UAE: Residents, tourists come together in thousands for mass yoga session

The event held at Skyline University served as a captivating prelude to forthcoming ninth International Day of Yoga

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by

Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 18 Jun 2023, 11:44 PM

As dusk descended and the university area in Sharjah lit up with radiant lights, Skyline University’s campus transformed into a serene sanctuary for over 6,000 individuals participating in a mass yoga session on Sunday.

This event which was a collaborative effort between Skyline University Sharjah, the Sports Council of Sharjah, and the Consulate General of India in Dubai, served as a captivating prelude to the forthcoming ninth International Day of Yoga, scheduled for June 21.

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The diversity displayed in the participants resonated harmoniously with this year's overarching theme, 'Yoga for Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' — a concept emphasising the oneness of our global family.

Vani Malladi who came all the way from Bur Dubai with her eight-year daughter and three-year-old son says, “This is not my first time participating in such mega-events. I’ve participated in such events before at the World Trade Centre. The fact that so many people get together and do yoga is truly inspiring.”

“I want to introduce yoga to my children early. I practice Hatta Yoga. My toddler son can already do sun salutations and my eight-year-old daughter can do splits and a few asanas. I find yoga to be a stress reliever, it helps increase flexibility, improves the cardiovascular system, and improves the digestive system apart from having many other benefits.”

Monica Bahel Arya, founder of Skillopaedia in Dubai has come with her yoga instructor to the event. She is not only accompanied by her teacher but has also encouraged many of her group members to participate.

“I brought along a Russian friend who arrived in Dubai just two weeks ago. I asked him to come along as I knew he would enjoy the evening since he is already into yoga.”

Russian tourist Michael Klementiev says, “I have done yoga and meditation for the past seven years. Yoga should be a way of life and it’s good for mental and emotional wellbeing. It helps to keep people within boundaries. It gives people an understanding of how to behave in different situations by controlling their minds. Yoga can be complex but mindfulness in yoga can have a profound impact on stress reduction. I have been practicing yoga and meditation for the past seven years and even have a ‘guru’ (teacher) in India.”

Michael Klementiev

Similarly, Monica’s instructor elucidates several compelling reasons why one might consider incorporating yoga into their routine.

Gomti Sitaraman, from Arogya Yatra, says, “I teach laughter yoga and am a therapist. I specialise in yoga for cancer rehabilitation. I think yoga not only helps you to relax but also teaches you to calm down, enabling people to be sharp and alert.”

A visitor from Mumbai, India, Dinesh Dirwani says that the country is considered the birthplace of yoga and that it is the best gift the country has given to the world.

Dinesh Dirwani

He says, “I am an emotional intelligence practitioner and a karmic philosopher, so I believe in meditation more than medication. I heal people with different modalities. One of my group members asked me to come here and that’s how I am here. I practice ‘yog’, which is for the mind, and ‘yoga, which’ is for the body. I have always had a passion to combine both. I have too not been very regular with it. But I definitely see this event as a start.

"As a matter of fact, Aryabhatta came up with the zero – leading to the mathematics we know today – which leads me to believe that India is a giver. It’s a seat for spirituality and the West is now loving India for that. Yoga spreads vibrations of peace and I see people of all colours and races embracing that, and I feel very proud of this fact.”

The event also brought together the frontline workers, including nurses and students.

Jerry Owuhu Frimbong who is originally from Ghana and works for Dulsco as a general helper says, “heard about this initiative from my company. It’s the first time that I will be doing yoga. I am a bit apprehensive as I do not know much about it, but I do know that the practice of yoga can prove to be beneficial if done for a long period of time.

Grade 7 students Manasvani Satishkumar and Keerthana Vijaya say, “Our moms got us here. Our respective schools also informed us about this event. It is our first time participating in an event of this scale and we are very excited to be doing yoga with community members.”

Manasvani Satishkumar and Keerthana Vijaya

Consul General of India praises global engagement at event

Dr Aman Puri Consul General of India to Dubai and Northern Emirates said events like these are a shining example of collaboration, serving as a vital bridge between the two countries, fostering connections and promoting the sharing of values.

He said, “Today we have several thousand people gathered here in Sharjah, celebrating yoga, celebrating wellness, celebrating wellbeing for one and for all. As you are aware, with the support of 175 Member States, the United Nations declared June 21 as the International Day of Yoga which happened due to the extraordinary efforts of Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi.

"He has been able to inspire millions of Indians to make yoga a part of their daily life and very importantly, the aspiration has been that India – which is one of the oldest continuous living civilisations of the world – has a wealth of spiritual wisdom. It is very important for us as Indians to realise that we are custodians of this spiritual wealth and it was the vision of the Prime Minister to make sure that this wealth of India, this gift of India is shared with every member of the global family in the true spirit of 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' considering the whole world as one family."

Dr Puri highlighted that this event “celebrates the contribution of this living bridge between the two countries to connect the two societies together" and makes sure that both countries can share everything.

"We are sharing a golden era of the UAE-India partnership. It is truly a role model for how two countries can collaborate and partner for the benefit of people in each country, for the region, and for the global community. I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the very large Indian community of the UAE to extend our gratitude to all the members of the royal family, to the rulers of the seven emirates, and to the various institutions of the UAE who've always been supporting us in every aspect of our life here in the United Arab Emirates.”

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Nandini Sircar

Published: Sun 18 Jun 2023, 11:44 PM

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