It was during my few years in Dubai that I really started practicing yoga again and one of the most beautiful settings for this was the beach. Once a month on the night of full moon, Talise Spa held yoga classes on the beach and the few times that I managed to go, there were over fifty people gathered on the sand, mat after mat, almost touching the shore. This session was not about the yoga as much as it was about the setting… simply idyllic. Here’s a snippet of one slightly windy full moon yoga night on the beach.
“Hold the image of the moon and let the light fill you,” said Shiva, the instructor, as we relaxed into an asana and held it, eyes closed, and breathing deeply. Consumed only by the sound of the waves rushing towards the shore, I could not hear the sound of my own breathing as I would in a yoga studio, but closing my eyes brought that awareness.
A few hours before attending the Talise Spa full moon yoga, I had looked out of the window at the expanse of grey outside and noticed trees swaying left and right. It certainly didn’t look like it would go as quickly as it came, and I was expecting the yoga session to be cancelled, but surprisingly, by the time I reached the spa at 7pm, there was no wind – just perfect evening weather.
A buggy transported participants to Al Qasr beach, where a large elevated platform had been set up for at least a hundred people. The moon was in full view when the yoga session began half an hour later – the moon providing light from our right, and the Burj Al Arab from the left. Doing the moon salutation in full view of the moon proved therapeutic enough to spirit away with any thoughts of today and tomorrow. The sound of water and the rhythmic chanting of om was deeply relaxing.
Living in Dubai, it’s easy to forget that we have such myriad charms on our doorstep and this 90-minute session was a perfect reminder of this.
“Smile,” said Shiva as we drew to the end of the session. We were now facing the ocean, concentrating on the white tips of the waves as they approached us and swept back again. I did smile, and realised that when I did so, it was almost an expression of gratitude. Being here, being on the beach and doing yoga with around 50 other people, was powerful and calming.
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Mira Manek's desire for healthy cooking combines her love of traditional Indian cuisine with her mother and grandmother's recipes to create lighter, healthier dishes.