Maulana Sajid Rashidi on Wednesday welcomed Saudi Arabia's decision of listing Yoga under sports activities, saying that health should not be related to any particular religion.
Speaking to ANI, the Muslim cleric said, "Yoga was never prohibited in Islam. Yoga is meant for a healthy body and Islam does not defy this fact. People make an issue when we talk about 'Surya Namaskar', a type of yoga posture, and associate yoga with Hindu religion. I think health should not be associated with a particular religion. Therefore, Saudi Arab has approved Yoga. I support this move".
He added that first the government needs to take initiatives to encourage a healthy environment, then only people will follow.
"We welcome this move by the Saudi Ministry," Rashidi said.
The Saudi Ministry of Trade and Industry approved Yoga under "sports activities" and allowed Saudi citizen to practice it on issuance of licence from the government.
Nouf Marwaai, a Riyadh-based Yoga expert, who dedicated herself to promote Yoga in the Gulf region, confirmed that the Saudi Ministry has listed Yoga under its sports category.
"Yoga is a legal sport activity in Saudi Arabia now. It's in the official website of the ministry of trade and industry listed under sports activities. Licenses are available for yoga centers and studios. Saudi yoga teachers have even started preparing their own yoga studios," she said.
In an exclusive interaction with ANI, Marwaai revealed that she had to face a lot of accusations and threats for even writing about Yoga or Yoga day.
She said, "I struggled a lot. I had to face a lot of accusations and threats. Any article that was released about yoga or yoga day, I would receive many messages and texts. I could not teach yoga officially. I also couldn't get a license in 2012 for naturopathy center, even after spending USD 1 million, just because it wasn't classified yet."