While Yoga has been allowed in Saudi Arabia since November 2017, with the MoU a formal system has been put in place for its practice

In a first of its kind step by any country in the Gulf region, Saudi Arabia has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with India for the establishment of a formal "Yoga protocol (standards)" for the promotion of yoga in the country.

The formal Yoga standards and courses will be tailor-made for the country keeping in view local sensitivities.

With this Yoga has been formally recognised in the country as an important sports activity by Saudi Arabia's ministry of sports.

While Yoga has been allowed in the country since November 2017, with the MoU a formal system has been put in place for its practice.

The MoU was signed on the 7th International Yoga Day between India's ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr Ausaf Sayeed and Abdullah Faisal Hammad, Director General, Leaders Development Institute, Ministry of Sports.

The MoU has been in making for the last six-seven months. Yoga standards are in the advanced stages and it's understood that an announcement is in the offing with experts and the Saudi ministry of sport drafting the standards-compliant with local laws and norms.

Under the standards, formal certification of Yoga trainers will start with exams, and the process of evaluation can take place.

Nouf Marwaai was awarded India’s leading civilian honor, Padma Shree, on 15 August 2018
The MoU also facilitates collaboration in research, education, and training in the field of Yoga.

The MoU for Yoga cooperation is between Leaders Development Institute, Saudi ministry of sports, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India. Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga is the nodal body for planning, training, and promotion of Yoga in India.

A Saudi Yoga Committee has been formed which will have the power of an independent Yoga federation just like any other sports federation.

Nouf Marwaai will be heading the body. In 2018, Nouf also known as the first Saudi Yogacharya was honoured with India's fourth-highest civilian award the Padma Shri for her role in the popularisation of yoga.