Jenny Hewett finds out about a new weekly meet-up for women which tackles wellbeing and personal development.
Having worked in the wellness industry for eight years, Dutch yoga teacher and holistic practitioner Kaya Peters knows a thing or two about what makes women tick. Yet, she says the majority of her female clients in Dubai share a concerning common theme when it comes to their needs.
‘I meet so many women who seem to struggle with the same issues; negative body image and lack of self-love. Also taking on too much responsibility, giving too much of themselves, emotional eating and feeling a lack of true romance and a real equal partner are issues,’ Peters says.
‘Community, family bonds and support of friends and loved ones are important contributors to our wellbeing,’ she adds. But Dubai’s work-hard-play-hard ethic and the pressure to succeed often leaves some women feeling isolated.
‘There was something lacking here in the Gulf,’ says Peters. With that in mind, the 29-year-old set out to create an environment for women to share experiences, discuss their spirituality, struggles and simply immerse themselves in a relatable atmosphere.
Meeting every Monday at Urban Tribe Events in Al Quoz, (until October 7 when the group will break before commencing again on Monday October 28) the aptly named Gulf Women’s Awakening Association is a donation-based initiative, where ladies of all nationalities, ages and professions can discuss ways to empower themselves as well as participate in holistic therapies, such as yoga or healing rituals.
Peters says that ‘women from all walks of life’ have been attending the meetings since the launch four weeks ago, including successful professionals, mums and even students. ‘We discuss a variety of topics and offer several workshops and activities in order to help us grow and heal. The group is for all women and can certainly be beneficial to all, not only those who struggle with certain things,’ says Peters. She says that it’s often easy to get lost in superficialities in Dubai, but sharing, relating to others and forming a sense of community can keep you grounded and see your goals with clarity.
‘Support is important everywhere in the world, but in a place like Dubai, where we are bombarded with images of a so-called perfect women and where we are constantly pushed to be better, it’s sometimes good to come to a place where we don’t have to be anyone else but ourselves,’ she says. The next session on Monday September 30 will involve a healing- drum journey, which uses sound and reverberation healing to de-stress, energise and help people connect and realign their energies. Peters says she will also introduce classical yoga into sessions taking place after Monday October 7, to teach women how to stay more aware of their bodies.
‘Regular yoga has the power to heal and transform and allows us to get more in tune with what we need from the inside out,’ says Peters. It also aids with depression, high blood pressure, anxiety, PMS, diabetes and obesity.
As well as providing women with more knowledge and strength, Peters says the meet-ups are a great way to meet contacts, make friends and find support outside of our normal social circles, where it’s often hard to find time to with hectic schedules. Though the meet-ups are free, donations are encouraged, though not mandatory.
Gulf Women’s Association meet-ups. 8pm-9.30pm every Monday until October 7 at Urban Tribe Events, Al Quoz, www.meetup.com/GulfWomensAssociation (056 212 5878).
Other self-development sessions around town
1 Illuminations Wellbeing Centre
Holds daily meditations and self-empowerment workshops and talks on relationships, family and spiritual development.
From Dhs30. Cluster T, JLT (04 448 7043).
2 Reiki Touch Dubai
Sessions and workshops on the Japanese energy therapy.
From Dhs350. Discovery Gardens (050 662 8783).
3 Cosmic Healing Center
Offers meditations, feng shui, reiki and pranic healing.
Feng shui from Dhs1,000. Montana Building, Karama (04 357 6676).