The Ocean Ring of Yoga kicked off in the UAE at the DP World Cruise Terminal on Wednesday morning at the historic Mina Rashid in Dubai.

The presence of the Indian Naval Ship Brahmaputra, which voyaged from India to the UAE specifically for the ninth International Day enhanced the vibrant atmosphere as participants geared up for the mega-event.

The location transformed into a serene sanctuary as over 250 attendees performed various yoga ‘asanas’ (poses) that resonated harmoniously with this year's overarching theme — ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.

Witnessing sailors perform Yoga on board the INS Brahmaputra was a remarkable sight, as it emphasised the oneness of the global family.

The Global Ocean Ring of Yoga in the UAE, which was also telecast in India, was co-organised by the Embassy of India in Abu Dhabi, the Indian Navy and DP World.

Ministers shed light on the historical significance of the venue

In a virtual address marking the occasion, His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, said: “We celebrate the beautiful and powerful practice of yoga, its heritage and core values. We celebrate our human quest for happiness, self fulfilment and wholesome relationships with nature with the world and fellow human beings.”

He reiterated that each year the IDY participation grew both in number and diversity. The Minister also highlighted the significance of the venue and how Port Mina Rashid acts as a bridge between the two countries facilitating trade and commerce.

“Mina Rashid is the port most closely associated with those significant historic relations between the UAE and India. It has been and will continue to be important in facilitating trade and investment and the long-standing good and friendly relations between our two countries. We are indeed grateful for yoga — ancient India's gift to the world. The value is promoted by the practice of yoga resonate very well, with all of us in the United Arab Emirates.”

Large diplomatic corps also graced the occasion along with Indian Ambassador Sunjay Sudhir in their midst.

Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade of UAE, underscored the tremendous growth in the India-UAE relationship, adding that it was only apt that the event was being celebrated at Mina Rashid, a historically significant location, which has witnessed progress of India-UAE relations over many centuries.

Since the early days of pearl trade to the present multifaceted economic partnership, Mina Rashid holds a special place for the two countries.

“I'm very grateful for organising this which is done by the Indian embassy and the DP World. This (event) shows how yoga is impactful for the entire body and how critical it is to maintain our health. At the same time, the theme is that the ‘ocean connects the world’. The relation between UAE and India is historical and the ocean connects us…our cultures, nations and people. So, we're looking forward to continuing this excellent partnership with the Indian governments. I wish everyone a blessed International Yoga Day,” says Al Zeoudi.

Top officials from the UAE also elucidated several compelling reasons why one might consider incorporating yoga and sports into their routine.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs & Free Zone Corporation, underlined how yoga “binds the mind and the soul together.”

He says, “as Muslims we practice praying every day which is also (like) meditation, we pray five times a day. So, we know how much peace yoga brings to people. In Dubai, we are committed to sports and celebrating international events. Actually, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, practices horse riding and he is a champion at it and so is His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai. Now Sheikh Hamdan is leading many initiatives to ensure that everybody practices sports. We want to have a mind that is always at peace, and that is why we must participate in such activities. I really admire this event and wish everybody the best.”

Indian envoy underlines ‘yoga is a way of life’

The celebrations also encompassed a special recognition ceremony where Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy was honoured by Sunjay Sudhir.

Commander Tomy received accolades for his remarkable achievement of successfully completing the Golden Globe Race. The officer attributed his ability to overcome challenges at sea to the regular practice of Yoga and breathing exercises.

Sunjay Sudhir said: “Today is indeed a very important day because about nine years back in 2014, Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi gave this call in the United Nations to designate 21st of June as the International Day of Yoga. That resolution got overwhelming support and 175 countries supported the resolution, including the UAE. Thanks to you for supporting this big resolution. Our (Indian) Prime Minister himself is in New York leading the International Day of Yoga celebrations at the same United Nations, which designated today as the International Day of Yoga. It's indeed a proud moment for all of us that we have INS Brahmaputra docked at Port Mina Rashid. The theme this year is ocean connect and nothing can connect trade better than the oceans.”

He also thanked the captain of the ship for helming the journey to the UAE.

“I would also like to thank His Highness Sheikh Nahyan for his unstinting support for international day of yoga and for yoga. I'm just quoting his own remarks that ‘yoga is ancient India's gift to the world’. But now I think it belongs to everybody in the world. This is something which benefits each one of us regardless of our nationalities or our faiths, our gender, our age, and our state of health… it’s more of a way of life. I would also like to thank DP World for opening their doors and their hearts for organising this in such a lavish and impeccable way,” he added.

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