The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Commerce and Industry has declared the practice of yoga as a sports activity, according to a social media post by Nouf Marwaai, the kingdom’s first woman yoga instructor. This is a welcome development as recently a Muslim Yoga teacher in Jharkhand was attacked because she teaches yoga.

It is a great move considering that Saudi Arabia is the centre of orthodox Islam.

People in Saudi Arabia now can practice Yoga freely there without any hassle.

This means any yoga enthusiast now can get a yoga centre/studio licence. If he/she wishes to teach yoga as a sports service, he/she can do it under the head of business activity

READ: Saudi Arabia Opens Doors To Women-Only Gyms

However, this grant came as a bit of a shock for the Indian Muslim clergy who are opposing the development in Saudi Arabia. Going forward as a more open country, Saudi beat India — tagged as “the land of the yoga” — in liberalization as a large section of people still, in a stereotypical way, believes that Yoga is linked to Hinduism only.

Late on Tuesday, yoga guru Baba Ramdev praised the decision taken by the Saudi government.

Recently, Saudi Arabia has decided to allow women into sports stadiums from 2018. The authorities have opened doors to families along with women.

Also Read: Uprising of Yoga Around the World

Interestingly, the country, which is known to deny women rights, appears to be working hard to create a gender-balanced space within. The country has also launched its first ever Girls’ Council. Last but not the least, the authorities have finally allowed women to drive cars.

Also Read: Saudi Arabia Celebrates Its First Women’s Day

India, it’s never too late to be inspired!

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Feature Image Credit: REUTERS/Amit Dave

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