UAE: Why yoga has become a way of life for these residents

From being a stress reliever to helping people rediscover spirituality, this fitness regime is often credited with changing lives



Haifaa Mohammed. Photo: Supplied
Haifaa Mohammed. Photo: Supplied
by

Nasreen Abdulla

Published: Mon 20 Jun 2022, 6:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Jun 2022, 8:44 AM

People all over the world are rolling out their yoga mats to celebrate the International Day of Yoga on June 21. The posture-based fitness regime developed in ancient India primarily aims to still the mind, control emotions and provide physical and mental wellness.

It is popular worldwide and is often credited for changing people's lifestyles, fitness and mental health. Khaleej Times speaks to people of various nationalities on this International Yoga Day to discover what inspires them to continue practising yoga.

Bashayer Al Obaidli (standing) with her partner Sumaya Al Marzooqi. Photo: Supplied
Bashayer Al Obaidli (standing) with her partner Sumaya Al Marzooqi. Photo: Supplied

Bashayer Alobeidli & Sumaya Almarzooqi, UAE

The two Emirati friends Bashayer & Sumaya are certified yoga teachers and founders of Barakah - Sharjah’s first boutique yoga and pilates studio.

After experimenting with several forms of fitness, Bashayer’s passion was ignited by yoga after she observed its unique benefits on her body and mind. Sumaya discovered yoga after being a member of the national shooting team, realizing the power of breath and stillness in our daily life. The two partners set up Barakah to spread the benefits of yoga and give back to the community

Shaji Kumar. Photo: Supplied
Shaji Kumar. Photo: Supplied

Shaji Kumar, India

When he started doing yoga more than 25 years ago due to a medical condition, Shaji Kumar never imagined that he would become a yoga instructor. "When people kept returning to my classes, I realised I was destined to be a yoga instructor," he said. "I have taught people from over 100 nationalities. Over 50 of my students are yoga teachers now. For me, yoga has become a way of life, and I wouldn't have it any other way".

Katrina Gudaym (R) with her friend. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
Katrina Gudaym (R) with her friend. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

Katrina Gudaym, Ukraine

Ukrainian national Katrina Gudaym began practising yoga six years ago. "I had back pain as a child," she said. "However, once I started doing yoga every day, I noticed that I did not have any more pain."

Once a student, Katrina then started teaching yoga. "It wasn't just the health benefits," she said. "I began to be more mindful about my life. I rediscovered my spirituality, and I started getting closer to religion. I feel like yoga brings about an equilibrium in your life."

Haifaa Mohammed. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla
Haifaa Mohammed. Photo: Nasreen Abdulla

Haifaa Mohammed, Sudan

Born and raised in the UAE, the Sudanese yoga teacher and registered Reiki Healer accidentally stumbled upon yoga. "There was a book and CD at home about yoga," Haifa said. "I started practising it, more out of boredom than anything else. However, once I started, I was hooked. It has been over 20 years, and I couldn't be happier. Yoga is way more than a physical practice. It is a change of your entire life."

Mai Mostafa Ali. Photo: Supplied
Mai Mostafa Ali. Photo: Supplied

Mai Mostafa Ali, Egypt

Stressed out as a social media manager, Mai discovered yoga in 2017. "I saw the difference immediately," she said. "I had been struggling with insomnia. However, once I started doing yoga regularly, I could sleep better and was more in control of my emotions."

In 2019, she quit her job and travelled to an ashram in India, where she learnt yoga for six months. "Once I returned, I started teaching traditional Hatha yoga," she said. "It is the best decision I have taken in my life."

ALSO READ:


More news from UAE