By Krita Coelho
With over 10,000 yoga enthusiasts expected, more than 25 yoga styles and over 60 complimentary classes and workshops, XYoga Dubai presented by Dubai Holding brings you the region’s most holistic weekend of yoga. Presented by Dubai Holding and XDubai, with global fitness brand Reebok as an exclusive partner, the event aims to inspire yogis of all ages and abilities to start or grow their yoga practice, defying their physical and mental boundaries.
Globally-recognised yogis will join over 30 talented local practitioners to offer a variety of yoga styles, from Vinyasa to Chocolate Yoga, with sessions moulded to the needs of both yogis as well as beginners from age 1 to 100. The programme will be held in five distinct zones: the main Lotus Stage will the main session of up to 1,000 people as well as other sessions and workshops, while two smaller stages or pods, the Mandala Stage and the Shanti Stage will anchor smaller batches. There is also a natural-oasis-themed Reebok studio as well as a dedicated Kids’ Area.
“Since the very first XYoga Dubai festival we have seen an overwhelming growth of yoga within Dubai and the UAE as more and more people see the benefits of practising yoga,” says Mohammed Javad, General Manager of XDubai. “For our second edition of XYoga Dubai, we wanted to channel the spirit of the local community to design an event that appeals to everyone, whether you’re 1 or 100 years old.
“The result will be two full days of holistic and inclusive yoga, workshops and activities led by some of the most engaging yogis in the world including home-grown, UAE-based teachers,” he adds.
Candace Cabrera Moore will lead a Deep Core Strength class as well as a Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation session
International yogis confirmed for the two-day festival include runway model-turned-yogi, Yogi Cameron who co-leads the festival’s opening session with Bollywood sensation, Reebok brand ambassador and yoga enthusiast, Malaika Arora. Harvard Business School-trained strategist, award-winning author and executive trainer, Teresa Kay Aba-Kennedy will lead sessions that include Breathe and Burn as well as Blissful Vibration, while healthy living blogger and author of Namaslay, Candace Cabrera Moore is confirmed to lead a Deep Core Strength class as well as a Yoga Nidra Guided Meditation session. Indonesian TV-star turned yogi, Anjasmara is confirmed to lead both the Vinyasa of a Grateful Heart and Candi Dasa Nectar Flow sessions, while strength and mobility yogi, Daniel Morgan will impart his knowledge through a Hands As Feet session, as well as a Twist out the Tension class. Chocolate Yoga instructor, Sjha’ra Taylor is also confirmed to deliver her signature Chocolate Yoga class.
How: All sessions and classes are complimentary and need to be booked in advanced through registering online at xyogadubai.com/register. Stay tuned to @XYogaDubai on Instagram and Facebook for the latest updates.
Opening session: Be sure to arrive at 7am on 16 March to guarantee your place in the opening session. Participants arriving after 8am will not be accommodated. Once there, make sure you pick up your complimentary yoga mat (yes, you get to take the mat home). Session spots will be allocated on a first come first serve basis.
All other sessions The festival village is open from 8am until 9pm on 16 March, and between 7am and 7pm on 17 March. All classes are subject to pre-registration online at xyogadubai.com and those registered must arrive at least 20 minutes in advance of their scheduled session. Walk-ins will be allowed on a first come first serve basis if a registered participant fails to show up. You need to be there at least 30 minutes ahead of any session to avail of a walk-in slot. Free yoga mats will only be offered at the opening session so don’t forget to bring your yoga mat!
Where: Kite Beach, Dubai, in front of Al Manara Mosque. There are limited parking spaces at the beach, and as the event is expecting to draw a large number of visitors, it’s ideal to take a taxi or car pool, walk or cycle your way to the event.
What to wear Come in comfortable, but modest active wear and don’t forget your sunscreen. Although the event is at the beach, beachwear is not allowed. It’s best to come wearing slippers or sandals. There are no changing rooms, so come dressed appropriately. There are no locker facilities, so pack light and bring only what you will need for the sessions.
