Yoga & Brunch

As the heavy summer heat starts to ease up and those gorgeous easy Dubai days are on the horizon, yoga starts to take itself outdoors- events are popping up all over the city!

Practicing yoga outdoors is a fantastic way to connect to the elements. You root your practice in the hustle and bustle of life itself as you are taken out of a studio or controlled environment and into the inherent spontaneity of mother nature.

I have been offering yoga at XVA Hotel and Gallery for the past 3 years and it really is one of my most favourite experiences from living, practicing and teaching in Dubai.

This year I am hosting 5 Yoga & Brunch mornings in this creative corner of the city.

Saturdays at 10am-

13th October

10th November

19th January

16th February

16th March

We will meet on the roof top of XVA which is situated in the historic Al Fahidi area and an hour of mindful yoga will start at 10. The class is open to all, from the experienced practitioner to the complete beginner. Each class will focus on creating a sense of ease in the body, mind and breath as well as having a unique theme, so you will enjoy a series of yoga perspectives if you are able to join all 5 sessions!

After yoga we will enjoy brunch in the picturesque courtyard cafe. The food at XVA is delicious and brunch will include lots of fresh fruit and Arabic breakfast items, a choice of eggs or an option of pancakes, fresh juice (try the mint lemon!) and tea or coffee (dairy free milk available).

Friends, and families are welcome to join for the brunch paying just the cost of the food. (mentioning extra guests in advance is helpful but not essential!)

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After brunch there is so much to see and do in the area- the gallery and shop at XVA are always worth checking out, there is the gold and spice souks, an abra down the creek, you could wander around the galleries and museums in al fahidi or check out the new Al Seef development!

This year we are offering a great deal too- the early bird rate is just 100AED (+VAT) if you book and pay before the day through the hotel reservations@xvagallery.com . If you prefer to pay on the day then it is 120AED (+VAT) in cash.

Yoga mats can be borrowed but please do let me know in advance if you wish to borrow one.

Please share with all your friends and loved ones and do feel free to get in touch if you would like to know anything more.

Namaste

The divine in me, bows to the divine in you.

Supported Forward Bound Angle Pose

Forward folding poses naturally draw our attention inwards, away from external distractions. They strengthen our ability to explore our inner landscape. When you add to this the seated element of this pose, you add a sense of grounding and safety that comes from physical closeness to the earth. From this position the support and warmth from the earth is more intimately felt and received. In a regular yoga class you might practice this posture and certainly enjoy these same benefits but what we get when we add the additional props to make this a restorative pose is that extra sense of comfort.

IMG_20180501_120808_884.jpgWhen we are comfortable then the body and mind can drop into relaxation and in this state the systems of the body can more effectively restore themselves. Without props this can be a physically demanding pose that requires a certain amount of flexibility but by bringing the earth up to meet you where you are (with the use of the bolster to support your body and the blankets to support your legs/hips) you can reduce the stimulation of the posture and find this sense of relaxation.

 

Join me weekly at Nilaya House, Al Quoz, Dubai

Tuesdays 8pm-9.15pm

 

Restore, Restore, Restore

No man is an island.
Our energy is affected by many external factors and life pulls and pushes us in many ways. The relationships that bring us love and joy can also cause us pain and worry, the work responsibilities that offer pride and satisfaction can also lead to stress and burn out. With so many amazing ways to spend our leisure time in this  city that never sleeps, even our ‘free’ time can be laced with pressure, the pressure that we should always be ‘doing’ something to be fully alive.
Restorative yoga is a liberating practice as it is not a practice of ‘doing’, but a practice of ‘being’. Through finding inner stillness and quiet we see that the essence of being fully alive is most potent with an absence of doing, when we start to peel away the layers of stimulation and distraction. This is a practice of ‘un doing’ and, in my opinion, it is an essential practice to maintain balance.
If you follow the 8 limbs of yoga you will know the term brahmacharya, one of the yamas, (social restraints) which can be translated as wise use of energy. Learning how to contain, to replenish and when and where to expel our energy is vital to a life well lived. In the stillness of a restorative yoga practice we can heighten our awareness of our own energy levels and,  give ourselves time to replenish our store. I believe when we dedicate time to nurturing our own energy we become more careful about the ways in which we spend this precious resource. This can lead us to making healthier and more sustainable decisions about the way we live our life.
Restore, restore, restore.
This is my mantra. It reminds me that before I can look after my family, my friends, my students, before I can function in any meaningful way, I must maintain my charge, I must look after my Self. There are many short term pick me ups which have their place in my life – an active yoga practice, a run outside, a chat with a close friend, even a coffee can all make me feel more energised and improve my mood, but I would argue none of these can truly address stress and exhaustion rooted deeply in my body.
Restorative yoga lives in a space between activity and sleep, this deep relaxation that is often neglected, that feels so wonderfully luxurious yet is also so fundamentally essential.
So what is Restorative Yoga?
 
