This is how the arab world came to embrace ancient indian wellness practices
It all started back in 2018, when Nouf Marwaai was awarded the Padma Shree in India – India’s highest civilian award.
Nouf Marwaai is a Saudi Arabian woman who has defeated cancer and other health conditions with yoga. She prefers to call it “wellness sport”, but her story goes beyond just the physical aspect of this practice; she sees its freeing effects on mental illnesses like lupus or depression, which can cause significant distress in one’s daily life.
Read her full story as she dictates it to alarabiya
“If the Individual is free from physical ailment and laziness and mental disturbances they will create a healthy and free society,” Nouf told Al Arabiya English.
When Nouf’s yoga journey began, she was motivated by her determination to fight ill-health. “In the year of 1998, I was not allowed to do a lot. I had excessive joint pains, muscles pains, body pains and much more,” she said.
It was then that Nouf discovered yoga asanas (positions). “I thought may be if I can practice yoga I can do something without hurting my joints and my body. That’s how this journey started,” she said.Source
Things have really moved forward now in 2022 when Saudi Arab has officially celebrated it’s own Yoga Day
More than 1,000 people from across Saudi Arabia flocked to Juman Park in King Abdullah Economic City on Saturday for the country’s first-ever Yoga Festival.
A committee organized the event made up mainly of members aged 10-60 who had come together with one goal: To promote mindfulness and holistic living through practices like yoga that can help improve quality of life and relieve pain and mental health issues.
It started small at first, though – With just two classes offered over three hours each day lasting until midday before expanding into eight different types altogether, including children’s and adults’ classes that were held separately.
The day was filled with positive energy and acceptance, with many people choosing to sit and relax in the shade where mats, pillows, and rugs were available.
The president of the Saudi Yoga Committee, Nouf bint Muhammad Al-Maroui, said she was overwhelmed by the number of visitors and the energetic, positive response.
She said yoga had become an increasingly widespread therapy deployed to maintain wellness and alleviate a range of health problems and ailments.
In her address to visitors, she said that Saudi Arabia was witnessing a remarkable development in all sectors and also in the quality of life due to great support from the government.
“The festival was a great success and I am happy that not only Saudis welcomed but also embraced our thoughts on yoga, which was the sole purpose of the event,” she told Arab News. “We want to promote yoga to families and encourage it in the country. We want Saudis to start their day with yoga, which does not take more than 20 minutes a day, which anyone can easily spare.”
People’s reactions to the event were also positive.Source
Saudi Arabia’s Yoga Day is an excellent example of how the Arab world has embraced ancient Indian wellness practices. Nouf Marwaai awarded the Padma Shree in India, has been instrumental in promoting yoga in Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.
With more and more people embracing yoga and its benefits, it is only a matter of time before other Arab countries follow suit and celebrate their Yoga Day.