Pumping music. Neon outfits. Glow sticks. Is this a rave? No it’s yoga. Confused? We certainly are. But bear with us.
Once the domain of spiritualists and hippies; yoga has become a mainstream go-to workout. Now, it’s so trendy (in the best possible sense of the word), you can barely step outside without bumping into someone mat tucked under their arm and a serene glow about them. In fact, chances are, most of you reading this will, at some point, have pushed your protesting body into a cobra, if not contorted into a downward-facing dog. Bonus points if you’ve mastered a headstand… But I digress. Back to the club-like vibes and urban beats of where we started.
If your idea of yoga is deep breathing, calming chanting and lying on the floor connecting with the Earth, then Urban Yoga’s Glow Flow class might come as a bit of a shock.
If, however, you’ve spent the past couple of months holed up in your apartment consuming your bodyweight in chocolate biscuits while watching Netflix, despite promises to yourself that this was the summer that you’d lose the dreaded “Dubai stone” (be it six months or six years after arriving), this will be right up your street.
Glow Flow is, as the name suggests flow yoga, which translates to constant movement. And constant movement equals a decent form of exercise. If you’re working hard enough, you should definitely break a sweat. However, the beauty of this class is that it takes place in the dark, which means those averse to being seen with a glistening forehead will be able to shimmer in the shadows. Though, let’s face it, if you’re concerned about that, you should probably reconsider your decision to reside in Dubai.
My brief was to wear neon. So, decked out in my brightest of bright pink sportswear, I find myself at the studio in Business Bay. It’s very cool, both in temperature and atmosphere – all exposed brick walls and massive windows, providing a stellar view of the bright and twinkling lights of Dubai stretching ahead. It’s also, as I mentioned, very dark and has a warehouse/clubby vibe going on – you could be in Manhattan on a night out. Of course, that’s not the case, and the benefits of far outweigh those of a late night out.
Yoga is excellent for improving flexibility, sleep patterns and raising the heart rate. As I snap glow-in-the-dark bands around my neck and wrists, I’m excited and raring to go.
Those of you who regularly read Time Out might have seen me hauling myself into an aerial hoop a few of weeks ago, attempting to conquer circus skills and fly through the air like an eagle. You will also, therefore be aware that balance and athleticism are not exactly my forte. However, despite this lack of natural sporting ability, I do enjoy yoga, so I’m keen for the challenge. Yoga is yoga, right? I’ve got this. Maybe.
Although the lack of light means I’m less likely to be seen wobbling around in tree pose, the downside is that it’s even harder to balance in the dark. Your senses are confused. Told to fix my gaze on a point in my eye line (which is harder than you think, considering we never actually need to, since there are SO MANY lights in Dubai), I sway around; more a reed in a tropical storm than a sturdy old oak.
However, after a few asanas I’m settling into the, ahem, flow of things. It’s fun, challenging and I’m loving the upbeat music and vibe.
Unlike other classes, this one also features “free time”. This might involve taking a breather in child’s pose or, if you’re more advanced – which several people in this class are – this means headstands, handstands and all kinds of other impressive moves.
After the class, I feel both energised and chilled out. Glow Flow happens once a month, so if you’re looking for a workout that is fun and different, and may go some way to counteracting the effects of Friday brunch, head to Urban Yoga. Just don’t forget your glow sticks. Namaste. Dhs80 per class (next class Wed Aug 31). 8pm.