Poses are ‘held’ for several minutes – often between 5 and 20. The poses are passive, meaning there is no muscle engagement. The body is totally supported in the postures by props – blankets, blocks and bolsters. With this support we can let go of physical tension, of mental tension, and of emotional tension. The body is gently invited to open in areas we may keep habitually closed. This is a gentle opening and not a stretch (stretching is mildly stimulating to the nervous system). Significantly, over the course of a restorative yoga class we move the spine in all directions, gently folding forwards, backwards and twisting. A healthy spine enhances well-being.
And why should I practice Restorative Yoga?
 
In restorative yoga you are momentarily stepping away from the outside world and from all the demands it makes on your, body, mind and energy. You are invited into a still and silent space where the body’s own resources (it’s tool kit) is given the opportunity to awaken, to heal and to restore. Relaxation takes us out of stress mode and activates the sympathetic nervous system – this switches our body over to ‘maintenance mode’. Simply put, when we allow ourselves to stop and relax, the inner healing processes can take place, homeostasis can be restored.
Restorative yoga is for everyone, not just those with injuries or physical limitations (though wonderful in those instances too!) This practice is for anyone who ever feels stressed or short of time. It is for people who would like to sleep better, for those who get run down easily, who want to give their body a chance to heal, who suffer from a reactive nature, or who simply want to maintain optimum well-being.
Restorative yoga isn’t being lazy. In fact finding a place to ‘do’ nothing in your life can be extremely constructive. I urge you to try the practice and see what extra space and energy it frees up for you.
I teach restorative yoga at Nilaya House in Al Quoz, Dubai on Tuesdays 8-9.15pm

Coming up!!! Season finale at XVA, Full moon Restorative yoga at Nilaya House

Hello all,
 
A big thank you to all of you who have made it to one of the Yoga Day Retreats at XVA this season. The last one is coming up on Saturday 10th March- the season finale!! I hope it will be the best one yet 🙂
I would love to see you there, familiar faces and new. Bring friends and family or just your self! Non yoga guests are welcome to join us for breakfast and or lunch (get in touch for more info).
 
As an extra treat you will recieve 5% off in the XVA shop which has beautiful and unique offerings, carefully curated from artists and craftspeople from all over the world, and some items even hand made in house!
The cost for the day is 357aed (inc vat) and if you would like a reminder of what is included please check my website or send me an email.You can also find a preview of the last day retreat on my instagram account @yogawithyas in the highlights of my profile.
In other news… New restorative yoga in Dubai
 
Next Friday (2nd March) I am thrilled to be holding a special Full moon class at the very special Nilaya House in al Quoz. The session will be a luxurious 90 minutes of restorative yoga and yoga nidra. No yoga experience is necessary and all are welcome. Please share the event with any loved ones in need of some nourishment! More info here or do of course get in touch if you would like to know anything else.
This class will be a little taster as from April I will be sharing this wonderful practice regularly through a weekly restorative session at Nilaya House!
So I hope to see you soon at one of these upcoming occasions. Wishing you love, peace and contentment in the meantime.
With warmth,
Yasmine
Namaste,
 
The divine in me, bows to the divine in you
 
x

PRACTICE, PATIENCE, PRESENCE (& PARENTING)

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3 simple words to keep in mind on and off the mat.

These 3 words I have found to be totally transformative to my yoga practice.

The more I practice, the more I realise that what is truly interesting in each asana (yoga pose) is not what is happening in the body, but what is happening in the mind.

Thoughts pop up that can be hard to face. Thoughts pop up that can take our attention away and afar, as we rehash old stories, or dream up new ones. Shopping lists, conversations at work, emails to write; the mind is a busy junction with thoughts coming and going like trains. It can be hard to be honest with ourselves and truly acknowledge the thoughts and accompanying emotions that arise within us. We may not like to acknowledge our stubbornness, arrogance or easily frustrated nature- but we are human. We must be patient with our selves, seeing these patterns but knowing they are not us. They may appear within us regularly (or occasionally) but they are not us. We are not rigid, we are flexible, constantly changing, never set in stone.

