Laila Saif’s road to Illuminations Abu Dhabi began when, as a hard-working executive, she googled Theta Healing and came across the original wellbeing center in Dubai.
Intrigued, she soon headed up the highway from her home in Abu Dhabi to investigate. She didn’t know it then, but it was a move which she says ended up completely transforming her life.
“At the time I was always stressed, with a lot of suppressed frustrations and anger and believing that everything was okay and that those feelings were just part of life,” she says.
Enter Illuminations Abu Dhabi
Saif gave up a high-profile job as the head of human resources at Mubadala Investment Company to pursue her passion for holistic healing. She trained as a hypnotherapist, NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner and is now pursuing a diploma in regression therapies.
She is also co-owner of the new Illuminations Abu Dhabi wellbeing center, launching on Reem Island. Things certainly have changed for Saif since that google search and now she wants to help facilitate that change for others, too.
“Today I’m a full-time therapist and business partner and I am content, peaceful,” she says. “The quality of my relationships is richer and full of love.”
A focus on wellness
Saif believes that every human needs to be empowered with the knowledge and tools to awaken their infinite potential and she is looking forward in particular to helping other Abu Dhabi residents overcome any challenges they may face in doing so. After all, she has a profound understanding of where they are coming from.
“I hope to guide people within my community who are facing challenges, to realize their infinite potential by clearing the hidden layers of fear, social conditioning and self-limiting beliefs through self-healing tools,” she says.
Illuminations Abu Dhabi will be the fourth location for a concept that was groundbreaking not only in the UAE but throughout the region when it first opened in 2006.
Back then, founder Soniyaa Kiran Punjabi, who had changed her life and her way of thinking about it years ago after losing a friend in an accident, couldn’t even find a place to hold a meditation class. When she returned to Dubai after training as a clinical hypo-therapist, she wanted a space where people seeking answers to life’s biggest questions could feel supported in that quest.
Illuminations has since grown to three branches – the headquarters in JLT and , two offshoots in Mirdif and Pune, India. The center has more than 18,000 clients in the UAE, many of whom come from Abu Dhabi.
“They would often mention to us the need for having an Illuminations branch there, so they wouldn’t have to travel down so often,” says Punjabi, who also is a new member of the livehealthy.ae expert panel. “We ended up finding the perfect partner in Laila, who shared our vision and values and passion for wellbeing from the moment she became our client.”
The team chose Reem Island so the center would be easily accessible for clients coming from Khalifa City as well as other localities. Horizon Towers also has plenty of parking and waterfront views.
Abu Dhabi versus Dubai
Punjabi says the biggest change she’s seen in the UAE since opening the first Illuminations is the growth in awareness.
“Back in 2006, when we talked about words like hypnosis or meditation, people found it confusing or vague,” she says. “Today people have so much more knowledge, interest and awareness of the importance of taking responsibility to create a life you love.”
Dubai boasts a large number of centers and therapists, so awareness of the modalities in wellbeing is higher there, says Punjabi. “People in Dubai are definitely more stressed than Abu Dhabi, given the faster-paced lifestyle,” she explains.
In Abu Dhabi, on the other hand, for a long time the only place fitting the description of “wellness center” offering a range of classes and workshops was Bodytree Studio. However that is changing rapidly with more yoga studios and options for meditation and wellness-focused workshops opening every year.
Illuminations opens on the heels of Seven Wellness, also on Reem Island. There is also Carpe Diem Abilities Development Center, which offers non-invasive, non-religious forms of therapy, and House of Nature.
No matter where you are in the world, the challenges people are facing are not that different, says Punjabi.
“Whether Abu Dhabi, Dubai or Dublin, we are all struggling with similar issues related to career, financial success and relationships.”
What you can expect
Illuminations Abu Dhabi is a one-stop, 2,200-square-foot wellbeing center that offers a range of services focused on holistic healing, mental health and personal growth. There will be daily meditation and yoga, self-empowering workshops and seminars on health, career and relationships, private consultations in positive psychology, mind science, energy healing and naturopathy. The meditation space offers an immersive experience using color, light and sound. Illuminations is also a wellness training academy, offering certification courses for those wanting to become practitioners with international accreditation. The center will also organize international retreats, offers a full range of crystals, aromatherapy, books and other wellness shopping in its retail space and is introducing a cafe area.
Help for challenges
Illuminations Abu Dhabi will focus on providing “a complete ecosystem for overall well-being which involves life transformation on the physical-mental-emotional and spiritual level of our existence”, says Punjabi. “These services are based on mind sciences and western psychology, combining energy and quantum healing modalities, ancient traditional healing approaches and naturopathy for physical wellness.”
Health, career, relationships and self-expression can all be nurtured at the center. And there is help for those who are facing stress in their relationships, want to quit smoking or other addictions, struggle with weight loss, fears, phobias and a range of other mental health concerns,including anxiety and depression.
The bottom line
Illuminations Abu Dhabi is due to open on the ground floor of Reem Island’s Horizon Towersin early February. It will be open seven days a week, from 10am to 8pm. For more information, go to the website or call 050 998 8869.