This Saturday (March 5 2022), yoga fanatics are invited to gather at Bodytree Studio in Abu Dhabi for a full day of classes, workshops and live music.
Tickets cost Dh150 for the day, including unlimited classes and wellness experiences such as massages and Reiki taster sessions. Or, those who just want to browse the market can enter for free and explore stalls from Lululemon, Kata & Asana, Art Central, Kibsons, The Clean Touch, Modi Body, Glow Destination and many more ethical and wholesome brands.
This year’s special guest is Dubai-based yoga teacher Amanda Lupia, whose career has seen her teach Insta-worthy classes at the country’s most iconic landmarks, including the top of the Burj Khalifa, the EXPO 2020 Dubai Waterfall, the helipad of the Burj Al Arab and on the peak of Jebel Jais.
But her yoga classes are obviously far more than just incredible photo opportunities. Canadian-born and raised, she wants to spread the message that yoga is a physical and mental practice, and invite people to embrace their true feelings and connect with their body.
“Teaching yoga is about creating a space where people feel safe and where they can heal, it’s a union of the mind, body and soul,” she says.
“I want to help students understand their body, stop comparing themselves to others and favor poses that work best with their anatomy. It’s incredibly important to me that my students implement this philosophy in their everyday life too. After all, this is where the ‘real’ yoga begins.”
An array of different classes
During her first appearance at the Bodytree Yoga Market, Amanda will be teaching two classes: Power Vinyasa and Chinese Meridian Yin Yoga.
“The Power Vinyasa class is a one-hour flow on the rooftop which includes pranayama (breathing) practices, sun salutations and standing, balancing and rotating postures to create a powerful, personal and transformative journey,” she explains.
“Meanwhile, Chinese Meridian Yin Yoga draws on the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine. It explores the body’s energetic channels and how strong feelings can affect our physical state.”
A powerful way of healing
Indeed, she has seen people experience great emotion while practicing yoga, including someone who started crying when she adjusted them in a pigeon pose.
“I felt all this energy moving through them, so I kept my hand on their back for a few extra breaths to let them know they were safe to release,” Amanda describes.
“We sometimes don’t realize, until we are in an intimate space like yoga, how much we’ve been holding onto.”
A former competitive figure skater, Amanda first tried yoga when her coaches introduced it into her training schedule as a way of stretching.
“For me, yoga was love at first sight. Practicing daily made me more aware of how I was working with my body. My breathing improved and I became physically and mentally calmer. I knew that I had to share this gift and so I went on my first teacher training course in Bali.”
Incorporating yoga into all areas of life
As a way of including yoga into your daily routine, Amanda suggests practicing hip openers in front of the TV, doing cat-cows in your office chair and simply closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths in through your nose, and out though your mouth, whenever you feel stressed.
However, to work on her fitness, she personally likes to mix it up.
“I love walking, barre, weight training, cycling and hot yoga. But I know some people who only do yoga and are very fit. It’s just about finding a balance. Yin yoga is great for flexibility and relaxation but it doesn’t improve your cardiovascular health. However, Vinyasa Flow or Power Yoga will definitely get your heart working.”
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.