Yoga asana allows us to hone our skills of concentration as we observe without judgement  what arises as we move our body from shape to shape. When we practice this ability of moment to moment observation, just like practicing anything, we strengthen it. When we are able to be present we engage with life as it is- acceptance. We work on being just where we are within a yoga pose without thinking about where we should be, where we would like to be, or where the person on the mat next to us is. With acceptance of our circumstances we naturally invite patience. Patience leads to all kinds of positive qualities- kindness, generosity, tolerance, selflessness, empathy to name a few.

Practice, patience, presence. This recipe is not exclusive to yoga, in fact these three attributes allow us to navigate more smoothly through all areas of life. I have found this to be incredibly true with regards to parenting. As a mother to a 6 month old I am practicing patience every day, and with that dedicated daily practice I have found my capacity for patience has increased more than I could have imagined! She does not sleep when I want, she does not sleep for as long as I would like, she is a spontaneous and independent little being and sometimes she doesn’t fit in with our ‘plans’. I can only be present because as I sit rocking her to sleep, or as I sit through nights of cluster feeding, if I think about what I would rather be doing, or what I have to do when I can FINALLY put her down I would quite simply go bananas. When I think- ‘but she slept through last week, what’s gone wrong?’ I feel cheated, when I think ‘when will I ever get a full nights sleep again?’ I feel down. But when I notice the softness and warmth of the baby in my arms, when I see what is there in that moment- a baby and its mother, it really is OK.

Presence and patience feels better. It is easier. It opens the way for intimacy, as to be intimate we have to be present, it opens the way for kindness and empathy, as I acknowledge my daughter needs me and is not crying or fussing out of spite!

Being present means we open our self up to the reality of life as it unfolds. We don’t just listen, we hear, we don’t just look, we see, we don’t react we respond. We essentially wake up to a whole life within our lives which when existing via autopilot, planning, and impatience could easily be missed.

So

Practice- whatever that means for you, yoga, meditation, art, music, cooking, changing nappies, driving to work, relationships.

Presence- observing, acknowledging, accepting, being not just doing

Patience- cultivates kindness, empathy and understanding towards yourself and others.

 

Namaste,

 

The divine in me, bows to the divine in you

Weekend retreat @ XVA this August

So happy to be returning this Summer to this sanctuary in the city.

The schedule is a little different to last year to accommodate my new job of looking after a baby! But it is shaping up nicely, offering plenty of opportunity to deepen your yoga practice, relax and enjoy the delicious food and surroundings- it now looks like this…

Thursday 10th

  • Arrive in the afternoon if you want more time to enjoy the hotel and area or to book treatment
  • Dinner 7.30pm

Friday 11th

  • Cleansing and refreshing lemon and mint juice
  • Dynamic Yoga (a vinyasa style practice) 9-10am
  • Breakfast 10am
  • Free time to explore/ relax or book treatments
  • Lunch 1.30pm
  • Free time to explore/ relax or book treatments
  • Yoga flow and relax (a vinyasa style practiced followed by some restorative poses and a lovely long savasana) 4–6pm
  • Dinner 6.30pm
  • Yoga Nidra (a guided meditation also known as yogic sleep) 8.30-9.00pm

 

Saturday 12th

  • Cleansing and refreshing lemon and mint juice
  • Dynamic Yoga (a vinyasa style practice) 9-10Aam
  • Breakfast 10am
  • Yin yoga and yoga Nidra (a slow paced deep stretch class followed by a guided meditation to sooth body and mind) 12-13.30pm
  • Lunch 13.30pm

 

 

You can see the retreats page for more info or email me- yogawithyas@gmail.com and reservations@xvagallery.com to book.

Flexibility

side angle yogaLately I have been thinking about what it means to be a flexible person and how yoga can help us achieve this.
Yoga asana can help us move our body outside of our regular movement patterns (ie slouching, sitting, leaning into one hip) it can gradually increase our range of motion and our level of comfort and ease in the body. It can lessen feelings of tension, lethargy and stiffness in the body, promote better breathing and general health and well being. That is great for sure!
But the benefits of flexibility are also very apparent when we use our yoga practice to exercise our mind.
We practice focus to refine our postures, we step away from external distractions as we move mindfuly through a vinyasa flow, we employ humility and care as we recognise our limitations in poses. All of these skilled actions and many more help to refine a fluid and flexible mind that is self aware. A mind that is not totally rigid or stubbornly set in stone based on past experience but is willing to change and respond moment to moment as life unfolds around it. Significantly a flexible mind is one that is willing and able to shift perspective.
So sit with yourself daily, observe and challenge your body and mind on and off the mat.

