It is not surprising that the popularity of yoga in Dubai has sky-rocketed recent years. Yoga has been proven to be an effective stress buster; not only does it tone the body, but regular practice, over time can yield immense overall health benefits. Practicing yoga regularly helps to calm the mind, improve focus and improve flexibility, thereby improving performance at work, in sports and enabling individuals to remain calm in tense situations. Furthermore, yoga classes are available for all levels of ability and poses (asanas) can be adapted to suit individual abilities. While hatha yoga is the practice of correct breathing and stretching, power yoga is more physically challenging and some practitioners use heat for the exercises that are designed to work every joint, muscle, tendon and ligament to enhance weight loss and minimize the chance of muscle injury.
Luckily, Dubai has a plethora of yoga classes spread all across the city with private instructors, gyms and yoga studios all competing for a share of the city’s yoga market. With the ever-growing options, how does a hardcore devotee or a beginner find the appropriate class around town? Below, we list the six most popular of Dubai’s best yoga classes; the classes have been chosen for best value, best workout and the most relaxing experience including other benefits such as venue and qualified instructors.
Friends of Yoga
Started in 1990 by founder Madhavan, Friends of Yoga (FOY) is a non-profit, voluntary organization that provides FREE open-air classes at various locations around the city including Deira, Zabeel, International City, The Gardens, Bur Dubai and Rashidiya. With more than 250 trained yoga teachers who work on a voluntary basis, classes are more focused on breathing, stretching and meditative poses and are generally more relaxing than some of the other classes around the city. Great for those with health problems, the elderly or beginners looking for some gentle instruction. In addition to providing free yoga classes, FOY also undertakes social work including financial assistance, clothing and supplies, medical aid and aid for health expenses as well as job opportunities.
Those looking for a serious workout, scientifically designed to exercise every muscle in order to promote weight loss, flexibility, core strength and counter the effects of ageing, there is Bikram Yoga, a series of 26 beginner postures practiced in a heated room for 90 minutes. The heat encourages the body to flush out toxins, warms muscles to reduce the chances of injury and keeps the body hydrated by enhancing the functions of the circulatory system. Even the simplest pose can seem difficult in a heated setting and the first few sessions are usually hard but the results, with continued practice, are proven and worth the effort and sweat!
Combining the best of yoga and Pilates, Yogalates Bliss is a core-fusion class run by certified yoga and pilates teacher Noura El-Imam. Classes are small and focused, and each pose can be adapted to be as challenging or as relaxed as intended. Classes are held at the Fraser Suites Dubai in Sufouh in an outdoor space that is both charming and relaxing, overlooking the Arabian Sea. In addition to regular classes, Yogalates Bliss also conduct a series of dynamic Yoga and Pilates Training workshops led by a series of renowned international teachers. These are ideal for practitioners looking to take their practice to another level or teachers looking to train under some of the most experienced teachers from across the globe.
Performed with partners, this unique blend of yoga and acrobatics with a touch of Thai massage is designed to build trust, develop understanding and enhance balance. Sessions can be held in the privacy of your home or office (yes – this is a great team-building activity) or in one of Acroyoga’s private studios. Special classes are also provided for children if you are looking to get your child healthy, both physically as well as mentally, from an early age.
Started by Himalayan yoga guru, Bharat Thakur, Artistic Yoga aims to revitalize the traditional and dynamic practice of yoga that Bharat believes has lost its freshness and spontaneity. Artistic yoga aims to work on the major aspects of physical fitness including strength, flexibility, agility, cardiovascular endurance, coordination and balance to bring practitioners up to a certain level of fitness before aiming for more advanced practices such as meditation. This form of yoga combines the ancient practice of yoga with more modern practices of cardiovascular training and partner-stretches aimed at providing a fun but challenging workout that yields quick results. Classes are held all over Dubai including Karama, Bur Dubai, Satwa, Al Qusais, Dubai Marina, Emirates Golf Club and Motorcity at various times during the day.
One of Dubai’s most popular studios, Zen Yoga offers a wide range of classes at various studio locations in Dubai. Classes cater to a variety of levels where beginners are gently challenged while devotees are pushed to their limits. Practitioners are taken through the poses at a relaxed pace and poses can be adapted to suit individual abilities.