In a first, Saudi Arabia introduces yoga in universities

Anke Neustadt


Saudi Arabia will introduce yoga in its universities in order to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society, Saudi Gazette reported.

The Saudi Yoga Committee, in cooperation with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation (SUSF), organised a virtual introductory lecture for all university representatives across Saudi Arabia on yoga under the title “Yoga for University Students of Both Genders”, the report stated.

The meeting, at the SSUF headquarters in the Ministry of Education, Riyadh, came within the framework of an integrated system of programmes and initiatives of the Saudi Committee for Yoga, in order to spread awareness and motivate its practice as a lifestyle for all segments of society.

The event coincided with the arrival of the first yoga delegation to the kingdom from the Asian Yogasana Sports Federation in India for the qualification course for the first Saudi batch of Yoga Referees.

The report said that the course is hosted by the Ministry of Sports in cooperation with the Saudi Yoga Committee to train Saudi yoga referees in the kingdom.

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The lecture aims to introduce both traditional yoga and yogasana sports to Saudi universities and give a variety of options to the students on university campuses to practice yoga, whether for their mental and physical health or take it to an advanced level and join professional yogasana sports training to be part of competitions locally and internationally.

It also shed the light on the system of professional yogasana competitions within the university sports and the university league. The lecture motivated the youth to join sustainable and professional yoga training.

Nouf Almarwaai, President of the Saudi Yoga Committee, explained that the committee seeks to achieve its vision of spreading yoga on a large scale within Saudi society, and therefore it took the initiative to cooperate with the Saudi Universities Sports Federation in order to build a generation of yoga lovers, especially young people, to enjoy physical and mental health.

She added that the committee seeks to increase the number of practitioners and build yoga teams that participate in local and regional yoga championships. The kingdom excels at the Arab level in yoga, and citizens and residents practice it and at the same time teach yoga as a profession.

Al-Marwaai listed the benefits of practising yoga for young men and women. She said scientific studies have shown that its practice improves the academic achievement of students, and it has a significant role in reducing stress and anxiety and improving motor development, as yoga enables young people to use different muscles, and their various asanas and positions.

Stretching, forward bending, backward bending of the spine, twisting and inverted asanas, and balance asanas give young people physical flexibility to be healthy, she added.

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