Dubai: An increasing number of Indian schools in Dubai and the Indian mission here are promoting yoga as a regular exercise, thanks to the International Yoga Day (IYD) that has helped spread better awareness about the benefits of yoga since its launch in 2015.
“Yoga has become a regular feature in school assemblies in many schools,” said Ashok Kumar, CEO of The Indian High School in Dubai.
“We have been doing it for long. But, yoga became more popular here after the Yoga Day was introduced.”
At his school, students do yoga in assemblies as well as in classrooms, he said.
“We also hold short breathing sessions before and during exams to help children reduce the exam stress.”
Yoga is used to beat the board exam blues of grade 10 students at GEMS Modern Academy as well, said Kshama Lal, school student counsellor.
“We also make children do two or three postures like stretching or squatting and breathing exercise during the transition time between periods or during the recess. We started it last year and it is done at least three times a day.”
The school is encouraging parents’ participation as well. “Last year, a parent taught simple yoga steps through animal poses and dance session for KG and primary students. We are arranging yoga stations for parents attending the open house on 21 and 22 to take part in our Yoga Day celebrations,” she said.
Latha Venkateswar, principal of Sabari Indian School, said the teachers use rhythmic breathing exercises to help students relax especially when they come out of physical education classes.
“We started conducting yoga in one assembly session every week since last November. We have done an open day session with parents for the Yoga Day and we will hold a special assembly on 20th to celebrate the day.”
The 40-minute yoga protocol for IYD celebration has been cut short to 20 minutes for schools considering Ramadan and hot weather, the Indian Consulate said, clarifying that student participation in this session is also voluntary due to the very reasons.
The mission, which is spearheading the IYD events in Dubai and Northern Emirates is also conducting regular yoga classes for its employees now.
Ramshad Ahmed, a yoga master of Nirvana Yoga, said he and two colleagues have been teaching yoga to consulate staff members for some months now. “The sessions are conducted during their lunch break twice a week. They first attend the sessions and then go and have their lunch before resuming work.”
Ahsan Javed, 29, who works with the labour section, said around 25 consulate employees, including senior officials from different sections, except the busy passport section, have been regularly participating in the sessions.
“I did yoga for the first time at the consulate. Being a Muslim, I found that it is a misconception that yoga will affect our belief. That shouldn’t be a hindrance for people to benefit from yoga. I realised that yoga should be a part of everyone’s life and I am committed to continue it.”
He said yoga sessions at the consulate and at home have helped him reduce weight, stay healthy and energetic.
“I also feel less stressful while handling tough labour cases,” he said.
The Indian Consul General in Dubai Vipul had recently led a jampacked auditorium at the mission to hold a yoga session to kick-start the mission’s IYD celebrations.
The Consulate has urged residents to take part at the IYD events being held at various venues from June 20 to 22 at different emirates. More details are available at www.iyd.ae