Dubai’s yoga community is growing by the day, and residents have never been more spoilt for choice in terms of where to practice.
Here are some of the best spots in Dubai to roll out your mat, whether you’re a newbie that can barely touch your toes or a seasoned yogi.
Oh, and we’ve thrown some great Pilates options in there too (just because!).
Zoga Yoga Café
Where: Downtown Dubai
Classes: Schedule includes Ashtanga, Vinyasa, hot yoga and candlelit yoga
Located on a sunny corner in the heart of Downtown Dubai, this yoga studio is a bright addition to the neighbourhood. It’s more than just a place to practise – Zoga is all about embracing the yogi lifestyle, which is why you can buy mats, props, yoga apparel and more. There’s also the café serving up coffee, juices and smoothies, and a host of raw, vegan treats (try the protein balls for a post-workout refuel).
We recommend: Sunrise Yoga – a mixed level class that sets you up for a calm and centred workday.
Ground Floor, Southridge Tower 6, just off Al Asayel Street, Downtown Dubai, Dubai, Sun to Thur 7am to 10pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 10pm, Dhs85 (packages available). Tel: (04) 2767657. Taxi: Downtown Dubai. zoga.ae
136.1 Yoga Studio
Where: Dubai Marina
Classes: Schedule includes Iyengar, Ashtanga, Hatha Yoga and a range of visiting teachers and workshops
Exposed brick walls, large glass-paned studios, high ceilings and beautiful lighting immediately set the tone for a space so tranquil you wouldn’t guess it’s located above the busy streets of Dubai Marina. Its rooms are modern but there’s a focus on traditional yoga practices – a rare yet welcomed synergy that reflects in its class offerings. 136.1 opened its double doors in late 2015 and classes are already packed. The studio name derives from the Hertz frequency of Om – the age-old universal yoga sound you’ll hear chanted in classes around the world.
We recommend: Power Yoga with Sonia – a challenging class that works up a serious sweat. There’s little time to rest and moves flow from one series to another at speed. But the final resting pose has never felt so good.
Tident Bayside, Dubai Marina, Dubai, Sun to Sat 6.30am to 9.30pm, Dhs85 (packages available). Tel: (04) 4416287. Metro: Damac. 136point1.ae
Classes: Hatha, Swing, Kundalini, Bikram and Bikram Express, along with regular workshops from visiting teachers.
Tucked away in iRise Tower, Voyoga might not be the easiest studio to find, but it’s one of Tecom’s best-kept secrets. It’s a great little studio with two rooms – one regular and one heated for hot yoga and Bikram Yoga. By day, the studios are flooded with natural light, and by night you get a cool aerial view of the city all lit up. There’s a social area and a noticeboard showing upcoming events; Voyoga regularly hosts workshops and international yogis (turn over the page for our interview with Jessamyn Stanley, who’ll be teaching at Voyoga this month).
We recommend: The Swing Yoga classes – yoga in a hammock suspended from the ceiling – are a lot of fun, and a good way to improve strength and flexibility without putting too much pressure on your joints.
iRise Tower (opposite Saudi German Hospital), Tecom, Dubai, daily 8.30am to 9pm. Tel: (04) 5538630. 10 day introductions Dhs150. Metro: Internet City. voyoga.net
Where: Business Bay
Classes: A focus on 90-minute Bikram classes, with the odd Hatha and Pilates thrown in for good measure.
This unfussy studio in an office building is most popular for its Bikram classes. Natural light pours into the large carpeted room while those of all abilities and body shapes contort themselves into the twists of Bikram. The vibe is less Instagram yogis, more old school, judgment-free practice. There aren’t many early morning classes, but there are great evening times and twice-daily Bikram sessions on weekends too.
We recommend: Neha’s classes – she controls the room very well with a useful running commentary. She’s just firm enough when you try and bow out of a pose, but also very encouraging when you see progress.
Unit 905, Grosvenor Business Tower, Al Abraj Street, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 8.30am to 8pm. Dhs80 (packages available). Tel: (04) 4255960. Metro: Business Bay. bayyoga.ae
Where: Business Bay
Classes: A smorgasbord, including Reformer Pilates, ‘total body burn’ Pilates, 80s yoga (which is a real workout), pre-natal sessions and even MMA yoga (isn’t that an oxymoron?).
A very friendly studio in Bay Square that’s the first place in the Middle East to offer Ron Fletcher-style Pilates. Fletcher was a close personal friend of Joseph Pilates, as well as a famous dancer, and so the style is very fluid and quite artful. All of the teachers we’ve come across here have been great, and the ranges of classes are some of the best in town. That said, the changing area is a tad small if you’re planning on getting ready to go out or go to work post-class.
We recommend: The Saturday lunchtime Reformer prep class teaches you how to use the Pilates machine. A great start. There’s also a more advanced reformer class that will melt your quads (Kristin is a particularly great teacher).
