#360fit: Your guide to the best Yoga classes in the UAE

Kara Martin 09:38 21/01/2016
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  • Find your Zen: Yoga is beneficial for both the body and the mind.

    We can’t believe we’re saying this but yoga has become even more popular in the UAE in 2016.

    Whether you’re procrastinating in picking it up (still?), or are stuck in a yogi rut and eager to expand your horizons on the mat, this is the year to really get stuck in. Mark your calendar with these top reasons and retreats, talks and trainings.

    Free Yoga

    Yes, free. What better way to see if you like it or not than by sampling it first? Le Meridien Abu Dhabi and visiting yogini Amani Alak, of Gitana. Soul, have teamed up this month to offer the public free daily sunrise sessions right on the hotel’s private beach.

    Join the group on the sand (mats are provided) at 08:30 for a leisurely hour increasing flexibility, building core strength, understanding the breath, and of course bathing in the sun, during a mixed class influenced by Vinyasa, Ashtanga and Yin styles of yoga. Classes continue until January 31.

    FB: ‘Le Meridien Abu Dhabi’ or ‘Gitana.Soul’

    Marathon Yoga

    No, not like running for ages then stretching out on the floor. More like lots and lots of yoga – because we all know regular, and varied, practice is how anything sticks.

    Why not try Dubai Marina’s 136.1

    Yoga Studio’s 3-Week Yoga Bootcamp, launching on February 28.

    The early morning programme is so results-driven that you will need to apply and undergo an interview with the teacher before being accepted, then commit to at least six sessions a week.

    Nutritional support and periodic reviews are a part of it too, so expect that you’ll be in good hands
    in return.

    FB: ‘136.1 Yoga Studio Dubai’

    Prior to that, warm up with January’s Ashtanga Yoga Beginners’ Course in Abu Dhabi at Haddins Fitness. It’s a five-week foundational Mysore-style practice that launched just this week at the Zayed Sports City branch. Allinclusive, it’s Dh250.


    Failing or following that, there’s February’s new festival, XYoga Dubai. To be held in Burj Park (Feb 19-20), and organised by popular action sports and fitness group XDubai


    We’re also right now in the midst of Al Barari Wellness Week, which not only offers a variety of yoga classes and therapeutics each day, but tons of workshops on balance and better health and wellness from within.

    This weekend you can enjoy sessions and seminars on mindful living through yoga, eating and meditation; learn myofascial self-massage and other self-healing techniques; explore Theta Healing, Hypnotherapy and even Music Therapy; and take advantage of special classes devoted to kids yoga, family yoga, and even yoga for combatting stress, anxiety and depression.

    Each session costs just Dh50 per person.

    It does matter: Try yoga with Abu Dhabi Le Meridien’s free classes.

    It does matter: Try yoga with Abu Dhabi Le Meridien’s free classes.

    Yoga for the Mind

    It’s not all physical, and more and more yogis are finally emphasising and promoting the internal benefits of yoga this year via meditation.

    If you’re wanting to find focus and set intentions before tackling a new year devoted to wellness, SoulFit UAE is running a number of great workshops. They will be at The Hot House in Abu Dhabi this Saturday, January 23 for a guided 45-minute practice that will enhance self-esteem and selfacceptance, and see you on your way to your dreams and goals in 2016 and beyond. The session costs just Dh60.

    Meanwhile, this week SoulFit UAE launched a four-week meditation series for beginners, held at Slurp Lounge in Sofitel on Abu Dhabi Corniche. Each of these Dh70 sessions introduces different easy meditation and relaxation techniques.

    FB: ‘SoulFit UAE’

    “Cool” Yoga

    Sometimes yoga, like anything, gets boring and could use a change of scene or scenery to remind you why you love it. With that in mind, one pop-up event we’re excited about is Four Points by Sheraton’s ‘Vinyasa & Vinyl’ evening on Saturday, January 30.

    From 17:00 onwards, enjoy a carefully crafted exploration of yoga, music and meditation. Chill out, as well as calm down before the week ahead while soaking up breathtaking views of Dubai’s skyline from the rooftop helipad.

    A live DJ will be spinning deep and soulful house music to compliment the session, and afterward, alcohol-free drinks and gourmet vegetarian food will be served at the award-winning Level 43 Rooftop Bar & Lounge.

    FB: ‘Vinyasa & Vinyl’

    Digging that enhanced musical element? There’s also ‘Drumbeat Yoga’ taking place down in Abu Dhabi on Friday, February 12 at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel & Spa by Anantara.

    Find bliss, freedom and selfexpression during this unique event combining the therapeutic and energetic pulsations of Brazilian drummer Mestre Caxias, with the self-healing yoga dance class led by Sasha Quince.

    In fact, Eastern Mangroves is taking a serious interest in yoga this year and will also run a sevenweek ‘Chakra Challenge’ exploring the seven energy centres of the mind and body through intuitive yoga from February 21 to April 3; as well as a ‘Healing Heart and Soul through Meditation’ event from February 5-6.

    It will bring international artists and presenters Thor Barddal and Sigrun Olsen to lead a mini-retreat on creativity and cleansing. Overnight stays are also a packaged option.

    FB: ‘Eastern Mangroves Hotel and Spa by Anantara’

    Yoga, The Market

    Abu Dhabi’s faithful Bodytree Studio returns with their second annual Yoga Market tomorrow from 09:00-16:00, and it’s not to be missed if you’re “in the market” for yoga apparel, new mats and accessories, or if you just want to let loose and explore a range of styles, from Ashtanga to Acro, as well as take part in meditation and interactive talks on mindful relationships.

    Even better, if you are a complete newbie, there is going to be a talk and Q&A on just what exactly yoga is about, and why you should be doing it (09:00, spaces limited).


    Teaching Yoga

    Yoga is a lifestyle and a neverending lesson – even your teachers consider themselves students, so don’t ever feel like you’re not bendy enough, or can’t call yourself a yogi until you’ve flipped into headstand without batting an eyelid.

    If you know for sure yoga is your thing, invest in a teacher training programme – it will change your practice, and even your life.

    Some of the best teachers are brought to us by local wellness companies such as Yogalates Bliss

    In Dubai, and here’s what you can get certified in by the end of 2016:

    ► 15hr GroovyKids Yoga Teacher Training with Greville Henwood, March 25-26

    ►30hr The Middle Path: Applied Yoga Therapeutics Training with Zephyr Wildman, April 29-May 3

    ►200hr Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training with Erica Blitz, July 8-August 1

    ►100hr Advanced Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training – Skilful Teaching, A Balanced Act with Nico

    ►Luce & Clara Roberts-Oss, September 16-28

    ►85hr Pregnancy Yoga Teacher Training with Sally Parkes, November 18-24