We caught up with the founder of Yogalates Bliss in Dubai, Noura El-Imam, an adventurous foodie constantly dreaming, visualising and planning! Noura is born in the UAE with a passion for the outdoors, lust for travels, a constant drive for hosting top caliber Yoga Teacher Trainings in Dubai led by international senior teachers from around the world and a big believer in fusing Yoga and Pilates at her Yogalates signature outdoor sessions to offer her clients a complete functional workout involving back care and exercise therapeutics.
Can you tell us a bit about Yogalates and how it came about?
With the constant ‘work hard’ scene in the UAE, being glued behind the desk and car only results in poor habitual postural patterns such as slouched shoulders, weak back and abs, stiffness in the hips and neck, and lack of mobility in the joints. After completing my teacher training in both Yoga and Pilates mat intensive, I decide to fuse the best of both with the aim in strengthening the deep core muscles while building endurance, strength and improving flexibility and overall tone. Both deliver supreme benefits and infuse a meditative aspect that is the core of a yoga class but not present in a pilates class, yet concentrates on strengthening the core as in a pilates class. While Yoga movements feel great for the body, the poses can be complex and challenging so we tune into Pilates for pelvic and spinal stability towards a healthier and safer practice. By fusing the best of both worlds, Yogalates supports the health of the human mind, body and spirit.
What is the yoga scene like in Dubai?
It is GROWING at a rapid pace! I lost count of the number of studios opening up in Dubai and it is extremely refreshing to see a powerful movement in the health scene. I am thrilled to be part of the pivotal movement and running Yogalates Bliss into its fifth year with my graduates (certified teachers) teaching across Dubai at the new studios. The yoga festivals are growing and so are the apparel lines. What once was believed as Yoga is just “meditation” and sitting and chanting “om” is finally being realised for its supreme therapeutic benefits that each and everyone of us can inject into our busy lives. There is also a growing number of yoga disciplines that clients are hungry for….from Vinyasa to Yin, Bikram to Hatha, Therapeutics to Aerial.
We want to know all about your retreat in Bali – tell us more!
This will be our first exclusive 8-Day Yogalates Bliss Retreat in North Bali on June 20th-27th! The retreat will be held at a private 3-villa compound called Jeda Villas – Jeda is an Indonesian word meaning Interlude or a break from reality, a heavenly getaway from the stressful life in the beautiful environment of Pemuteran located in North-West of Bali. We have specifically chosen this off-the-beaten track far flung from the chaos of the densely touristic areas in Bali and surrounded by Javanese volcanoes and ocean only 20-minutes walking distance away. Our mission is to have our retreaters feel empowered, fully recharged and to reconnect with nature in one of Bali’s most stunning locations, widely acclaimed for its powerful inbound spiritual energy that brings peace and harmony.
In the beautiful lush tropical garden of Jeda villa and semi-open studio, our daily Yoga sessions will energise in the morning and restore energy in the evening. We will offer delicious fuss-free yet wholesome breakfasts and dinners with an Ayurvedic twist. In their free time they can head out to the ocean for a snorkel, swim or scuba dive at Pemuteran bay and Menjangan Island, hike and trek the nearby national park, soak up traditional Balinese massages, day trek to Indonesia’s most famous crater and home to the greatest most breathtaking acidic blue-greenish lake on earth, called Ijen Plateau, surrounded by white fluffy clouds.
How did it come about?
My heart skips a beat every time I hear the word BALI. I absolutely love the friendly presence of the locals and the healing and grounding energy of Bali. Having visited twice and always walking away with a profound release of energy, I must have manifested this fabulous retreat opportunity when an email landed in my inbox inviting Yogalates Bliss to host a retreat at Jeda villas. I jumped at the opportunity and am extremely excited to transport my guests to the quieter area of Bali surrounded by rich, dense nature. I’m a big believer in writing down what your five senses have encountered on a daily basis at a retreat and cannot wait to have them do so. This retreat has been kept very simple with no rigid schedule or plans apart from the daily yoga so that all guests are able to completely recharge their batteries by the pool or the beach at their own pace. They can do as little or as much as they wish with enough optional activities to book on arrival – pretty much the healthiest ebb and flow!
Is it for all levels or do you need to have done some yoga?
Yes! My evening Yogalates Bliss instructor – Kim Danoher – will be leading the morning and sunset yoga practices which are open to all levels. There is a tendency to keep advancing in a practice but we’ve kept things simple yet invigorating for all.
What will the food be like? Included in the price is wholesome, simplistic, minimalist, fresh vegetarian breakfasts and dinners with an Ayurvedic twist. Seafood and chicken is available if a client requests protein on their plate. Complimentary coconut water, fruits and tea available all day to replenish energy.