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JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will take part in the eighth International Day of Yoga 100-day countdown campaign along with 100 other countries, Saudi Yoga Committee President Nouf Al-Marwaai has said.

To commemorate the campaign — also known as Yoga Mahotsav — of the International Day of Yoga 2022 (IDY), Al-Marwaai announced the launch of an 81-day yoga awareness program in the Kingdom.

The campaign’s virtual opening event was held on April 1 ahead of International Day of Yoga on June 21.

IDY was formally recognized for its health benefits under UN resolution 69/131. The international event aims to promote the practice of yoga and its associated health benefits.

The theme of IDY this year is “Health, Well-being and World Peace.”

It is organized by the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) under India’s Ministry of AYUSH, an institution established for research, development and education in ayurveda, yoga, naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy.

MDNIY Director Dr. Ishwar Basavaraddi said that this year’s campaign will cover 100 days, 100 cities and 100 organizations in the lead-up to IDY.

“The campaign’s program will include yoga demonstrations, workshops and seminars in India and across the globe,” he said.

The Kingdom’s virtual event on April 1 featured yoga lessons, a class with registered trainer Faisal Al-Awaji, a vinyasa session with Samah Diab, and pranayama and meditation classes with Bhola Shanker of the Himalayan meditation tradition.

“We are honored to be part of Yoga Mahotsav 2022. As we prepare to celebrate the International Day of Yoga, it is a very important to highlight yoga’s message for health, well-being and world peace. With today’s challenges around the world, yoga promotion is needed the most,” said Al-Marwaai in an opening speech at the virtual event.

She added that the Kingdom is making significant strides toward incorporating and integrating the practice of yoga in Saudi society.

Basavaraddi said that practicing yoga is “related to the human interest,” and that it can “liberate the world from tension” in a “message of love, peace, unity and good intentions.

“Embracing yoga is a clear and beautiful example that embodies the life quality enhancement in the Kingdom as part of Saudi Vision 2030,” said Saudi certified yoga instructor and architect Shahad Khalid.

She told Arab News: “By supporting sport communities and healthy lifestyles, yoga is a way for individuals to increase their awareness and connect with their bodies, with countless health benefits.”

Shahad said that the Kingdom’s participation in IDY is empowering for the Saudi yoga community, which can spread awareness and showcase the benefits of practicing yoga.

On IDY last year, the Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding with India to  promote yoga education.

Signed between the Saudi Ministry of Sport and India’s Ministry of AYUSH, the deal aimed to activate and organize yoga in the Kingdom, paving the way for the Saudi yoga community to take part in the IDY 2022 campaign.

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