There is a dedicated area for the younger ones as outside of the opening yoga session on March 16, at 8am, kids under the age of 16 will not be able to join the adult classes. The Kids’ Area offers yoga classes, arts and crafts, painting and other activities including kite flying. It offers complimentary care plus activities for two children per family for up to 1.5 hours with each XYoga class registration. Additional children, or additional time beyond the 1.5 hours allocated will incur a Dh35 per hour fee for each registered class while there will be Dh50 fee per hour for children whose parents do not have a registered class. Children four years and under will require adult supervision at all times in the Kids’ Area.
Be safe: Consult your doctor if you are suffering from medical conditions that would make it unsafe to exercise.
Sun protection: Practicing without sunscreen could damage your skin, be sure to use a good brand.
Go au natural: Avoid lotions or oils that make your skin slippery when you sweat. Also, skip the strong scents, please.
Take a towel: All that sweat turns your usually sticky yoga mat into a slip-and-slide. Carry a hand towel, a quick wipe down can make many poses more manageable.
Respect your limits: Don't push too hard. Move slowly and thoughtfully to a point where your muscles feel challenged, breathing all the while.
Take rest: If you feel lightheaded, dizzy or ill at any point during the practice, take a break. Sit down on your mat, go into a child’s pose.
Bring water: In yoga, you traditionally drink water before and especially after a class. Drink one to two cups of water 30 to 60 minutes before practice, then keep drinking throughout your practice. MonViso water will be supplying water free of charge throughout the two days of the event. For every bottle recycled at the event, MonViso will also be donating a dirham to the Al Jalila Foundation.
Eat right: While a snack or light meal an hour or so before working out is ideal, allow two hours between any snacks and four hours between any heavy meals and your yoga practice. Eat a snack or meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within an hour of finishing your practice. A selection of healthy food and beverage options will be available at the festival village.
Unusual forms of yoga you don’t want to miss
While traditional forms of yoga are now mainstream, here are some unconventional classes you may not have tried.
Laugh your way to wellness - led by Prem Amit
Can we think and laugh at the same time? Try it. We cannot. We become present in the moment when we laugh, and Prem Amit's laughter yoga class is just the ticket to meditate, dance and laugh your way through. Helping you look younger, feel lighter and breathe easier, Laughter yoga is a series of breathing and relaxation exercises invented in 1995 by Madan Kataria, a doctor in India that stimulate merriment for better health. Experimenting with the therapeutic benefits of humour, Kataria discovered that even false laughs eventually became genuine, producing an infectious good feeling that he knew to be positive for physical and psychological health. Clinical findings support his claims that mirth, genuine or otherwise, has positive physical, physiological, and psychological effects.
When: March 16, 9.30am to 10.30am and March 17, 4.30pm to 5.30pm
Where: Kids Area – Open to Children at XYoga Dubai
Chocolate Yoga – led by Sjha’ra Taylor
The words 'healthy' and 'chocolate' don't go hand in hand. Or so you thought. Welcome to Chocolate Yoga.
Be warned though, those who crave a taste of the finest Swiss at the session will be disappointed, as all the refined/processed sugars and dairy that get added to your supermarket choco bar eliminate chocolate’s medicinal properties. What we are talking here is pure cacao, chocolate in its purest form, ground from the beans, with the cacao butter intact.
Cacao was known to the Ancient Mayans as a powerful heart opener and potent healer, for deepening your yoga and meditation practice. With yoga and meditation activating the parasympathetic nervous system to help you cope with the stress and strain of daily life, combining the two and you have the perfect escape route to bliss out. Makes sense, right?
Founder of Chocolate Yoga, Sjha’ra Taylor guides you on a delicious fusion of the Cacao Ceremony and Kundalini Yoga to take your yoga session to a whole new dimension.
When March 17, 5pm to 7pm
Where Mandala Stage at XYoga Dubai
Dancing Yoga – led by Stephanie Mullet
Do you like yoga? Do you like dance? Have you tried the two together?
