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Residents from all walks of life gathered under the dome of the museum for the community yoga event Image Credit: Twitter/@IndembAbuDhabi

Abu Dhabi: The 8th International Day of Yoga has kicked off across the UAE, with dozens of sessions today celebrating the ancient practice that strives to promote health and harmony.

In a video message, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Tolerance and Coexistence, shared a heartfelt ‘namaste’ as one of the first of these yoga practices began at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

Preserving heritage

“We do best when we strengthen human contact, and do all we can to preserve human dignity. We do best when go forward with determination to ensure that all people have a positive future to look forward to as members of one human family. These values and principles are at the core of the UAE’s vision. In the UAE, we believe that there is a vast field where we can act together to promote moral values that are a vital part of our common human heritage,” Al Nahyan told a gathering of people who had assembled under the museum’s dome for a morning yoga session.

“We are grateful for yoga, a gift from ancient India to the world, and we thank India for giving us this International Day of Yoga. We will celebrate it with renewed commitment to spread universal moral values and international harmony and peace. In the spirit of yoga’s essence, we will redouble our efforts to help those in need, regardless of their politics, their ideology and their religion. We will strive to reach out to one another in a spirit of peace and harmony as we commit to live together in dignity and good health,” he said.

Human connections

The UAE minister stressed the importance of human connections as he signed off in his video message.

“It is gratifying to know that those of us celebrating this eighth International Yoga Day are connected with each other around the world. I would like to share a heartfelt ‘namaste’ to all of you. That one word of greetings and good wishes speaks volumes on this day,” he said.

Largest yoga event

Sunjay Sudhir, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, was among the participants at the hour-long session at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

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He will also join thousands of other community members later today at the largest-ever yoga event in the capital, which will be held at the Zayed Cricket Stadium. This evening session will be organised by the Indian Embassy and the Indian People’s Forum, in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

The International Day of Yoga is this year being celebrated globally under the theme of ‘Yoga for Humanity’, which highlights yoga as an instrument to achieve sustainable lifestyles in harmony with the planet.

Session in Dubai

Dubai also took part in the Guardian Ring for Yoga initiative with an early morning yoga session held with the Museum of the Future, dubbed the most beautiful building in the world, in the backdrop.

The event on the terrace of the Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel was organised by the Indian Consulate in Dubai in collaboration with The Art of Living. Participants included Art of Living yoga practitioners, diplomats from the consulate and other guests.