Dawn To Dusk was the latest in the Sun & Sand Sports yoga calendar of events, and it was in collaboration with Under Armour and Piloga studio. The venue said it all: fresh air, jazz music and Creekside views – talk about some serious outdoor ambiance. The new Rise venue at Dubai Creek Harbour boasts stunning views and a cool outdoorsy vibe for the Dubai-dwellers looking for something a little different – it’s a space to get creative with.
The event was twofold, comprising of a sunrise yoga session and followed later the same day with a sunset yoga session, which were led by three Dubai-based yogis: Dina Kassir Kfoury, Alison McLaughlin and Neha Duseja. The two sessions were prop-based, using equipment to enhance the session, with the morning session using straps, and then block work for the evening class. Dina talked us through the use of props, with a focus on straps for resistance, strengthening and promoting a more challenging session. The whole idea is to open up the shoulders and hamstrings, in order to prepare for the inversion flow. The blocks on the other hand were used for more restorative work – particularly rewarding for a sunset yoga session, unwinding and taking in the surroundings for a bit of mental and physical relaxation to end the weekend.
We caught up with the yoga instructors to find out a little more about them and what the practice of yoga means to them.
First up was Dina, who, like many yogis has always been drawn to a healthy lifestyle – but there’s one thing being drawn to it and actually implementing it, which is where yoga came in for Dina. Having always been into her fitness, Dina was a ballet dancer in her early years and explored many different sports activities, until she realised that she needed to incorporate something for stretching and flexibility – both mentally and physically, which is when she came across yoga and the importance of the mind-body connection. Dina talked us through her teaching style and her personal connection to yoga – particularly how she imparts this experience to her students, explaining that “If you are not connected, not in the present moment, you tend to lose part of the sequence, and it becomes really hard to catch up afterwards.” Her style is very fluid, a natural flow that resembles a dance almost, “where you are connecting your breath to your body, to your mind.”
We had a chat with Allie from Dubai’s Piloga studio, who began her yoga journey five years ago when she noticed stress beginning to take over aspects of her life and personality, and you can tell immediately by chatting to Allie that she is in a great place thanks to the power of yoga, and the integration of this practice into her everyday life. When asked to describe what yoga means to her, Allie responded: “Technically yoga means ‘union,’ but for me it’s undefinable.” The practice of yoga has clearly been a journey with deep meaning for these ladies, and Allie explained this in her own terms as finding a sense of grounding and the time to just breathe. “In order to find that peace on the mat, I had to breathe – something which unfortunately I wasn’t doing in life.”
Neha’s yoga story was truly inspiring, as she talked about her personal experiences with the practice and its transformative power. Going beyond the physical, Neha realised that yoga is very much a mental stretch too – stretching limitations, the imagination and the room for possibility. It may sound a tad clichéd, but the reasons behind the practice are so much more than exercise; “human beings take on too much stress, just worry unnecessarily, and I think yoga reminds you to be in the present moment, to breathe, to simplify.” Yoga can be adopted by anyone, and it’s all about listening to your body, not competing with others. Neha believes that “things become possible when you can do things like stand on your hands – everything becomes possible.”
To find your Zen and begin your yoga journey, check out what’s new at sssports.com and see the full yoga collection at our online store. You can also learn How To Do Aerial Yoga with Dina, and find alternative ways to practice yoga – adding some aerial action to your routine. You can also sign up to the Sun & Sand Sports newsletter in the box below, to receive updates on all the latest news and trends from the world of sports.