Srinagar: “Yoga is an addiction. Once you know how it beautifully unites the mind, body and soul, you can’t stop doing it,” says Saudi yoga instructor Amani Alandejani.
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) approved the teaching and practicing of yoga as a sport since last year in November, a report said.
Hailing the ministry’s decision, Alandejani told Gulf News that the decision came at the right time because yoga has grown exponentially in the last 2 years in the kingdom.
The 28-year-old revealed that earlier Saudis believed that yoga was associated with Hinduism, and so did not consider practicing it.
“It’s taken years for yoga-enthusiasts and instructors like us to change the mentality of people around us that yoga is about meditation and exercise.”
Many doctors and physicians are now also advising their patients to do yoga because of its numerous health benefits, she says.
While there are no official statistics for the number of yoga centres in the country, the exercise has definitely gained popularity among Saudis and expats alike, the Gulf News added.
Men are also practicing the exercise but it certainly is more popular amongst women.
The 5,000-year-old ancient Indian “art of living” is known for increasing the body’s strength and flexibility, reducing stress and depression, burning calories and treating various ailments, among others. “It’s mentally and physically rejuvenating,” said the Jeddah-based instructor.
Image caption: Amani Al Andejani practising yoga. (Courtesy: Gulf News)