Saudi Arabia embraces yoga in pivot towards ‘moderation’
In a sparse, wood-floored studio, Saudi women squat, lunge and do headstands. Even a year ago, teaching these yoga postures could have rendered them outlaws in the conservative Islamic kingdom. Widely perceived as a Hindu spiritual practice, yoga was not officially permitted for decades in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam where all non-Muslim worship is banned. But with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowing an “open, moderate Islam”, the kingdom last November recognised yoga as a sport amid a new liberalisation drive that has sidelined religious hardliners. Spearheading efforts to normalise yoga in the kingdom is Nouf Marwaai, a Saudi woman…
You do not have access to this content. You need to subscribe.