The great thing about practising yoga is that you can pretty much do it anywhere – just roll up your mat and go. And if you have as bad a case of wanderlust as Yogi Lina Zoghaib does, then your yoga mat has probably already racked up some serious miles.
After discovering yoga eight years ago, the Yogi Truck founder has taken her practice on the road to share the beauty of meditation and travel with the Dubai masses.
“I discovered yoga in 2009 through a friend of mine. I was going through a very rough time back then and she asked me to join her for a class. I loved it, so I started travelling to learn from different yoga schools – Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bali, India – and in 2014 I quit my job altogether and got certified as a yoga teacher,” says Zoghaib.
“Through lots of meditation and practice, I really developed such a clear mind, ideas were flowing, and that’s how Yogi Truck came to me,” she says. “I love travelling and I love yoga so I wanted to combine both.
“It started with a simple page on Facebook where I’d post wherever it was I was going to be that day offering community classes. Very often this was on the beach (Jumeirah Public Beach) and my little community has been slowly growing ever since.”
Yogi Truck has come a long way from the beach and today combines asana with an array of exciting outdoor activities to be found across the UAE and beyond as well. All her meetups are geared towards introducing the average Joe and Jane to yoga culture and so all ages and levels are welcome.
“I love showing people another side of life, and my weekend retreats have included things like hiking and camping, cycling, we might have a bit of a barbecue, maybe do some canyoning…,” shares Zoghaib, who also teaches in traditional studio settings, such as Dubai’s 136.1 centre (in case you were looking for something a little more low-key).
“I love taking people out to other emirates like Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, as well as to Oman; they’re so full of nature. And I definitely plan to explore Abu Dhabi and Al Ain more this year, too.”
Occasionally, Yogi Truck does spread its wings to take people on retreats further afield too, and she recently led a spiritual staycation in Dharamsala, India, home to the Dalai Lama.
“There we did daily hikes, explored local food, yoga and sunset meditation. It was really fascinating. I can’t wait to do more of these.
“I find that in the UAE, people tend to stick to the malls, clubs and restaurants. The aim of Yogi Truck is just to get more people off of their couches and out of their comfort zone.”
If you’re sticking around for the summer and looking for ways to keep fit while keeping extra cool, don’t rule out the pool.
Aside from the fact that all the best hotels currently have some bargain health club access passes for the next few months, we’re not just suggesting swimming lap after tedious lap. In fact, tons of your favourite classes have been clever enough to resort to the pool, from spin classes to circuit training as well. And if you’re feeling stressed, aqua therapy is always an option.
If you’re ready to test-drive your new swimwear, these activities guarantee to help you beat the heat as well as the boredom.
Take your love for Latin dancercise to the pool thanks to select Fitness First gyms. A low-impact option for the joints (due to water resistance), you’ll groove to classic Zumba moves without realising that you’re working out harder than on land.
Stretch, twist, strengthen core muscles, and increase your muscle tone and endurance levels all while having fun. They don’t call Zumba a fitness party for nothing.
Just in time to combat the heat, this is Fairmont’s new fun and interactive underwater biking class. Held at the North Residence Pool of the resort, it uses stationary bicycles specially made to be submerged in water.
Participants, partially submerged, can pedal using the water’s resistance in order to exercise.
These guys kicked off the in-water training trend in 2013 and their entire facility is based around various fun and challenging forms of pool-based fitness.
You can hop on a submerged bike during one of their aquabiking classes, or really rev up your cardio and endurance levels in a circuit training-style session in the water that incorporates the bike, an aqua-trampoline and light weights for boxing drills.
There’s even a highly choreographed class called Aquaswing that mixes resistance-heavy dance moves and biking. All sessions are ladies only for no more than 10 people so you really have space to roam in the pool.
A post-fitness watsu session is also offered at L’Atelier Aquafitness. Also called aquatic shiatsu, this alternative massage technique involves manual pressure applied to specific points on the body in an attempt to relieve tension and pain.
While you’re floating and being cradled in the water, a therapist is working with you one on one to improve joint mobilisation and muscle stretching. You’ll decrease stress and heart rate levels, and even improve flexibility, digestion and sleep.
Aquatic or floatation therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, and even physical and mental rehabilitation.
Don’t have a pool and looking for some medical-grade downtime in the water? Then we highly recommend booking a cabin or pod at Zero Points’ centres in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Filled with a super-saturated salt solution that allows you to lie back and bob up and down on the water’s surface, these vessels lock out external stimuli and feature light therapy and peaceful music to help you quiet the mind and calm the nervous system. Some people even fall asleep.
It is an intense experience, being locked in like that, but a highly soothing one in the long run.
Cobra’s range of fitness classes has really blown up in the past year and now incorporates use of a cosy outdoor pool on site in Al Bandar, Abu Dhabi.
Don’t be fooled though – much like the rest of their classes, this 45-minute session is a tough full body toning knockout. After a heavy boxing, Spin or HIIT session, this is a great way to cool down and stretch while easing off on joints and tired muscles, too.
Dubai Sports City’s epic, sprawling, multi-purpose sport and fitness centre is more than well equipped for adults and young ones serious about aquatics and swim fitness.
Eight 50-metre lanes cater for various pool programmes geared towards professionals, amateurs and newcomers who want to learn how to swim or even take part in triathlons and other swim sports.
The swim fitness classes are pretty tough though, seeing swimmers cover around a total of 2 to 2.5km during various drills and sprints. Classes often include aids like fins to better your technique, strength, endurance and lung capacity, as well as generally tighten everything up. You will be buff and bikini ready in no time.
The beginning of Ramadan is no reason to park your fitness regime.
Experts are of the opinion that exercise and fasting can go hand in hand, meaning you can still hit the gym in the coming weeks.
Here, senior fitness manager Trevor Flowers of Fitness First Motor City offers his guidance.
Train to maintain
During Ramadan, it is advised to plan your training with the goal of maintaining your fitness level.
When putting your body into a fasted state you will most certainly deplete your energy stores, which means you will be running on
empty. With that in mind, keep your sets and reps consistent, without pushing yourself to your limit.
In this period, try to keep your fitness ticking over, rather than attempting to break new personal bests or records.
Train when it’s right for you
Going hours without food and drink will put you into a fatigued state, effecting your energy levels, mood and focus.
Make sure to adjust your training schedule to whatever suits you. We are all different, and have different times of the day where we feel low in energy.
Training with low energy and a lack of focus means you are more likely to skip your session, or only put in half the effort. If this is the case, train after you have broken your fast, so that you have 100 per cent focus on your sessions.
If you plan to train in a fasted state, be sure to adjust your workout intensity to suit your energy levels.
Consider reducing your training volume and working sets. Avoid high intensity training, or max
effort lifts. Instead of going for heavy strength based training,
reduce your loads and use time under tension to stimulate your muscle in a safer way.