“Inhale the future, exhale the past.” Unknown
International Yoga Day is taking place on 21st June 2019. The significant rise in the popularity of yoga classes in Abu Dhabi has increased the opportunities for experienced yogis to practice and given newbies more available sessions to start their yoga journey.
What is yoga and why should I be doing it? Yoga (sanskrit for union) originated in India, a Hindu spiritual and physical discipline that teaches breath control, simple meditation and using specific body postures for stretching and relaxation. Regular yoga practice increases self-awareness, improves flexibility, mobility and deep yoga breathing helps the healthy function of the lungs. Yoga is good for the body and mind with regular practice bringing both physical and mental benefits including stress relief, hormone rebalancing, weight loss, increased energy and mindfulness. (Read the 10 benefits of daily yoga practice HERE).
With so many types of yoga on offer there’s something for everyone regardless of age and ability. Trying different classes is the best way to find the one you prefer, whether it’s a restorative meditation class or a physically demanding session. Here’s a very simple yoga guide* for easy reference (*basis terms but there many versions of them and also classes combining different styles)
Hatha – Combination of classic poses and breathing (Ideal for beginners)
Ashtanga – Physically demanding set of postures. Teaches sun salutations
Vinyasa – Coordinated movement from pose to pose derived from Ashtanga
Bikram – Hot yoga. 26 postures repeated in a sauna like environment
Yin – Slow paced with long poses (Ideal for beginners)
Restorative – Body relaxation and cleansing using a series of poses and props
Anusara – Modern hatha yoga focusing on alignment
Jivamukti – Vinyasa flow mixed with spiritual chanting
Kundalini – Works the core and breathing with fast moving postures
Aerial – Also know as swing or anti-gravity yoga. Poses in low-hanging soft fabric hammocks for alignment and tension release
Prenatal – Specially adapted poses that help in pregnancy and prepare the body for labour
The Hot House – Located in Block B at Al Zeina, The Hot House is a well run, popular venue with two studios offering a schedule with a good variety of classes and teachers. They offer Hatha, Ashtanga, Gentle Warrior, Hot Warrior, Power Warrior, Therapeutic yoga for back pain, Anti-Gravity, Restorative, Kundalini and my personal favourite Yin & Mindfulness. There are also sound meditation sessions, barre, pilates, zumba classes and yoga & gymnastic classes for children – check their latest schedule HERE. The Hot House holds regular workshops
Prices start from AED 80 for a single class but packages can be purchased – click HERE for more details.
The Studio – The Studio in Khalidiya was opened by Mariam in April 2017 as an inclusive, safe space to support women of all levels, ages and body type. It’s a place for ladies to ‘practice yoga to optimise physical health and nourish the soul’. Classes include Hatha flow, Power yoga, Yin & Yang yoga, Therapeutic yoga, Yin yoga, Restorative yoga, Swing yoga, Himalayan Kriya yoga, Ashtanga yoga and specialist themed kids yoga classes for children aged 3 to 12 years. There also offer pilates and reformer pilates.
Prices start from AED 75 for a classic yoga class but that are also multi class packages available – click HERE for the full pricing schedule.
Bodytree Studio – Nadia Sehweil started Bodytree Studio with her mother Sharifa back in 2007 (formerly known as Soma Pilates and Yoga Tree Studios) combining her passion for pilates, yoga, dance, holistic healing and well being. The studio expanded back in 2012 into new premises in a spacious converted villa which also saw the opening of Nectar Juice bar on the ground floor. The schedule is jammed packed with different yoga classes such as yoga for wellbeing, pre and post natal, mummy and baby classes, Hatha, Hatha flow, power vinyasa and so much more – click HERE for the full schedule.
Prices start from AED 80 for a regular class and packages are available – click HERE for pricing for all classes.
Sasha Quince (Let’s Go Yoga) – Abu Dhabi based yoga teacher Sasha Quince teaches a variety of classes at three different venues in the capital. For those who prefer exercising in the comfort of their own home she also has a series of online tutorials on her YouTube channel. Her weekly classes include Core Strength Vinyasa Yoga and prenatal yoga sessions but she also offers day and weekend retreats at local hotels such as Zaya Nurai Island. Visit sashaquinceyoga.com for more information, schedules and pricing.
**Quince will be running two yoga sessions in celebration of International Yoga Day as follows: Friday 21st June – A FREE Empowerment Yoga Flow & Rad Roll Release class instore at the new Lululemon store in MyCityCenter Masdar from 8:30am – 9:30am. No registration required but spaces limited to 30. Mats will be provided. Sunday 23rd June – A 90-minute mindful yoga class at the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Abu Dhabi Hotel followed by some healthy smoothies from 6.30pm – 8.30 pm. AED 150 per person (telephone 02 656 1146 or email easternmangroves_spa@anantara.
ClassPass – Want to try different classes at a variety of studios? ClassPass, the one-stop fitness membership app gives members the opportunity to do just that with a daily schedule of a variety of yoga classes at studios across Abu Dhabi. Popular studios such as The Hot House and Bodytree among others are all available on the easy to use app. It’s never been easier to schedule your workout sessions and have the flexibility to try new classes and venues.
Monthly membership starts from AED 159 (this will buy you 25 credits and most classes are 6 credits each) – click HERE for the membership options.
Other Abu Dhabi studios offering yoga classes include Yoga One, Fit & Flex, The Yoga Studio (located at The Royal Stables), Inspire Sports (ladies only), Flo Fitness Studio (ladies only) and The Room. Also lookout for classes by local yogi Tina Block who teaches at various studios.
Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced yogi who wants to try a new space to practice there’s a good variety of classes suitable for all levels across the capital. Embrace your downward facing dog and chaturanga dandasana, re-centre your wellbeing and improve your flexibility with a yoga class.
All views are my own. Unless otherwise stated all photos © Jo Brett 2019. All rights reserved. Additional photos used with courtesy of the respective studios and the WordPress Library.