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12,000 to join mass yoga session in Dubai

Event will be held Sunday night at Dubai’s Al Wasl sports club

Gulf News

Dubai: Around 12,000 to 15,000 people are expected to join a mass yoga event in Dubai to be held on June 21, the world’s first International Yoga Day.

Gracing the occasion will be world amateur boxing champ Mary Kom from India and Major General Nasser Al Razooqi, UAE Karate and Taekwondo Federation president and UAE National Olympic Committee member.

Some 10,000 people from over 50 nationalities have already registered for the free event, to be held 8pm-10pm on Sunday at Al Wasl Sports Club on Oud Metha road. More people are expected to register on the event website from Friday to Sunday.

Registration is not mandatory and many people who did not register will also show up, organisers expect.

The UN recently decided to mark International Yoga Day on June 21 every year, starting from this year. As many as 170 countries, including the UAE, voted for the resolution.

In Dubai, the Indian consulate and the Wasl club will host the mass yoga session, said to be the region’s biggest, officials said at a press conference on Thursday.

At Sunday’s event, some 4,000 to 5,000 people will also try to create a “Dubai yoga wave,” details of which are still being worked out. Fan-made waves are common in spectator stands during football matches and loosely follow the format for people rising from their seats is quick succession as the wave passes them.

“It’ll be a nice spectacle and it’ll add spice to the programme,” said Anurag Bhushan, consul general of India in Dubai.

Proceedings will start with an appearance by Kom, release of balloons, short speeches, awards to winners of an interschool yoga contest, and an introduction to yoga.

To prepare for the huge event, around 500 volunteers are working to ensure a smooth session on Sunday night, he added. Also, yoga mats, water bottles and towels will be distributed for free while stocks last, with arrangements made for some 10,000 people so far.

“I urge people to register. It’ll make it easier for us to welcome them,” Bhushan added.

There will also be a shuttle bus service between Jadaf metro station and the club. Those who have registered for the session will be sent an email or SMS regarding their allocated yoga field at the venue.

“We’ve made things very comfortable, it’s going to be a historic first day for yoga.”

Organisers will also use the event for a “soft launch” of an online UAE blood donor register (