In a major boost to the ancient Indian practice and one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects, the Islamic kingdom of Saudi Arabia today approved Yoga as a sporting activity.
The Saudi Ministry of Trade and Industry has listed Yoga under “sports activities”, which allows any Saudi citizen to practice or propagate it by getting a licence from the government.
An Arab woman named Nouf Al Marwaai has been credited for the development of Yoga in Saudi Arabia. Marwaai is the first certified Saudi woman teaching Yoga.
Marwaai, who is the president of the Arab Yoga Foundation founded in 2010, believes that Yoga and religion are “not in conflict with each other”.
In 2015, shortly after the United Nations declared June 21 as the International Yoga Day, the Indian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia had organised maiden Yoga sessions in various Indian schools in the Islamic kingdom.