Hundreds roll their mats out in Abu Dhabi

Ashwini Kumar/Abu Dhabi
Filed on June 22, 2016
Hundreds roll their mats out in Abu Dhabi
A crowded Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi during the second International Day of Yoga celebrations.

(Photo By Nezar Balout)

The registration was closed at 3,000 but as the night grew old, the numbers soared.

It was a special night at the Umm Al Emarat Park as hundreds attended the second International Day of Yoga organised by the Indian Embassy.

The event managed by Art of Living and other local association volunteers was a huge success as close to 4,000 joined the celebrations.

The registration was closed at 3,000 but as the night grew old, the numbers soared.

Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; and Shaikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, were the special guests at the event on Tuesday night.

Inaugurating the event by lighting the traditional lamp, Shaikha Lubna addressed the participants with 'namaskar' (the Indian way of welcoming guests) and spoke about the benefits of yoga that symbolises the union of mind, body and soul.

"Yoga can help us achieve a very healthier lifestyle," she said.

She said the UAE was happy to join the special celebrations and hailed the initiatives taken by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in promoting yoga.

Shaikh Nahyan later released a book on yoga practices.

Indian Ambassador to the UAE TP Seetharam termed the exercise a "grand success".

"People from all walks of life joined the celebrations. Ministers attending this event were a great gesture and Shaikha Lubna's remarks were very significant," he said.

General public and yogis, cutting across nationalities stretched and twisted their bodies to mark the event. Children were seen copying their parents, who in turn were following the Art of Living instructors.

Hundreds roll their mats out in Abu Dhabi (KT7268622.JPG)

66-year-old challenges youth

Among them was 66-year-old Banwarilal Bangrwa, who is working as a document delivery man for an MNC. He attributed yoga as the secret behind his fitness.

"I am working here for 40 years. I challenge any youngster to beat my record in number of deliveries I make in a particular day. I am practising yoga for years."

"Today, youngsters have no time for yoga or exercise. They must at least try vajrasana, which is an asana in sitting position. It helps fight many health problems," he added.

Universal Hospital managing director, Dr Shabeer Nellikode, said people should see each day as an International Day of Yoga.

"Next year, we hope to host a bigger event," said Nellikode, who was one of the sponsors of the event.

SFC Group managing director K. Muraleedharan practises yoga daily for 45 minutes and said the global recognition has led to more people rolling out their mats to yoga.

"It was only after the recognition that children started following it. Now, they celebrate it just like they do for a Mother's Day or a Father's Day.

"I was amazed by the way the Art of Living teachers performed most of the yoga postures," he added.

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