Abu Dhabi: Over 5,000 excited people gathered at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Cricket Stadium today for an invigorating two hours of yoga practice at the capital’s largest-ever yoga event held to celebrate the 8th International Day of Yoga.
As they took their positions on colourful yoga mats, they were joined by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, and Sunjay Sudhir, Indian Ambassador to the UAE, who participated in the International Day of Yoga Common Protocol, a set of simple and effective yogic postures for healthy living.
The massive event was organised by the Indian Embassy and the Indian People’s Forum (IPF), in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC).
“We are here today from different nations, cultures, religions and ethnicities in the UAE, an amazingly diverse nation. This celebratory event bridges cultural gaps, and helps us discover the power of tolerance and coexistence, in keeping with the theme for today – yoga for humanity,” Al Nahyan told attendees.
“As we commit to this practice, let us also commit ourselves to become champions of human rights, human dignity and empathy. And let us see that there is more that binds us than separates us, and that our similarities are greater than our differences,” he added.
Al Nayhan also thanked “the great nation of India” for giving the world yoga.
“We are delighted to be celebrating this day as a mark of the friendship between our two great countries, and I hope this will only enhance our relationship as we strive to unleash the power and strength to make this world a better place for everyone,” he added.
June 21 is celebrated globally as the International Day of Yoga, and this year, the theme is ‘Yoga for Humanity’. This highlights the possibility of using yoga – an ancient practice that combines postures and fluid transitions – to pursue a sustainable lifestyle in harmony with the planet.
Ambassador Sudhir said yoga has been embraced by the world for its multitude of benefits, and the International Day of Yoga seeks to make it accessible for all.
“Yoga balances the mind and the body, transcending gender, faith and nationality, and in this way, it has brought us all together today,” the diplomat said.
He urged attendees and the rest of the community to discover the benefits of this ancient practice, and to incorporate it into their daily lives as a way to beat stress.
Attendance at the yoga event was free, and participants received free t-shirts, yoga mats and certificates of participation. Qualified instructors from Heartfulnes Institute, Abu Dhabi, demonstrated the postures and their variations in a bid to ensure that everyone attending could participate with ease.
The ADSC also supported a number of other yoga sessions to celebrate the day, including a morning practice under the dome of Louvre Abu Dhabi, a session amidst the massive Bu Tinah zone tank at The National Aquarium, and a session at the Jubail Mangrove Park.