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The joy of yoga

November 13 - 19, 2019

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly The joy of yoga

Motivational Mariam Alansari will be hosting the kingdom’s first Happiness & Yoga Festival this month in a bid to raise funds Bahrain Society for Women Development (BSWD) as well as promote women’s health and wellness.

The 34-year-old certified yoga instructor, who specialise in Hatha principles (the practice of physical yoga postures) and was the first in the region to be certified in transformational Odaka Yoga in 2014, was inspired to organise this event by Angela Pashayan and her annual Festival held in the UAE since 2012.

 Angela is a certified yoga and meditation instructor and teacher of art integration for well-being who dedicates her skills to the empowerment of children and youngsters around the world.

The Festival brings together teachers, health experts and motivational speakers to promote awareness related to physical and mental health and also raise funds for different charities.

 “My love for charity work and promoting the health and well-being of others inspired me to host Bahrain’s first Happiness & Yoga Festival,” said the finance and accounting graduate from Kingdom University living in Hamad Town. “Bahrain’s residents have a keen interest in Yoga and its benefits, so bringing a festival of this size with international participants was a compelling and sure endeavour.

“Bahrain’s culture in particular is very supportive of women and their empowerment is encouraged by organisations such as Supreme Council for Women, Tamkeen and more. Such support will surely make the Bahrain chapter of this global festival one of its more successful events.”

The ladies only event will be held in Zallaq Springs on November 22 and 23 and according to Mariam it will be unlike any other festival of its kind.

“It is organised in a way that attendees can choose their own combination of classes to take throughout the festival,” She explained. “Festival sessions will include Hatha, Vinyasa, Prenatal, Bhakti, Traditional Sivananda, Inversions, Chakras, Mudras, Breathing, Meditation, Ashtanga, Nutrition workshops, Life Management workshops and Inner peace workshops.  The speaking topics will feature Yoga is a Mantra of Happiness, The Importance of Meditation for Women and The Art of Well-Being. All levels of experience are welcome.”

Yoga is a group of physical, mental and spiritual practices or disciplines originating in ancient India,

Yoga, which is a Sanskrit word for union, is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines that originated in ancient India using breathing techniques, exercise and meditation to help improve health and happiness.

Mariam started her yoga journey after trying out a class at the end of 2009. She ended up signing up for a two months package. She said: “I memorised the routine without understanding why I was doing what I’m doing. I saw positive changes in myself, physically and mentally, so I decided to study it.  While studying it, I realised I can teach it and as a person who practices the principle of giving, I decided to become a teacher to help change their lives just like how the practice of yoga changed mine.”

She completed her 500-hour teacher training course in 2013 with high honours after three years of studying in Aura Wellness Centre. She also founded Bahrain’s Yoga Discussions Forum in 2018 and teaches regular classes in and around Bahrain. Mariam often leads or participates in Yoga for charity sessions as well as participate in Yoga festivals around the region. She enjoys inspiring others to improve wellness and live their lives positively. She even represented the country in the second Happiness Yoga Festival in Dubai 2012.

“Yoga is a healthy lifestyle, workout, stress relief, treatment and complementary treatment. It is the only practice that helps cultivate positive values properly,” Mariam said.

“Yoga makes you more aware of your own body—more conscious of its strengths, weaknesses and needs. The more you understand yourself the more you know how to live right.”

And…it’s all for a great cause. Festival proceeds will be donated to BSWD with the aim of helping to train Bahraini women to develop valuable skills which can be applied towards an income generating business to support themselves and their families.

“I am quite certain that this event will be a notable success which will open opportunities for it to be a repeating event on an annual basis,” Mariam said. “After all, it is the practice of sharing that makes us unite. It is the practice of giving that brings us fulfilment. The feeling of fulfilment is what we should seek in order to enjoy long term happiness. Practice, feel and live. Join the fest to enjoy a life changing experience!”

To find out more about the Festival that is on from 8am to 6:30pm on both days and about tickets, visit www.happinessandyogafest.com or @happinessyogafestival on Instagram.

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