Start from where you are, with good intentions

A new years message to all who inspire and support me. ❤

It is a little belated but I wanted to give this message my full attention which can be  so hard to do during the festive season! 

 
Now we have emerged from the other side of Christmas and New Years, a time of year that can be wonderful, celebratory but also highly emotional and painful as it urges us to reflect on the year gone. It is a time to acknowledge and not to ignore any sadness and loss but to also make space for gratitude. Whether you are grateful for a truly wonderful year or whether that means planting a seed of gratitude for something seemingly very small- to be able to get into a warm bed at night, to enjoy the luxury of three meals a day, the very ability to feel- there is always something to be grateful for. 
I myself am deeply grateful to all of you who have effected me some way in this past year whether as a friend, student, teacher, or other you have all inspired me and been in my thoughts this year so thank you!
This year is a big one for me personally as many of you know I’m expecting my first baby in a few weeks! Pregnancy has been an amazing learning curve and I can’t wait to meet my baby for the real education to begin! So I plan on taking a little break from teaching whilst I focus on learning. For those of you in Dubai I will be sure to let you know when classes resume. I am also throwing around ideas for an intimate retreat schedule for 2018 in Sicily or Southern Spain so later in the year you may see updates about that! In the mean time please keep in touch via email or I’m on all the usual social media (links below) and I really hope you all have the best possible start to the year!
And although I’m not one for new years resolutions I found this quote from Donna Farhi to be in the spirit of the season, maybe it will resonate.
“Intention, unlike paper has no physical shape, yet it imbues objects with meaning and gives them a purposeful direction. 
In truth it matters less what we do in practice than how we do it and why we do it. The same posture, the same sequence, the same meditation done with a different intention takes on an entirely new meaning and will have entirely different outcomes.”
So I urge you, and myself, to start from where you’re at, with good intentions. ❤
With warmth,
Yasmine
 
Namaste
 
The divine in me, bows to the divine in you
x

Yoga in practice

Today would have been my last 2 scheduled studio classes before taking a break from teaching in the run up to baby’s birth. I decided to cancel the class- something I don’t do lightly because I know today I do not have the energy to give.

This process of pregnancy so far has been an amazing opportunity to practice yoga, as it manifests in living, and to reflect on the challenges of just that.

Immediately I felt out of control of my body. I trust it totally- it seems to know what it’s doing- but I have had very little say once the innate processes of pregnancy were put in motion. Apart from the obvious foundation of support I can offer my body- looking after myself- I have had to practice letting go, surrendering, daily. I thought I practiced this on my yoga mat, but it is one thing to sit with yourself as you are, or to be in savasana/ corpse pose, (a practice designed to prepare us for the ultimate surrendering of the body) it is another thing to accept yourself fully as you navigate through life adapting and accommodating change. Of course the first is preparation for the second.

It is in the nature of accommodating and accepting that I decided to significantly decrease my teaching and will take my last class for a while at the beginning of December. I am very happy with my decision and so grateful for the fact that I am able to adjust the energy I am expending in this way, I know many women don’t have that luxury when it comes to work. Despite the knowledge and sense behind these changes I have found my ego popping up more frequently (perhaps it’s all the extra time on my hands!) Ego is frustrated by the opportunities that I am not able to pursue, concerned by the effect that a break in teaching  now may have on the future. Ego looks at other non pregnant teachers and feels jealous of their brimming schedules, ego looks at pregnant teachers and feels inadequate in comparison.  Observing and quietening the ego has been a large part of my practice of late, in a strange way I have enjoyed the sense of conflict arising, it makes me think of a definition of Hatha- forceful- as if in the heat of this point of conflict resolution and balance can be obtained.

By practicing kindness to myself (ahimsa) and non grasping/greed (aparigraha) I feel as though I am strengthening not muscle but mind, not movement patterns but patterns of behavior. I hope that this will make not only my pregnancy a more positive experience but also deepen my formal and informal practice of yoga- and eventually when I’m ready again my teaching.