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Yoga trainer becomes first Saudi woman to receive Padma Shri

Saturday January 27, 2018 7:38 PM, News Network

Nouf Marwaai
[Nouf Marwaai was the first certified Yoga instructor in Saudi Arabia and she played an important role in legalizing Yoga in the Kingdom. (Photo: Nouf Marwaai/Twitter)]

Jeddah: Saudi Yoga trainer Dr. Nouf Marwaai was conferred Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India. She was conferred the honor on Friday during the Republic Day function organised by the Indian Consulate in Jeddah.

“For years now I’ve been promoting the Indian culture, especially Yoga, and I’ve always spoken to people about this meditating practice, and how beautiful is Indian culture.

"My propagation of Yoga among friends, made them more involved in the Indian culture, adopting some of it, while having the best of both cultures", she said.

Nouf was born with auto-immune disease and has been practising Yoga and naturopathy for the past 19 years.

Both the Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed and Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh expressed their happiness at Nouf’s award.

“In recognition of her remarkable services in popularizing Yoga in Saudi Arabia and the Arab World, Nouf has been recognized. It is a matter of privilege for all of us that for the first time a Saudi woman has been chosen for this honor.

“Ms. Nouf has been associated with the Embassy of India, Riyadh and Consulate General of India, Jeddah, for the past few years and participated in our programs on the occasion of International Day of Yoga.

"This recognition enhances the historical socio-cultural and people-to-people relationship between India and Saudi Arabia,” Javed said.

Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh said that when he was told about the award early Friday morning he felt immensely happy at the recognition.

“Someone who is so closely associated with us and Nouf has received the fourth highest civil award of India, is surely a great honor for us. My heartiest congratulations to her, for truly she is the face of yoga revolution in the Kingdom,” he said.

Nouf Marwaai was the first certified Yoga instructor in Saudi Arabia and she played an important role in legalizing Yoga in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia declared Yoga a sport in November 2017 which came in response to her efforts.

Marwaai has so far taught more than 3,000 students and, since 2009, has certified approximately 70 yoga teachers in the Kingdom.

She is also a practitioner of Ayurvedic Indian medicine and is a clinical psychologist, a lifestyle counsellor, and an Ayurveda and yoga therapist.


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