As the free two-day YogaFest returns, we bring you a guide to the city’s more popular and most eye-catching styles
On Friday February 22, the two-day YogaFest returns to Dubai Internet City, offering the chance to try a wide range of yoga and meditation styles for free. To help you navigate the event, and the city’s ever-growing number of yoga studios, we’ve put together a guide to some of the most popular and more unusual classes. For the full YogaFest schedule, see www.yogafest.me.
Acro (or flying yoga) This discipline combines yoga, acrobatics and Thai massage – think headstands. It’s fun, but challenging. Try it:Tuesdays at Exhale Fitness Studio in JBR (04 424 3777), Zen Yoga in Jumeirah Town Centre (04 349 2933) and free on Fridays in Safa Park (050 735 9683).
Animal As the name suggests, this is all about working through animal-inspired poses – you may be familiar with some of them, such as downward dog. It’s often used in kids’ yoga classes. Try it:Gems of Yoga, Suite 1701, White Crown Building, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 331 5161).
Ashtanga Meaning ‘eight limbs’ in Sanskrit, this describes fast-paced, intense yoga. Expect to constantly move from one pose to the next while following a set routine. Try it:Gems of Yoga, Suite 1701, White Crown Building, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 331 5161).
Bikram Developed by Bikram Choudhury, bikram borrows techniques from hatha yoga styles, and is conducted in a room heated to approximately 40°C. Try it: Club Stretch, Al Mina Road, Bur Dubai (04 345 2131) or Rawr, Concord Tower, Dubai Media City (04 232 2808).
Body balance A Les Mils programme that combines yoga, tai chi and Pilates to help students become more flexible and build strength. Try it:The Aviation Club, Garhoud (04 230 8560).
Dynamic This hatha-style yoga includes breath work to empower and tough poses to challenge your existing strength and flexibility levels. Try it: Panchakarma Ayurveda & Yoga Centre, Oriental House 1, Bank Street, Bur Dubai (04 397 0790).
Flow One of the most popular styles of yoga, flow appears in both vinyasa and hatha disciplines. A flow class at its most basic will have students moving swiftly from pose to pose. Try it:Flow Yoga Dubai, Mirdif Garden Studio and Al Badia Golf Club (050 473 4726).
Hatha Many yoga styles (bikram, ivengar, ashtanga) are derived from hatha. The focus is on breathing and alignment. Try it: Zen Yoga, Jumeirah Town Centre (04 349 2933).
Iyengar Based on teaching by B K S Iyengar, this style is all about bodily alignment. The idea is to hold poses for long periods and use props such as blankets and straps to help perfect each pose. Try it:Yasmin Asady, various locations, email@example.com.
Restorative A slow style that aims to promote calmness and relaxation. The idea is that the longer you hold the poses, the more benefit you get. Try it:Flow Yoga Dubai, Mirdif, www.flowyogadubai.com (050 473 4726).
Swing yoga An unusual form of yoga that involves hanging from the ceiling using hammocks or swing suspension systems. Hanging upside down is said to relieve stress from the spine. Try it:Fitness First, Motor City and Beach Park Plaza (800 348 6377).
Power yoga Very similar to ashtanga, although it does not necessarily stick to the sequence laid down by the former. There’s often a focus on core-strengthening. Try it:Exhale, JBR and Motor City (04 424 3777).
Vinyasa Like hatha, vinyasa is used to describe a number of different types of yoga classes. Movements tend to be more vigorous, and based on sun salutations that are synchronised with breathing. Try it:Exhale, JBR and Motor City (04 424 3777).
Yantra One of the world’s oldest forms of yoga, originating from Tibet, yantra is the Buddhist equivalent of hatha yoga, using movement, breathing and visualisations. Try it: Gems of Yoga, Suite 1701, White Crown Building, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 331 5161).
Yin A particularly slow form of yoga, where poses are often held for up to five minutes. This makes it ideal for waterborne variations. Try it:Paddleboard yoga at Watercooled, Jebel Ali Golf Resort (04 887 6771). Yoga nidra This one refers to a ‘yogic sleep’ – the state people sometimes achieve during a meditation or in a state of deep relaxation. This will often be practised after restorative classes. Try it:Rhythm Yoga, Faraj Butti Building, Karama (04 334 0755).