Yoga in Dubai
Yoga in Dubai is now well established and there are classes, workshops and even yoga fests in Dubai now. We know yoga is good for us but finding the right teacher and environment is critical if you want to experience a good class and reap the benefits of yoga.
Your reporter is an intermediate yogi and has practiced yoga at health clubs, done private classes at home and even participated in group classes in a park.
Recently on a quest to explore more yoga in Dubai I tried a variety of classes at 2 very different but popular studios in 2 areas. Here’s what you should know…
Yoga in Dubai at Inspire Yoga
This studio is located along side Sheikh Zayed road near Crumbs restaurant and the Canon building, close to Al Manara road.
Location map of Inspire Yoga studio
Your mats are all laid out, there are large and small towels for you to use. You’ll need them! There are lockers and a shoe rack outside the studio rooms.
Classes are for both men and women (mixed) There is also a large range of sports wear and yoga clothing on sale. There is large, long wooden table you can wait at before class. Water is freely available from a dispenser.
If you want a snack or drink after class there is a cool café called Bystro right downstairs, but this doesn’t have alcohol so no large glass of well deserved wine after a hard class! Jones the Grocer is just a bit further up the road.
Cost of Class
Your first class is FREE then you can buy a month long package of unlimited classes for AED 420. This makes it great value for money, especially if you can do at least 2 classes per week for your first month. Then the package is more expensive.
Most classes are an hour’s duration; some are an hour and 15 minutes.
Type of Class attended and Instructor
Arm Balance by Sarah White (Sarah also teaches at Urban Yoga in Business Bay)
This was a class that incorporated a hatha flow sequence that gradually built up step by step. It flowed well and Sarah struck a good balance between mental and physical work.
The hardest postures were the full arm balances but there was a lot that you could do leading up to those poses. This was a fairly full class, I think some of the people attending may have been teachers themselves!
Warm Stretch and Flow by Nitai Krishna
I had no idea what to expect of this class, I just tried it as I liked the name Nitai Krishna. I imagined a petite South Indian yoga teacher. Nitai Krishna is actually from Cameroon, West Africa and no one was more surprised than I was to hear him speak fluent Sanskrit!
The class starts with some Sanskrit, Hindu prayers, some of which I recognized and also ends with prayers. The music throughout the class focuses on the Maha Mantra or the Hare Krishna mantra, but it’s done in a very western way so it’s very accessible and calming.
The room temperature is warm, warmer than usual and that’s intentional to relax the muscles. But this is not a Vikram yoga or hot yoga class. There is a flow that again builds up, but the focus of this class is on holding postures in quite deep stretches. It’s a challenging class but was packed, I think with regulars, both men and women.
How did classes at Inspire Yoga make me feel
Sarah is from England and has a great voice and good all round technique for a yoga teacher. I found her Arm Balance class hard but well worth doing. I got a lot out of the class, but this class isn’t for complete beginners. It was held at 5pm on a Tuesday evening and I would like to go again for sure. I liked the mental elements of this class.
There is an amazing energy that emanates from Nitai Krishna and while I found his Warm Stretch and Flow class quite hard, I really enjoyed it and felt I got a lot of it. I would definitely go again but only if I was feeling strong. This is not a beginner’s class. It was held at 5pm on a Wednesday evening. I particularly liked hearing all the prayers at the beginning of this class and the Maha Mantra chanting done in a very western way. It was a very popular class.
Yoga in Dubai at The Yoga Ashram
The Yoga Ashram is located in JLT Cluster X in the X3 building on the 15th floor. There is parking but you have to pay.
Location map of The Yoga Ashram studio
I have attended classes here both at the week end and during the week. There are 2 studios at the Yoga Ashram, one quite small studio, the other one quite large. I did some classes in both studios here. You do have to bring your own mats though and a small towel. There are lockers, a shoe rack and free water from a dispenser. This studio also hosts a variety of talks and workshops relating to yoga.
Cost of Class
Each class is AED 90 but you can buy a package for AED 199 for 4 classes but you must do at least one class a week. That makes each class AED 50 which is great value for money for yoga in Dubai.
Type of Class attended and Instructor
Sivananda Yoga by Vibin
Vibin is an Indian yoga instructor who taught us about the philosophy of Sivananda yoga. After a short breathing (pranayama) session we go straight into the steps towards the achieving a headstand! This sounds a lot more daunting that it actually was. Even my husband who is not an experienced yogi at all managed it with the instructor’s help.
We worked towards the headstand against the wall and as there were only 4 of us in this class, we got individual attention. We were all at different levels. I was the only female in this class, there were 3 other male practitioners and a male instructor but I didn’t feel at all intimidated.
We also worked towards other more standard postures but again held them for a length of time in deep stretches.
Vinyasa Flow class by Sama Hamza
Sama is a young female teacher who teaches at both The Yoga Ashram and Inspire Yoga studio in Dubai. We did her Vinyasa class at 9.00 am on a Saturday morning. The class starts with a short breathing meditation and intention setting exercise and then goes straight into a vigourous vinyasa session.
There is a great deal of clear instruction in this class that is necessary as you transition from pose to pose fairly quickly. While none of the poses will be new to experienced yogis, the order in which we reach them was definitely new to me. Expect to sweat a a lot as this class will provide you with a good “work out”.
Sama always provided options so you can work at the level your body allows you to. She also checked about injuries or related issues at the beginning of the class.
How did classes at Yoga Ashram make me feel
I really enjoyed Vibin’s Shivananda class and felt a great sense of achievement at being able to complete a head stand, that too at the beginning of the class.
I also liked the length of time we held postures like pidgeon as you get to experience a really deep stretch. The pranayam or breathing element of the class is important and again I liked it.
Vibin is a good teacher with a calm manner, I would go again and this class is not just for advanced practitioners. I liked the fact it was on at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon so it stops you from having a big lunch but the timing means you’re still free to out for an evening after the class. I also liked the fact the classes are small and you get individual attention.
I liked Sama’s Vinyasa class as she has a good, clear voice and while there were a lot of instructions, they were easy to follow. We always returned to the vinyasa set during the class so it is important to be familiar with the surya namaskar at least in order to get the benefit from this class.
It was great that we had to really think as well as use our bodies! And on top of that we got a good work out too. I would do this class again. It is an early one though at 9.00 am but traffic on Saturday morning at that time is very light, so it’s easy and quick to get there.
Yoga in Dubai Useful Links
I did a Hot Yoga lunchtime class with Nikki at Inspire but she also undertakes classes at Core 8.
If you feel yoga is just for skinny, thin types then think again. Nikki is a great example of a yoga teacher who doesn’t fit the mould that most yoga teachers come in, but is very good at what she does!
Remember Sarah White takes classes at Urban Yoga based in Business Bay. I haven’t experienced any classes here as yet.
You could also try a yoga class at a health club even if you’re not a member. I’ve recommend the Power yoga classes at Fitness First in Motor City.
Both Rio Nunga and Nick Kumar are experienced teachers who hold regular classes at Fitness First. But you may find it difficult to book in for these classes as they are very popular. So take your gym shoes in case you don’t get a spot! But for a health club where classes are “free” the yoga offered is of a very good standard from both Nick and Rio.
Private Yoga Teacher
I recommend Subhui very highly. She is a very well spoken and experienced teacher who can instruct at all levels. Based in Downtown but can travel, I have undertaken many classes with Subuhi over the last 4 years.
Try and find a yoga class and a teacher that you like and I promise you’ll feel the benefits..well into your life both mentally and physically. If you have a favourite class that you’d like to tell us about then send in the details in the comments section below. Or if this post has inspired you to find a yoga class we’d love to know.