Bodytree’s Little Yogis in Abu Dhabi


By: Hyacinth Mascarenhas

There’s usually nothing very zen about a room full of 2- to 8-year-olds.

But when the yoga instructor begins the class with a story, the pint-sized yogis focus their attention and are ready to strike a pose.

From newborns to toddlers, kids are now learning the terms sun salutation, downward dog and happy baby in the up-and-coming Bodytree studio in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Established in 2007, Bodytree studio aims to offer clients a “Bodytree Journey” or a holistic approach to beginning and maintaining a healthy lifestyle by taking care of the mind, body and soul.

Their kids yoga service has been offered since the studio first opened its doors.

“Yoga begun in childhood can boost children’s self-esteem and body awareness since it is practiced in a non-competitive environment,” says Bodytree co-founder Nadia Sehweil. “Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, body awareness, concentration and sense of calmness. It also teaches them breathing techniques which are transferable in stressful situations.”

This growing trend has been seen in the west and is slowly becoming available in the Middle East as well, especially in the UAE.

As more practitioners and parents are becoming aware of the benefits of yoga for children and adults alike, this promising trend is particularly important in the UAE.

In scorching hot and humid temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius, ‘natural’ exercise such as walking may not be a favorite pastime for many UAE residents, especially children.

According to a recent study in the UAE, “three-quarters of young Emiratis suffer with body issues, and one in five of those need clinical intervention.”

Another study states that one in three children is overweight or obese and at risk of early diabetes and hypertension in UAE.

To combat these disturbing statistics, Bodytree studio aims to educate and promote the necessity and benefits of healthy eating and living by providing unique services for women, men and children at different stages in their lives.

“One of our goals is to have clients adopt safe and sustainable exercise as a part of their daily lives,” said Sehweil. “We also aim to educate the community on what healthy eating really is and how to modify diets to enhance energy levels and overall health. Healthy eating is the foundation for sustainable health and disease prevention.”

While the studio does offer a variety of classes and workshops that range from Acro yoga and Sufi meditation to nutrition and cleanse workshops, most of their services are specifically catered to women.

“There is a specific focus on woman in the studio because they are the majority of our clientele, and find that they tend to be the decision makers when it comes to healthy eating at home,” said Sehweil. “We have had many wives bring their husbands to these workshops to educate them in order to implement healthier eating practices at home.”

From prenatal yoga and reflexology to postnatal mommy-baby bonding yoga and baby massage, the studio also offers a variety of unique and interesting services to educate women on prenatal and postnatal health, care and fitness.

“Unfortunately, the educational services in the Pre and Post natal domain aren’t as well established through the healthcare systems in Abu Dhabi as they would be in the U.K, U.S or Australia,” said Sehweil. “If women adopt a healthy lifestyle before, during and after pregnancy they increase their children’s chances of growing up to be healthy adults.”

With the introduction of a new Blooming buds nursery that also offers yoga for kids in addition to offering after-school yoga in GEMS schools in Abu Dhabi, Bodytree studio is dedicated to continue its educational and healthy living services for children, women and families.

“Clients have had a very positive response to our services and to the studio as a whole,” said Sehweil. “They appreciate the variety of holistic services and sessions and feel that Bodytree is an escape from their hectic lives.”



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