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Being Black in the yoga and wellness space is like being Black in many places: you often find that you’re the only one in the room and you regularly come up against discrimination. My experience as a student, both in the United States and in the UAE, has been that it is difficult to find truly inclusive wellness studios and spaces. It’s even more difficult to find Black representation among teachers. The cultural appropriation of...

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For several years, the yoga world has been in a state of crisis, rocked by revelations of sexual abuse dating back decades. A Vice exposé is the latest outlet to level charges, this time against the founder of Yoga to The People, a pay-what-you-can chain of studios in multiple US states. The problems came to light via an anonymous Instagram account started by former employees, leveling charges of a toxic and manipulative workplace culture involving...

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Everyone knows what yoga is these days, but what about hand yoga? Mudra, to give it its proper name, is the practice of placing the fingers into prescribed positions, or mudras, to diagnose conditions, assist in healing and to improve and maintain good health and well-being.  As a practice, it is as ancient as yoga (the earliest texts date back to between the 4th and 5th centuries) but far more subtle – so much so...

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Leila Kouri, who opened the first F45 franchise in Abu Dhabi 18 months ago, doesn’t think it will be easy getting members back to the gym when the UAE begins to open up post Covid-19.  “Even with a 50 percent cap on numbers, will people be willing to risk it? I doubt it,” she says, adding that it will be challenging to do a HIIT session wearing a mask and gloves.  The once-thriving fitness industry...

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These are hard times indeed, but one person who is determined to help us beam right through this Covid-19 challenge is laughter yoga specialist Suman Suneja. Born in New Delhi and now a Dubai resident, Suneja was an engineer when he returned to his homeland after being diagnosed with arthritis in 1992. Three months in an ashram, soaking up nature and learning to teach yoga, proved healing for his arthritis and created a life-long belief...

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As a yoga teacher, I have seen all sorts of things over the years. What seems like common sense to some is anathema to others and there are many things that are not so obvious if you’re used to going to group exercise classes. The philosophy behind the practice teaches us to live a better life outside the studio, so cultivating these qualities in class will help us way beyond our physical practice or asana. ...

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Neli Merris has been a mainstay on the Abu Dhabi yoga scene since she first arrived 12 years ago. Now the Bulgaria-born yoga teacher, soundworker and mother-of-two has joined forces with two Emirati sisters to open Seven Wellness on Reem Island.  “I taught one of the sisters yoga and it’s how we got together, but they had been working on this project for two years before I met them and so it was all in...

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Sophie Malpass started Super SUP Fit, which provides bespoke and boutique HIIT, pilates and yoga-inspired workouts on the water in Dubai, after working on a cruise ship as a professional dancer.  Five years later, the aim of this British Dubai resident’s SUP classes is to create a fun atmosphere involving effective workouts with balls and bands and a good chance of a nice cool dip. Partnerships with Drift Beach, One&Only Royal Mirage and Fairmont, The Palm...

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Core 8, a wellness platform in Dubai, was actually born out of horrible pain. “My head felt like it was parked on a spike,” recalls co-founder Nikki Meyler. “I was taking medication every single day, going to hospital and being given pethidine injections as well as morphine. I was trying to get myself better but nothing was helping. I wasn’t getting anywhere. Pilates was recommended to me, but I would end up in incredible pain...

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The hot summer months are difficult to deal with but there is one form of exercise that can help you beat the heat — yoga. Yoga can help you cool off, stay focused, healthy and happy and help calm the mind with some very simple and yet effective postures.. A good method to counter the hot, muggy weather is to draft a lunar current within your body by focusing on activities and foods that work...