Building 6, podium level, Bay Square, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 6am to 9pm, group mat classes Dhs80, reformer Dhs120 (packages available). Tel: (04) 4564499. Metro: Business Bay. pilogastudio.com
Classes: OK, so Pilates Academy doesn’t offer yoga, but it’s a beautiful studio and well worth a visit.
This Pilates studio offers mat Pilates, reformer Pilates and even Cardiolates, which combines the classic core workout with rebounding. In fact, it’s the only place in Dubai where you can learn from Cardiolates master trainer Cloè Sommadossi. The relatively new Pilates Academy might be one of the best looking venues in Dubai – think plenty of natural light, wooden floors and flawless facilities. One of the biggest selling points, though, was the class sizes, which are kept small so you can ensure that you’re getting the full benefit of the instructor’s attention to your alignment.
We recommend: The Cardiolates class is a great multitasking session that gets your heart pumping by incorporating rebounding (hopping on those tiny trampolines) in a core-strength workout.
Jumeirah Bay X2 Tower, Cluster X, JLT, Sun to Fri 9am to 9pm. Tel: (056) 7984655. Trial classes from Dhs50, and then one-off classes from Dhs100. Metro: Damac. pilatesacademydubai.com
The Yoga Room
Best for: Ashtanga
If you’ve ever wanted to learn the ancient practice of Ashtanga yoga, The Yoga Room is one of the best places to go in Dubai. There are classes to suit all levels of skill, whether you’ve never stepped foot in a studio before or are a more advanced yogi.
Cluster Y, Swiss Towers, Jumeirah Lakes Tower, Dubai. Timings vary. Tel: (050) 5189966. Dhs175 for a one week intro pass, Dhs85 for one class, Dhs900 for one month unlimited. Metro: Dubai Marina. yogaroom.ae
Where: Dubai Media City
Best for: A wide array of classes
Zen Yoga is one of the longest established studios in Dubai and has some of the most experienced teachers in the business. There’s a wide variety of classes to choose from – try the awesome sweaty Vinyasa flow classes – and it’s a lovely studio that regularly hosts expert-led workshops to help you deepen your practice.
BBC Building, Dubai Media City, Dubai. Timings vary. Tel: (04) 3670435. Dhs90 for a one-off class. Metro: Dubai Internet City. yoga.ae.
The Surf House
Best for: Yoga for surfers
As you might expect from its location, the yoga classes at hip hangout the Surf House are geared towards helping students build the strength and flexibility to complement their surfing, paddle boarding and other water sports. They offer regular Ashtanga yoga classes here too.
41A Street, Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2, Dubai, daily 7am to 6.30pm. Tel: (04) 3211309. Dhs60 to Dhs120 per class depending on the type of yoga. Taxi: Surf House Dubai. surfingdubai.com
Where: Business Bay
Best for: Sunrise and evening classes
There’s a lot to love about Urban Yoga, from its cool New York-loft style studio to its regular workshops in everything from massage to handstands. But one thing that makes it stand out is its regular sunrise yoga classes and candlelit evening classes – the perfect way to start or end your day. Be sure to book ahead for the mornings.
Urban Yoga, Floor 37, Zone A, Aspect Tower (part of Executive Towers), Business Bay, Dubai. Timings vary. Tel: (04) 3697882. Dhs80 per class. Metro: Business Bay. urbanyoga.ae
Inspire Yoga and Pilates
Where: Sheikh Zayed Road
Best for: Hot yoga
If you love the idea of a hot yoga practice, but don’t fancy the 90-minute Bikram yoga classes, the hour-long hot yoga express sessions at Inspire are a good compromise. Each energising class is different (unlike with Bikram yoga), and there are warm Hatha and Yin yoga classes to try out too.
Indigo Central 8; Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Timings vary. Tel: (052) 7776108. From Dhs300 for a 1 month intro pass. Taxi: Indigo Central (next to Jones the Grocer). inspiremeyoga.net
Where: Dubai Media City
Best for: Bikram Yoga
This bright and cheerful yoga studio promises to make you “work hard, sweat buckets”. Specialising in Bikram yoga, a series of two breathing exercises and 26 postures, in a 40°C room, these challenging 90-minute classes will leave you feeling energised.
Concorde Tower, Dubai Media City, Dubai. Timings vary. Tel: (04) 4232808. Metro: Nakeel. Dhs85 drop in, Dhs150 for a 10 day trial. Metro: Dubai Internet City. rawryoga.ae
Yogalates Bliss in Dubai
Where: Sheikh Zayed Road
Best for: Yogalates
This unique practice combines the best of yoga and Pilates to create a calming, core-strengthening workout. For anyone who spends 99% of their day behind a desk or behind the wheel (so, that’s almost all of us), it’s the perfect way to combat lower back pain, stiffness and stress.
Fraser Suites Dubai, Sidra Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, Mon and Wed 7.15pm to 8.15pm. Taxi: Fraser Suites Hotel. yogalatesblissindubai.com