Yoga has become a global phenomenon not such for de-stressing but in weight loss and its maintenance. There’s a growing tribe right here in the UAE, who can help you get started. Here’s our pick of some of the best in the trade.
Bharat Thakur, founder of Artistic Yoga, has adapted ancient yoga techniques and postures to create a contemporary fitness programme that works on strength, flexibility, stamina, balance and agility. His disciples have included Bollywood hotties such as Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Salman Khan. Internationally he has trained Hollywood actor Michael Douglas, tennis player Boris Becker, cricketer Shane Warne, musician Anoushka Shankar, among others. He also writes a weekly column for Gulf News tabloid!. Artistic Yoga classes for weight loss, body toning, stress relief and general lifestyle related diseases and disorders (hypertension, cholesterol, sugar) are available in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.
Price: Dh160 to Dh700, depending on the package. Private session start from Dh250.
Contact: 800-YOGA (9642) or visit artisticyoga.com
One of the oldest yoga teachers in the UAE, Sanjeev Krishnan of Rhythm Yoga is a direct disciple of Sivananda Paramhansa, a renowned yoga guru from south India. He is now trying to introduce the oldest from of defence in Indian culture — kalari — as a way to instill values and discipline into human life and to harness the excess energy in children for improving their overall mental and physical development. Kalari inculcates focus, determination and aim in the minds of people practising it. A new centre has been set up on Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, which will hold kalari classes in a traditional setting. Krishnan has also been working with KHDA and is trying to get yoga on to the school syllabus. He also specialises in curing back issues through yoga and incompatibility issues.
Price: Dh300 for 10 sessions (three months validity).
Contact: 04-3348955 or visit rhythmoflife7.org
Andrea Balazs is a fertility and pregnancy coach who conducts hatha yoga and prenatal/postnatal yoga classes in Dubai. She also teaches the Aviva Method, a structured, non-invasive and moderate exercise technique, that has a therapeutic effect on the female reproductive system. Having practised yoga since 2003, Balazs started teaching in 2010. She coaches women to reach their health goals, balancing hormones, through fertility, pregnancy and beyond with healthy nutrition and exercise.
Price: On request
Contact: Write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit andreabalazs.com
Though he may be young, Ronak Gajjar has over seven years’ experience in teaching yoga, after taking his teacher’s training course at Yoga Alliance in New Delhi. He has also completed certifications in Hypnotherapy and Level 1 of Muscle Activation. He holds classes at various locations in Dubai, including Dhyana Yoga Studio at The Oberoi Dubai.
Price: Dh80 per session
Contact: 055-5654183 or visit ronakyoga.com
Canadian Kimberley Stokes of Urban Yoga has been practising yoga since 2004 and even though her personal practice includes the ashtanga yoga, pranayama and dynamic flow, she teaches vinyasa flow. In teaching, she focuses on integrating alignment, breath and core connection using creative sequencing.
Prices: Single sessions start from Dh90.
Contact: 04-3697882 or visit urbanyoga.ae
Sasha Quince founded the Let’s Go Yoga in 2010 in Abu Dhabi. The Indian-origin Canadian specialises in core strength vinyasa yoga, which links breath to movement in an energetic and fiery practice meant to strengthen not just the body but emotions and self-confidence. She is an ERYT 200 hour Yoga Alliance Instructor from Vancouver, with various additional certifications in pregnancy yoga, yin yoga, meditation and trainings in the anatomy of yoga.
Price: Dh68 for single session; packages start from Dh300; private classes from Dh350
Contact: 050-3492336 or visit letsgoyogame.com
Cutler is a Qualified Level 1 kundalini yoga instructor at Eco Yoga Sanctuary. She completed her 10 month training with the School of Kundalini Yoga (SKY) in London 2007. She has also studied integrated hypnotherapy, Thai massage, Japanese facial massage, theta healing, reiki, subtle yoga, Arvigo Mayan Healing for women and incorporates all these techniques to assist women in healing.
Price: Dh85 per session
Contact: 04-3856633 or visit eys.ae
The fitness guru at Renshi’s Dynamic Kshatra Yoga has been practising in the Middle East since 1992. He’s an instructor accredited by Yoga Alliance UK but is also a known martial arts expert. He has trained over 250 yoga teachers who are now practising in countries including Russia, Australia, Canada, Greece, Pakistan, Malaysia, India, Italy and the US. Renjith is also a motivational speaker and the person behind Dubai’s yoga conference, Dubai Yoga Mela. As opposed to exercise in closed rooms, Renjith prefers yoga sessions on the open beach in Jumeirah
Price: Dh75 per session; price on request for packages
Contact: 055-4250077 or visit kshaatrayoga.com
UAE-born Syrian Hayat Faysal is a certified hatha yoga instructor and energy healer since 2013. Her quest for yoga learning began as part of personal healing and she uses that experience to help others. Faysal specialises in breathwork and its emotional effects on the body and does crystal healing, face osteopathy healing through different pressure points on the face.
Price: Dh85 in group class and from Dh400 for private session.
Contact: 055-7171813 or visit hayatfaysal.com
With over 16 years of practising yoga — 14 in teaching — Sumit Manav’s yoga is a mix of hatha yoga, dhyana yoga and raj yoga, which includes ashtanga yoga. Manav is an expert in treating back and body issues through yoga and meditation. His current classes focus on healing stress through yogic bends to stimulate internal organs gently, pranayama, bandhas (intermuscular locks) designed for anyone from beginner and advanced.
Price: Dh60 for group, Dh350 per session.
Contact: 055-2223542 or visit lifestyleyogadubai.com