For the first time in my adult life, I do not have gym membership. There's a gym in my apartment building which I scrabble out of bed at 6am to use (due to putting my phone to charge out of reach of my bed) and I do some Yoga With Adriene almost daily but I was always a classes person and my routine used to be shaped around Tuesday morning yoga and Wednesday morning spinning and my beloved Fierce Grace hot yoga.
Dubai is not a cheap city to live in and the inflated prices hit hard when it comes to pursuits aimed at ex-pats. A yoga class is typically around £20 so I mostly stick to doing Yoga With Adriene, my own home practice (I did train as a yoga teacher after all) and "treating myself" to a studio class once a fortnight or so. These are the classes and studios I've tried so far:
1. Urban Yoga
Located in Business Bay, Urban Yoga's studio is on the 37th floor of an office tower. Once I'd found my way in it had definite ~New York loft~ vibes and the studio is spacious and high-ceilinged with great views over the bay. I did a 90 minute Ashtanga class which was quite fast paced and definitely required some previous yoga experience as the instructor didn't demonstrate all of the poses and the transitions were fast and flowing. I don't usually do Ashtanga and a new class at a new studio can be daunting as its easy to get used to your favourite teacher's style but once I'd silenced the negative voices I loved this class, it definitely highlighted which poses I omit from my own practice *cough cough all arm balances* and the next day I could feel that my muscles had been pushed out of their comfort zone. The studio has showers, towels are provided, there are hairbands and toiletries for post-class and a chill out area with snacks which can be purchased - I really love little touches like this at a studio.
2. Zoga Yoga Cafe
Also in Business Bay, Zoga Yoga Cafe is literally a cafe offering coffees, juices and healthy food and two yoga studios. Located at street level the studio is very easy to find and feels really inviting with a delicious looking spread of healthy treats and yoga wear to purchase. There's a full range of yoga classes and also hot yoga (although I'm earmarking this for the return of the cooler months). I did a workshop session at Zoga - a two-hour session which focused on explorations of the heart through yin and yoga nidra. Yin yoga is a very slow, controlled form of yoga which is restorative (this does not necessarily mean "easy") making use of props like bolsters, blocks and blankets and yoga nidra is a form of guided meditation.
This wasn't a "typical" yoga class that you'd find at a gym but its sometimes nice to take a step back from forcing our heels do the ground in a downward dog and view yoga as a form of self care and a way to bring ourselves back to our true selves. I absolutely loved this session, it was so relaxing and while I tried to remember snippets of teacher Jess's wisdom I left feeling like it had all been a dream but also that the heart opening focus had helped me to work through some things and that my head felt calmer and clearer than it had for a while. I'm still very much a beginner in all things meditation but I feel like its one of those things that if you can open your heat and mind to it it will work wonders whereas if you dismiss it as hippie twaddle then yeah, it probably won't work for you.
3. Talise Spa Sunset Yoga
I love "experiential" yoga classes as it's great to get out of the yoga studio but they can be variable when it comes to the actual yoga. At AED90, the sunset yoga at Talise Spa at the beautiful Al Qasr hotel is at the lower end of the price spectrum here, mats and water are provided and it includes use of the spa changing rooms. Doing yoga on the beach was amazing, the sounds of the waves and the views out to sea made it feel like a really special experience even if you do have to block out the noise from the hotel beach and the occasional tourist who thinks its cool to walk right through a yoga class talking loudly...annnnnd breathe! Most participants at the class are hotel guests, some of whom may never have done yoga before so the teaching has to accommodate this and holiday-makers looking for something to fill the pre-dinner time slot probably don't want a crazily challenging class but on the day I took part everyone clearly had some yoga experience and the instructor was able to make it a little more challenging. Having been out and about in the heat all day my muscles felt so flexible and poses which feel cranky in the morning feel so easy with already warm muscles. I'd definitely do this class again as the setting was so lovely - a taste of the luxury Dubai life after getting to grips with bills and flatpack furniture. If I have a yoga loving visiter then I'm taking you here.
How often do you do classes? Are there any Dubai studios I need to visit?