Co-founder of Dubai’s New York style yoga studio – Urban Yoga, Yas Saade and her business partner Kim are taking yoga in the city to the next level. This 28-year-old Lebanese/ Canadian beauty is the epitome of an urban yogi with poise and elegance on the mat, business acumen and washboard abs, she makes us want to stop what we’re doing and start our sun salutations immediately!
Yoga, yoga…and then more yoga!
I was very active growing up; my high school years were spent playing basketball, in swimming leagues and in dance training every night of the week and when I later discovered yoga, I was able to combine what I loved about each of these sports into a practice that keeps me physically and emotionally healthy. Priorities definitely shift and change as I get older, but staying fit and eating well have always been a part of my lifestyle and part of who I am – it’s not something I even have to think about.
My practice is predominantly vinyasa flow, I practice yoga about five days a week. Being a dancer in my teens, I get the same feeling I loved so much about dancing by letting my body move with my breath through creative sequences. I draw inspiration from teachers like Shiva Rea and challenge my body and mind to grow with every pose. I also love the strength I’m building with the Ashtanga series and there’s really nothing better than a deep stretch or yin class to end the day and improve flexibility, so really, I do a bit of everything.
I also like to add in a wild-card workout to my routine, just to keep my body moving in new ways. This alternates between barre, spinning, cross fit, stand-up paddle boarding…or just about anything that looks fun. I love trying out new activities and there’s definitely no shortage of things to do in Dubai!
I love shopping at local boutiques and discovering new designers when I travel…
My style is minimalistic…but with an edge. I wear a lot of blacks, greys and muted tones but like my outfits to have a twist – whether it’s an interesting cut or piece of statement jewelry…there needs to be something with more of a back-story. I love pretty much all the brands we choose to stock at Urban Yoga (Be Love, Spiritual Gangster, Kira Grace, Teeki)… which makes shopping dangerously convenient!
Lots of small meals and healthy snacks stop me from binging on the wrong foods…
Drinking a lot of water is also so important and something that I have to make a conscious effort to do. I usually compensate with coconut water as it’s instantly hydrating after a sweaty workout. My approach to staying healthy is quite simple: Balance. I believe it’s important to have a healthy relationship with food and do everything in moderation. I never starve or deprive myself, but I also make conscious choices to substitute whole, organic foods for anything processed or packaged. I need to be able to understand what’s on the label before I put it into my body…or better yet, stick to foods that have no labels. Healthy food doesn’t have to be boring and my friends make fun of my eating habits, but I often crave a big, green salad! It’s a mindset and a lifestyle – which is why the latest diets and trends mean nothing to me.
Starting Urban Yoga was a function of stars aligning and a dream coming true, slightly unexpectedly…
When I met my business partner Kim, and we started talking about what our ideal studio would be like, it didn’t take us long to realize we had the same vision and had to make it happen. This formed the philosophy and loft-inspired feel of Urban Yoga. We’re both passionate about continued learning and anatomy-focused yoga, placing the emphasis on your body and how to move it safely. We wanted to offer something different to the yoga scene and we’re so grateful for being able to share our passion, bring world-renowned international workshops to Dubai and build a community of likeminded yogis. We made sure that we had a chill-out area in the studio for people to hang out, drink some tea and get to know each other. As for our future plans…well you’ll just have to stay tuned to find out!
Dubai is definitely catching up with other major cities, more and more people are realizing the benefits of doing yoga and it’s really exciting to see men and women of all ages committing to their practice. At this rate, I think we’re well on our way to becoming a serious yoga hub.
A yoga mat
A good nights sleep
Great friends…to keep your heart and soul healthy. And to get you out of bed and onto your yoga mat!
Photography by Juliet Dunne, www.retrospect-photography.com, shot at Urban Yoga Dubai