Mansooruddin Faridi / New Delhi
It has just taken the initiative and passion of one person -Muqaddas Riaz in this case – that Yoga has become a regular part of educational institutions and academic life in Pakistan. It has been added to the sports category in many academic institutions and not only students but even teachers and members of the administration are also following the Yogi regime in their daily life.
As soon as Muqaddas Riaz stepped into Government College University, Lahore, she attracted a group of women students for yoga practice. Daughter of Pakistan’s leading exponent of Yoga Riaz Khokhar, Muquaddas was successful in making her point that yoga is the guarantor of health in life.
The Pakistan Yoga Council, one of the few major institutes promoting yoga in Pakistan, has launched a campaign to introduce yoga in educational institutions.
Vice-Chancellor inaugurating the Yoga Club in the University
Ravians Yoga Club thus become the first yoga club to be set up in any educational institution or the University of Pakistan. Vice-Chancellor Dr. Asghar Zaidi inaugurated the Club at Government College University Lahore where Muqaddas Riaz studies.
The yoga community at Lahore University sees this initiative as another milestone for yoga’s promotion in Pakistan.
Prof. Asghar Zaidi cut the customary ribbon to throw the club open. Riaz Khokhar, the spirit behind Pakistan Yoga Council, was also present on the occasion. Interestingly, Khokhar has studied yoga at Lahore University.
Muqaddas Riaz while talking to Awaz-the Voice said that she considers her father Riaz Khokar as her teacher as it’s because of him that she has been practicing yoga since her childhood. Muqaddas says that yoga is a great way to relieve mental and physical fatigue.
She says that when she started college in 2020, she started doing yoga with female students and they soon realized its positive effects.
University staff and faculty into a Yoga practice session
“I created a Whatsapp group and started a campaign with some friends. Soon more than 100 female students were doing Yoga in the college.
Muqaddas Riaz says that yoga changes life; it connects soul and body. Everyone felt this and very soon this campaign also impressed the teachers.
Soon, the management staff also started doing yoga. One day, the Vice-Chancellor even called Muqaddas and advised her to set up a system in the University for perpetuating the Yoga practice before she completes her studies and leaves the college. “On everyone's advice we formed a society,” she says.
Students with Muqaddas practising Yoga
‘Now that I am in my third year, the university authorities have included yoga in the formal curriculum. It has become part of routine studies. Lahore University is the only university in Pakistan where yoga is a part of the curriculum,” she says.
Muqaddas Riaz told Awaz-the Voice that her biggest achievement is making yoga popular. She attracted people to yoga. The students noticed that yoga creates new energy in them and her yoga group grew day by day.
It may be recalled that Yogi Riaz Khokhar runs one of the leading yoga institutes in Pakistan.
The practise session inside the University campus
Due to his efforts, after Fajr prayers in every park of Lahore, a corner can be seen occupied by Yoga practitioners. The famous Shalimar Bagh of Lahore hosts the largest congregations of Yoga practitioners.
Speaking to Awaz-the Voice, Riaz Khokar shied away from praising his daughter. He only said, “ it is not easy to make yoga a regular part of any government institution.”
The inaugural function of this yoga club at Government College, University Lahore was attended by a large number of students and teachers.
Vice-Chancellor Prof. Dr. Asghar Zaidi and Patron in Chief Pakistan Yoga Council Legend Yogi Riaz Khokhar and teachers of Team Pakistan Yoga Council Mr. Muhammad Bashir Khan, Mr. Aslam Mughal, Mr. Chaudhry Babar Naseem Asi were the special guests of this memorable function.