Dubai: UAE ministers, top Indian and Emirati officials, members of various communities, students from different schools and employees of some companies took part in International Yoga Day (IYD) celebrations held across the country on Wednesday.
The main highlight of this year’s IYD, celebrated by the United Nations on June 21 since 2015, was Dubai joining the Global Ocean Ring of Yoga event specially organised for the ninth edition of the global day.
The event saw yoga demonstrations on ships and in ports in many countries, according to the government of India.
In the UAE, the Ocean Ring of Yoga was held at the DP World Cruise Terminal of the historic Port Rashid in Dubai, spreading a message of unity of humanity. The presence of Indian Naval Ship Brahmaputra, which sailed from India to the UAE to take part in the iconic event, added greater vigour.
More than 250 people participated in the event, including the contingent of INS Brahmaputra. In a first here, Indian sailors also performed yoga onboard INS Brahmaputra, promoting the message of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ [the world is one family] across the oceans.
Grateful for yoga
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, inaugurated the event with a special video message, in which he highlighted the relevance of yoga, an ancient Indian tradition, as a uniting force globally.
“We are indeed grateful for yoga, ancient India’s gift to the world. The values promoted by the practice of yoga resonate very well with all of us in the UAE,” Sheikh Nahyan said.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, was the chief guest. In his address, he underscored the tremendous growth in the India-UAE relationship, adding that it was only apt that the event was being celebrated at Mina Rashid, a historically significant location, which has witnessed the development and progress of India-UAE relations over many centuries. Since the early days of pearl trade to the present multifaceted economic partnership, Mina Rashid holds a special place for the two countries, the minister highlighted.
“Today, more than 3.5 million Indian nationals call the UAE home and they continue to make an imprint on our culture on our economy … In 2023, the UAE and India will also take our places on the world stage, just as we shape the global climate action at COP 28 in November and December while India is setting the economic agenda as the president of G20. The theme of the presidency is ‘One Earth One Family and One Future’ and it is with that sense of unity and optimism that we gather here today,” he added.
Chairman and CEO of DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, highlighted the many initiatives of the Dubai government in promoting sports activities including yoga and the many benefits.
How UAE supported
In his address, the Ambassador of India to the UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, reflected on how countries came together at the UN on the call of the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to unanimously adopt the UN resolution to commemorate the International Day of Yoga on June 21. He thanked the UAE for supporting India in the initiative.
The Global Ocean Ring celebrations in the UAE also included the felicitation of Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy by the ambassador for his inspiring feat of completing the Golden Globe Race, one of the world’s most challenging sailing races.
He shared that practicing yoga and breathing exercises helped him during the difficult times on the sea when he toured the world for 236 days in the UAE-registered boat Bayanat.
Lokesh Hegde, a yoga specialist from Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi, gave instructions for the yoga protocol practised by the attendees including the dignitaries.
The Global Ocean Ring of Yoga in the UAE was co-organised by the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi, the Indian Navy and DP World.
Series of events
It was part of a series of celebrations of the 9th International Day of Yoga in the UAE organised by the Indian missions. The embassy had kicked off the yoga day celebrations with a special session at Louvre Abu Dhabi while the Indian Consulate in Dubai held separate events at the Expo City Dubai and Skyline University College in Sharjah over the weekend.
Also on Wednesday, the embassy also organised another major yoga day event at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Held in association with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council, the massive event invited participants from across the UAE community, including schools, community organisations, sports clubs, and of all ages and genders.
Other community events included Indian International School’s special yoga session for students and parents near Dubai Frame at Zabeel Park, Century Financial Group’s rejuvenating beach yoga session at the Umm Suqeim beach for its employees, a unique session of yoga on Dubai’s only floating hotel QE2 and a community yoga session organised by the Indian Association in Ajman.