I have been practicing yoga on and off since I was a teenager living here in Dubai. I was fortunate to learn from an established Indian Yogi (actually a husband and wife team) and from that very first class, I absolutely fell in love with it. I walked out feeling so alive and elated while strangely enough even though I was very much a young girl, it didn’t feel that new to me. I believe that I must have practiced this ancient technique in another time and place…possibly another lifetime? After all, it did originate over 15,000 years ago. Anything is possible.
Although yoga has been misinterpreted by many parts of the world as a way to sell a different kind of fitness experience, in its truest and purest form yoga can be considered a lifestyle. In conjunction with the physical aspect of the practice, it has a deep-rooted wisdom and philosophy that can help you to answer the most mind-boggling of life’s questions that can visit your thoughts in your more challenging moments. Now a mature women, I can wholeheartedly state that yoga is really the only technique that I have encountered (and I have experienced many fitness techniques out there) that connects the mind and body for a completely holistic experience unmatched by anything else. It helped me through all my back-t0-back pregnancies and even to recover faster after I delivered.
Amazingly accurate and precise, each position in Yoga has a specific purpose for healing and bringing back into balance both the body and the mind. Science agrees now that yoga works on many levels to achieve health and wellbeing (well, we knew that for thousands of years now…)
It may seem as basic as a nice stretching session, but even athletes who have been professionally competing and train religiously at the gym cannot even begin get themselves into some of the simplest positions! It can be funny to watch their smug faces quickly turn into a state of panic as the class unfolds. Much like asian martial arts, discipline is required. As you commit yourself to this practice an inner strength ignites which then becomes the fuel to your physical movement and holding of the postures. After a few sessions you’ll find your own posture changing, a clearer mind for longer periods of time and feeling energized beyond belief.
And of course the breathing is equally important. In the mad rush of our frantic lives, we’ve forgotten how to breathe.
I believe that the yogic philosophy has survived for eons because it is in essence a holy practice of creating a virtuous existence of love, honor and gratitude. You are reconnecting your inner self to your outer self so that your body truly become the temple for your soul. It is the spiritual element that appeals to many people. In a world that is in its “most developed” time than ever before, human beings are desperately seeking to physically connect with the divine and rightly so.
Ready to start? We are blessed to have so many yoga centers now available here in Dubai, here are few to get you on your way. Find a great teacher and stick with them, this is the best and fastest way to learn the actual essence of what yoga is all about.
Gems of Yoga is one of the original yoga studios in Dubai with established Yoga teachers from India.
Urban Yoga is an up and coming studio based in Business Bay.
Zen Yoga has plenty of locations and offers prenatal and postnatal yoga classes as well.
Friends of Yoga offers free yoga classes to anyone and everyone.
Club Stretch is one of the original Bikram Yoga (hot yoga) studios in Dubai.
Eco Yoga Sanctuary is the first sustainable studio in the Middle East and offers classes to women only.
Yoga Fest is annual yoga festival that takes place in Dubai with other smaller events throughout the year.
And there are plenty more! Find the right place for and keep at it, you’ll be doing head stands in no time… Namaste!