Jeddah.