Last Friday I was up at 6am getting ready for a yoga class. Who has the willpower to wake up so early on a weekend, right? I most probably wouldn't, but the class, called "Mind, Body and Sea", was being held on a cruise - and that sounded intriguing. I am not a morning person or a health freak, so you can imagine my hesitation. But the chance to experience something new got my attention. So after yawning incessantly and making up a hundred excuses to cancel at the last minute, I finally got into gear, tied my shoelaces (that was the final hurdle) and with my yoga mat in tow, made my way down to the Dubai Marina Yacht Club.
Once on board the Xclusive Yachts cruise, the instructors from Fit Squad DXB gave us an itinerary and divided us into two separate groups. I was surprised to see that more than 50 people actually woke up so early on a Friday morning and were powered up for the session. That was all the motivation I needed!
Making our way to the sea meant we would be leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind for two hours. First up was the Positive Psychology workshop that included meditation, which was held on the lower deck. The holistic coach took us through a simple guided meditation that would help in achieving a positive mindset, playing calming music as well to set the mood.
For the next 30 minutes, I sat upright, had my chakras aligned, and took deep breaths. The soft vibrations of the cruise yacht moving along the water had a relaxing effect and I was more aware of my body. The instructor had us think of affirmations such as "I am willing to let go, I release all tension, I release all fear, I release all anger, and I am at peace with myself," and I could feel a soothing sensation on my back.
Next, we moved to the upper deck of the yacht where the sun was shining bright and got ready for the AnimalFlex workout class, which combines flexibility moves from yoga and also animal movement training methods.
It started with stretching exercises, squats and neck exercises. I could feel the cool breeze of the sea and was soaking in the stunning scenery all around me. Bent double, with both hands flat on the deck, I squeezed my eyes shut and focused on lowering my heels into a downward facing dog pose. There were moments when it was difficult to do certain movements but the instructor murmured encouragement. In between I opened my eyes and from between my knees, got a glimpse of one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen out at sea - the Burj Al Arab gleaming in the bright morning sun, with water lapping all around the iconic structure.
In the past, I have done a bit of yoga in sweaty gym studios but the deck of a yacht cruising gently across Dubai's coastline was certainly among the more memorable experiences. There were people of all ages deeply inhaling the refreshing sea air, all having a great time doing yoga against the stunning backdrop of the clear blue skies.
This was followed by a light breakfast that included fresh fruits, as well as other healthy treats. While updating my Snapchat with the breathtaking scenery, I picked up a sugar-free chocolate muffin and devoured it. Deserved a treat after that, didn't I?