Cairo: Yoga has grown enormously over the last a few years in Egypt, Indian envoy has said in Cairo as India organised first Yoga Championship in the country to popularise the ancient Indian spiritual practice.
Ambassador of India to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya welcomed the growing number of Yoga practitioners and noted the historic nature of the event.
"Over the last few years, we have noticed that the interest in yoga has grown enormously in Egypt. Last year we found that they were 14 yoga schools in Cairo and this year we believe that they are over 40," Bhattacharyya said yesterday while inaugurating the championship.
The essence of Yoga was to start from the level of one's own capacities and to continuously strive for higher levels of accomplishment, he said.
The Championship, a landmark event here, attracted over 35 highly proficient Egyptian and foreign participants aged from six to 71 years. It was divided into four categories of under 18 years, 18-30 years, 30-45 years and above 45 years.
Enthusiastic contestants performed 10 basic and five advanced 'Asanas' with Indian music in the background. The winners will be awarded medals and certificates on June 21 at the International Day of Yoga here.
"The successful conduct of the First Yoga Championship in Cairo, particularly, on the eve of the holy month of Ramadan was proof of the appreciation and adoption of the excellent Indian way of living a natural and healthy life of universal love, peace and harmony," Jury Member of Yoga Championship Prabhakar said.
"The First Yoga Championship is making history in Egypt. There is a huge potential for this championship in future which was visible in the marvellous work shown by the children as well as by the elders. The Yoga session could also be organised in schools. This will help them become a responsible human being," another Jury member Amira Fahmy said.
One of the participants Yashmine Hashem said, "It was a great day where everyone had fun, for wining is not the goal as much as allowing others to inspire us to our best".
Although formal teaching of yoga began at the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture in the 1990s, the popularity of Yoga in Egypt has grown with the tripling of Yoga Schools in Cairo, to around 40, since the first International Day of Yoga held last year.