Dancing yoga is a fun approach to a fitness practice that can be life-changing for most people. Stephanie Mullet takes you through this rhythmically focused session to make the connection between contemporary dance and yoga stronger.
We are sure you've got a taste of music-centric fitness when you spin to the beat on a stationary bike, run to some heart thumping music, or do group classes to blaring tunes. Similarly, yoga gurus across the world are fusing music, rhythm, and movements into their sessions to offer more variety.
The asanas (yoga positions) gently stretch and deeply relax the body before leading into rhythmic, breath-coordinated standing movements that flow rhythmically.
There's a lot of coordination involved - different steps, arm movements, postures, breath and timing, and learning the different movements and steps is a great way to extend your limits of movement while keeping the mind fresh and alert.
When March 16, 9am to 10am
Where Reebok Studio at XYoga Dubai
Art Therapy and Yoga – led by Natalia Gomez
While yoga and breath work help to relax and open the physical body and allows the thinking mind to slow down, art making in this state enables access to a less guarded, less self-conscious part of yourself. An art therapy and yoga session creates an experience that has the ability to open your body, mind, and soul for deep relaxation, self-reflection, and self-expression.
Using the power of intention, Natalia Gomez combines yoga and art therapy to invite participants to express emotions and find an inner sense of balance. The session will use meditation, asana, and an art directive. To finalise participants will meet to share and process what has come up from both the yoga experience and creating art. The aim is to strengthen the mind-body connection to find inner healing.
Yoga and art therapy can help you overcome obstacles and meet life’s challenges with clarity and confidence.
When March 17, 3pm to 4.30pm
Where Mandala Stage, XYoga Dubai
Heartfulness Meditation & Music by Pierre Raven
Heartfulness is all about living by the heart. Heartfulness Meditation is a simple technique where you tune into the heart and learn to be focused with your highest self. In turn, as the heart and mind get in sync, you discover deep joy and understanding which wisely guides and directs your life.
One of the world’s first Spiritual House DJs, DJ Pierre Ravan will bring the science of Heartfulness Meditation into his musical journey and conduct a meditation session before starting his DJ set to unite all the hearts together and bring unity among the audience who come to experience his music. Live musicians will accompany Ravan’s set.
Heartfulness Meditation will help you find inner calm and stillness in this extremely fast-paced world.
When March 16, 6.30pm to 9pm
Where Lotus Stage, XYoga Dubai
MEET THESE 4 INSPIRING YOGIS AND YOGINIS AT XYOGA DUBAI
Since swapping the fashion runways of Paris, Yogi Cameron has established himself as one of the most celebrated Ayurvedic and Yogic practitioners in the world. The author of three books, Cameron has featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show among many other shows. At XYoga Dubai, Cameron will co-host the opening session on March 16 at 8am and lead a Ayurvedic Yoga session on March 17, 1.30-2.30pm. To register, visit xyogadubai.com
Bollywood actress Malaika Arora follows a strict fitness regime ensuring a balance between her body and mind. She joined the Reebok Fashionably Fit Family in 2017 and has become the face of Reebok India’s International Yoga Day celebrations. At XYoga Dubai, Malaika Arora will co-host the opening session on March 16 at 8am. To register, visit xyogadubai.com
Founded with a belief that the yoga practice doesn’t start and stop on the mat, Daniel Morgan leads classes that encourage a deeper individual exploration. Morgan’s classes provide a balance of strength and mobility, exploring the anatomical breakdown of postures to help practitioners achieve breakthroughs in their own personal practice. At XYoga Dubai, Morgan will be leading a Hands as Feet session on March 16 at 2-3.30pm and XX Happy Hips & Hammys on March 17 at 8.30-10am. To register, visit xyogadubai.com
Elaine Kelly has been practicing yoga for 25 years. Her life mission is to help people live healthier, happier lives. A long-time resident of Dubai, Kelly worked in corporate real estate for 15 years before becoming a yoga instructor and at the same time founding Yogafest. At XYoga Dubai, Kelly will be leading a Yoga Fundamentals Class on March 17 at 12-1pm. To register, visit xyogadubai.com