Yoga is an old discipline with origins in Indian philosophy, and what began as a spiritual exercise for the body and soul has established a name for itself in the modern world of fitness. Nouf Marwaai, the country’s first certified yoga instructor and recipient of India’s fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri, held Saudi Arabia’s first yoga festival on January 29th, 2022. Marwaai is also the creator of the Arab Yoga Foundation, and the event, which took place in Juman Park on the outskirts of King Abdullah Economic City, drew a large number of young ladies and girls.
Who is Nouf Marwaai?
Nouf Marwaai is from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, her birth name is Nouf Al Marwai. She is the president of The Arab Yoga Foundation also Health Entrepreneur. She grew up intending to offer yoga students educational and training opportunities to learn more about the ancient Indian discipline of yoga sports in a comfortable and flexible environment. Nouf was one of the first Saudi professional women to travel to India to study Yoga and Ayurveda. She is a clinical psychologist, a successful Saudi businesswoman, and a specialist in wellness and lifestyle. Nouf has also pioneered the practice of Yoga and healthy living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries.
She was honored by the President of India with the 4th highest civilian award, the Padmashri, in 2018 for her work in making yoga legal in Saudi Arabia and eventually getting yoga recognized as a sporting activity. Loving India Foundation and Digital India Foundation named her Yoga Person of the Year in 2018. In 2018, the Asian Federation presented her with the Yoga Ratna Award. Since 2015, she has served as the director of Holistic Healthcare for Jeddah’s health services. She has been working with Arab Yoga Foundation, India – KSA, as President since 2010. In 2016 also opened Nouf Academy for Sports & Wellness in India.
Nouf’s voyage was far from straightforward. Nouf had to go through a lot because he was born with an autoimmune illness. She was unable to maintain a normal way of life. Then she heard about yoga from a friend and began reading about it. Her journey began in Australia, where she also finished her studies. Because there were no Ayurveda centers in Australia, she traveled to India. Her illness had progressed to the point that her kidneys were in danger of failing. Her health began to improve after she found numerous Ayurvedic doctors in Kerela.
Although there were concerns from her family, it was her increasing health that allowed her to gradually obtain support. People who initially believed she was sabotaging her career were also the ones who visited the training locations. The Saudis had no idea what yoga was. They thought of Yoga as a Buddhist practice similar to meditation. Saudi society is not one of openness. It took a lot of public awareness campaigns to get things to change, but they did. Nouf’s media exposure aided her greatly in this endeavor.
Nouf Marwaai Career
Nouf received an honors degree from King Saud University in Riyadh and completed her clinical training and experience at King Khaled Hospital in Riyadh from 2004 to 2007. She also volunteered as a clinical psychologist at the Mental Health Hospital in Jeddah. She also possesses yoga teaching qualifications as well as a dozen intensive credentials in Yoga, Ayurveda, and Naturopathy from Australia and India.
She received her Diploma of Holistic Weight Loss certification in 2006, followed by a Lifestyle Counselor diploma from Dr. David Frawley the following year (Ayurveda and Natural medicine doctor). She graduated from PVA College’s Nutritional and Natural Health program in 2008. She received her Recertification for a yoga teacher license 200 hours from yoga Yug International Yoga School from December 2013 to November 2013. The Institute of Yoga Sciences and Research awarded her a Diploma in Advanced Yoga Therapy and Training with merit and high honors in 2009. She received her International Yoga Federation Yoga teacher certification in 2010.
She graduated from Swami Vidyananda Srima School and Sri Aurbindo Ashram’s 500-hour yoga teacher training (YTT) and registry as a yoga master in May 2009. She also holds a Physiology and Anatomy of Hatha Yoga Theory and Practices private course, as well as a 240-hour Hatha yoga teacher license in the United States, Ashtanga, and vinyasa yoga workshops certification, and a 240-hour Hatha yoga teacher license in the United States.
Nouf Marwaai Achievement and Awards
In terms of her accomplishments, she was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award. Every year on India’s Republic Day, the Government of India bestows this honor. She was also invited to the International Women Empowerment Program and earned the Women Empowerment Award in Dubai the same year. Also, she won the Yoga Ratna award is a group of honorary awards given annually by the SHWAASA organization to recognize excellence in Yoga.
Her honorable mentions are also many. Nouf was a speaker at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in 2018, where she spoke about the India Transformation Forum. Nouf was noted in the media for giving a lecture on the 2016 International Yoga Day. Her students were also in charge of a class. Since 2012, she has served as an international referee for youth yoga competitions all over the world.
(Image Source: Wikipedia, Gulf News, Al Arabiya, Twitter)