Smashing your fitness goals in the new year is one thing, but have you thought about how to give your overall wellness a boost as well? Then make sure you head to the Livehealthy Festival 2023 for a well-rounded day of workshops, expert panels, and activities that will help you feel the best you can in both body and mind.
It all happens on Saturday, January 21 at THE BRIDGE | Lifestyle Hub in Abu Dhabi’s Al Qana, where a wide range of exercise classes and sessions to help you also find an inner balance will run all day, starting at 10am until 5.45pm.
All the ways to get moving
For fitness fanatics, workouts at the Livehealthy Festival will be hosted by the coaches at THE BRIDGE including energizing spin, bodyweight training, step, and specifically designed mobility classes.
“It’s not just about looking great, losing fat or training muscles, it’s about gaining flexibility and strength,” says Steve Pere, acting manager at THE BRIDGE. “Our mobility class at 11am on Terrace A will focus on making people comfortable in uncomfortable positions like deep squatting, and we’ll use foam rolling, functional movements, corrective and stretching exercises that rely mainly on body weight.”
If you’re after a more relaxed workout, check out the ladies-only Vinyasa Yoga class at 11am on the rooftop garden, which links conscious breathing with dynamic fluid movement. Or you can try mat Pilates at 10am, also on the rooftop garden, where you will discover a newfound feeling of control and efficiency in your body and mind.
If you’re looking to learn some new skills while you work out, there’s Muay Thai Basic sessions for both adults and kids, taking place at at 2pm on Terrace A for grown-ups and 10am on Terrace B for kids. At this class you’ll learn how to defend yourself while you take part in a killer workout combining both boxing and kicking.
But wellness isn’t just skin deep. If you’re looking to give your mental health a pick-me-up, there’s a family laughter yoga session taking place at 4pm on Terrace B. Dr. Naser Al Riyami will lead the whole family in several exercises, helping them release endorphins and decrease stress hormones such as cortisol, plus help to increase immunity and protect the human body from viruses and bacteria.
Your emotional wellbeing can receive some love at two sound healing sessions (one for ladies at 4pm and one mixed group at 5pm) in the aptly named Pause room.
These sessions offer a unique experience where four sound healers splice together crystal quartz instruments, voices, Tibetan bowls, and Arabic percussion to facilitate a deeper state where the body activates its self-healing properties.
Sonia Gonzalez, a renowned sound healer in Abu Dhabi, says the sessions are unique because they help people remove the stresses and strains of everyday life.
“The average person has a stressful life with commuting, work, families and the keeps us in a state of fight of light,” she says. “But with sound healing, our minds can go easily into Theta brainwaves. This is where we start relaxing and we start producing the hormones that we need because the glands start vibrating with the sounds and they start absorbing the frequencies. Then we get the hormonal balancing and come to a well-being state.”
Learn something new
If you’re in the mood to acquire some new knowledge, the festival is hosting several panel discussion in the Al Qana cinema area, featuring local experts from all over the UAE speaking on the latest hot topics in wellness.
If you are thinking about taking supplements daily, it can be difficult to know which ones to choose. At 11am, functional nutritionists Suzan Terzian and Farah Hillou will explain how multi-vitamins and more can augment health. They’ll also give useful tips on what to watch out for when making a purchase. Audience participation is an important part of this session — you’ll be able to ask questions throughout.
The Put Me to Sleep workshop at 1pm will be hosted by sleep consultant Claudine Gillard, who’ll introduce you to Dana Obleman’s Solve Your Sleep method. It’s a simple, easy, step-by-step system to help get a full-night’s sleep without the use of sleep aids. Because when you’re sleeping well, your health, mood, libido, productivity, and happiness all uplift.
Have you ever wondered about the current immunization schedule? Dr. Nasr al Jafari, functional medicine doctor, will discuss how vaccines have helped manage viral pandemics and chronic illnesses at 2pm. In a fast-moving world, no two are the same — and studies are beginning to surface demonstrating that some of them can actually weaken the immune system. He’ll be sharing his tips on how to know what is best for you and your family.
A family affair
This year, the Livehealthy Festival will be accessible to residents of all ages. The younger generation will discover how to use art and exercise to help balance their minds.
Leading the kids’ arts and crafts activities will be the team from RFLCT Creative Arts, the brainchild of Nassim Al Majed and Sara Alsharouqi, an Emirati mother and daughter team who want to bring arts closer to the community and help them understand the benefits it has on humanity.
“Since opening in 2017 we’ve noticed that anything involving paint and glue is what kids want to do,” says Sara. “The minute we go into more handicrafts, we don’t see the same appetite because they tend to lean towards what they are comfortable with. So, for the Livehealthy Festival, we’ve chosen a painting and sticking activity, an activity where kids can create their own chick with glue and materials, and we are offering the chance to design their own tote bag.”
The RFLCT kids’ arts and craft activities take place between 1pm and 3.45pm on Terrace B and are designed to teach kids about sustainability, recycling and working together as team. What’s more, they get to take their creations away with them to use in daily life, which Sara describes as another trend in the kids’ arts and crafts market.
“Art is an amazing tool to destress, and you don’t realize how much it relieves until you put your heart in it,” adds Sara. “It’s an open door for all ages, it really brings a lot of joy and positivity, plus a lot of sense of achievement, and it boosts confidence when you see the result of the piece of art.”
To burn off some young energy, the festival will also host kids yoga and Muay Thai for kids on Terrace B at 10 am and 11am respectively, plus they can join the laughter yoga session with the families at 4pm.
Refuel on demand
There’s a good chance you’ll get hungry over the day, but the Livehealthy Festival has you covered. You can tuck into a range of organic grab-and-go snacks from TASTE, the specially crafted café at THE BRIDGE. All dishes served at TASTE are made to be nutritious and healthy and are produced with quality local ingredients to ensure they complement your health kick. On the day, they’ll have special savory dishes such as hearty white bean cashew dip, Mexican farmer’s salad bowl, roasted beetroot feta and pomegranate salad and a zesty roasted beetroot dip (all under 400 calories). And if you are looking for something a little heartier, check out the sweet pea falafel or smoked Caesar and chicken wraps. For your sweet tooth, try a slice of the chocolate tart, berry and frangipane tart or the carrot cake, all sweetened by natural ingredients and under 500 calories.
• Tickets are Dh120 per adult and Dh50 per child.
• Classes are first-come-first-served, so make sure you arrive early to get a spot at your desired
• For more information and to purchase tickets head to Livehealthyevents.com
• Location: THE BRIDGE | Lifestyle Hub at Abu Dhabi’s waterfront lifestyle destination, Al Qana.