Yoga is soon going to be a part of the sports curriculum in Saudi Arabian schools. Saudi Arabia has decided to introduce certain yoga exercises in its school curriculum. These Yoga practices mainly include posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief technique, and relaxation technique.
The president of the Saudi Yoga Committee (SYC) Nouf Al-Marwaai has announced the decision on 14th March 2022. In this announcement, he has cited the benefits of Yoga for physical and mental fitness. It is notable that, in November 2017, Saudi Arabia’s ministry of commerce had approved the teaching and practice of yoga as a sport in the Kingdom.
On 9th March 2022, SYC had organized a lecture for school principals and physical education teachers. This was basically an introductory session in which the coordination between the SYC and the Saudi School Sports Federation was highlighted. The aim of the session was to mobilize the strategy from the Ministry of Education and the SYC. Raising the levels of students participating in sports at local levels, increasing the representation of Saudi Arabia in various international sports events, and promoting the health of young Saudis were among the other major objectives of this lecture session.
According to a report by the Arab News, Khalid Jama’an Al-Zahrani, certified yoga instructor and founder of Ananda Yoga Studio has said, “As I started to dive deep in yoga, I never stopped discovering its incredible benefits as it is a whole and transformative sport that leads its practitioners to a calmer and clearer mind and stronger and healthier physique.”
He further said, “Our school system in the Kingdom has always ensured that all its activities are aimed at contributing to the development of the students, from both physical and academic aspects, and I believe that introducing yoga to the Saudi education system is a nourishing and effective move.”
Al-Zahrani added, “Having yoga at school would be an investment as it would lead to more educational reforms that would benefit children, their families, and the community as a whole.”
Underlining the importance of Yoga in a day-to-day life that is full of technological advancements and electronic gadgets, he said, “We live in a technological era where everyone’s on their phones, tablets, devices, distracted from the present, which has a negative impact on our concentration. And so, we need to train our youngsters and ourselves to reflect on what is within, and practice yoga to gain discipline and nurture the mind with what is important.”
Nouf Al-Marwaai informed that SYC plans to expand its scope and objectives. She also said that in many areas of Saudi, there is a need for large-scale implementation of teaching Yoga in schools. She is known to be the first Saudi woman to teach yoga and she has played an important role in gaining the Ministry of Education’s approval and pushing for yoga as a sport. Nouf Al-Marwaai was honored with the Padma Shri award, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, by President Ram Nath Kovind.