Free community yoga at Discovery Gardens every morning. Image Credit: Discovery Garden Community

Dubai: It’s 6.15am. This Dubai neighbourhood is bustling with activity as residents and pupils begin their day. But in a small patch of greenery within the community, a group of 30 people — a few in their 60s and 70s — is in perfect equanimity.

Residents from the Discovery Gardens and The Gardens have been gathering for their free community yoga near Street 9 at Discovery Gardens every day, including weekends, for quite some time now.

Starting at 6.15am and ending at 7.30am, the participants perform their poses together, meditate and motivate each other to pursue a healthy lifestyle despite their hectic schedules.

Organised and led by Aditya Kapur, also a resident, the community yoga is open to residents of all ages and all fitness levels. He said it’s his way of giving back to the community after getting inspired by a non-government organisation in India that taught yoga to the community for nothing in return.

And because the month-long Dubai Fitness Challenge (DFC) is encouraging every Dubai resident to be active for 30 minutes daily, Kapur said the group decided to accept the challenge, which will actually push the participants a bit more.

“We accepted the challenge to motivate them and ensure that they will do yoga every day. We also would like to share our all experiences with the community. Further, the challenge adds discipline into their daily schedule” Kapur told Gulf News.

So much have changed since the community started getting fit, Kapur said.

“A lot of members could not even bend forward to touch the ground with their palms before but with everyday practice, this is now possible as their lower back is more flexible,” he said.

These benefits have been visible to Ankurkumar Dungrani, an Indian senior project engineer, whose family of six are all taking part in the community yoga.

“Yoga is better than working out in the gym because after having practised yoga for some time now, my cholesterol level and blood pressure have reduced significantly even without taking medicine,” Dungrani said.

“My wife has lost 3.5kg in the last two months, and she feels very fit. The same is true with my elder son who has lost 1.5kgs. More interestingly, they all want to perform yoga with me in the morning and evening,” he added.

Filipino couple Rachel and Art Los Banos have also shed some pounds and have seen tremendous improvement in their health.

“My husband has lost 17kg, and I have lost 8.2kgs. We sleep better at night and get fired up to wake up early. It helped strengthen our marriage in that we’re doing things together and the yoga poses help us a lot,” she said.

Community yoga adds more life to your days, said Harish Sivaraman, who does it with his elderly father and mother.

“It might be hard to see the difference in a day or two, but trust me it will help you a lot. I have my 71-year-old dad and 61-year-old mom to prove it. In our busy lives, we sometimes neglect our body which is our primary asset to lead a good life,” he said.

“You have 23 hours in a day to manage or decide how you want to spend that one hour of your time for yoga or any other exercise. Keep that for yourself. Think of doing yoga as a recurring bank deposit with a lock in period of 15 or 20 years. You might not get the benefit now by doing yoga, but you will certainly thank yourself for doing it regularly later on,” Sivaraman added.

Dubai Fitness Challenge events to try out

- 30 minute free trial session at Dubai’s first indoor maze — Jumble (10am to 10pm) in Al Barsha.

- Arms like Arnold: Turn your arms from amateur to Arnold Schwarzenegger-like at D5 Executive Gym, DIFC, Dubai.

- Try Zumba in Ajman at Ajman Fitness village, Ajman Youth Centre from 10am to 6pm.

- Reduce Every Day Yoga Session, Karama from 6am to 7am.