International Day of Yoga 2016

Yoga event on helipad at Four Points Sheraton Dubai -   PHOTO CREDIT AJAY MITTAL (2)

A moment snapped from one of many deeply enriching mat practices I have enjoyed thus far in 2016, this one at a free event held on the helipad of Dubai’s Four Points Sheraton.

Ajay Mittal‘s picture is jaw-dropping, but still, you had to have been there…

If you follow me on social media you will already be familiar with my constant use of yoga-related hashtags – I am a yoga teacher in my down time, after all, and it did save my life, you can’t blame me.

For everyone else, if you still haven’t welcomed any of this ancient practice’s magic into your life, here is an article I wrote with the help of other yogis seasoned and new that I think sheds significant light on why yoga goes deeper than you ever imagined on and off the mat.

How are you celebrating Intl Day of Yoga today? I’m mad keen about Bikram Yoga again this week and will be heading to The Hot House this evening.

Happy Om, everyone!

wkd Jane Aldersley of Bad House Party

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This is Jane! I knew I loved this New Zealander the minute I met her; the first time because, well duh, she throws (and plays ‘wkd’ sets during) one of Dubai’s best, and practically self-funded, indie music nights (catering to all my musical needs from Toro Y Moi to NOFX, The Cure to The xx); and the second time because, when celebrating said night, Bad House Party, winning a TimeOut award for Best Alternative Night recently, she pulled me aside for Jaegerbombs and jokingly said “that’s probably the most un-indie thing ever, winning an award”.

“That was a total shock, although a very pleasant one at that,” she adds now.

Needless to say, 2016 has seen BHP off to an even more promising start. “Our main objective this year – apart from keeping the DJ nights running successfully – was to try to bring over three international bands to play live, which would be one up from the two we brought in 2015. So far we’ve got one solid in May and one tentative in October, so I guess we are on track to achieve that, provided we have the funds to pay for everything.

“Bringing bands over is an expensive hobby!”

An expensive hobby that the entire team – who have day jobs – are certainly good at, and which will only continue to reward them in 2016. I, at least, am forever grateful for this slice of ‘something else’ in the UAE and happy to party with them for two nights in May.

Yep, BHP hit up Casa Latina tonight with more uncaged (inflatable) animals moshing with Dubai’s discerned listeners to, erm, Cage The Elephant et cetera, et cetera… whereas next weekend they bring Brighton rockers Black Honey to town for another smashing bash.

If you go to any one of these parties, go say hi to Jane – she’s lovely – and tell her all the random facts you now know about her because of this haphazard Q&A.

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*The acts are coming in. What else is on the BHP agenda this year?

“To try to attract some kind of sponsorship. We’ve done everything so far without sponsorship, using only the funds generated by the regular DJ nights – not because we are against the idea of corporate sponsorship, but just because we’re all a bit clueless and non-mercenary, I guess! Winning the Time Out Award triggered some interest in that area, so it’s looking positive.”

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*What other essential parties/club nights do you frequent in Dubai besides your own?

“I have huge respect for the folks at The Other Side, who are trying to put on live band gigs on the regular. Having worked on a couple of band bookings for BHP, I know what a long, expensive and frustrating process it can be, just to get a decent band to stand on stage and play instruments in this town. TOS make it look easy, and they deserve all the support.

“Freshly Ground Sounds are also doing an amazing thing by giving a platform for local musicians to perform in front of an audience, and the standard is actually really good.

“I try to drop in on the other Dubai indie nights, Step On and Loaded, as often as possible. Both nights put a different spin on Indie compared to BHP, but that’s awesome in my opinion.

If, when I arrived here 8 1/2 years ago, someone had told me that one day there would be three or four different regular Indie nights in Dubai, I’d have laughed and told them to get back on their meds.

“Although bass and house music aren’t really my things, I do have a lot of love for three other nights in Dubai – Karak Beats, Dust, and Analog Room. They always have a great vibe and attract interesting, creative, friendly people, which means I can always have an awesome time chatting at the bar, even if I’m not dancing.

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RIP Prince and Dubai Tribute

Prince

I spent a lot of quality time audibly crying my eyes out at home on Thursday night and refused to go out this past weekend. I never knew a celebrity – even one of such legendary musical status – could do that to me (even Bowie, who died on my birthday, only got my corneas just a bit moist – even if I did spend more somber time obsessing over his legacy in the weeks that followed). As for Prince, I haven’t really been able to listen to much music yet since the news…

I will always regret not being at karaoke last Thursday to sing ‘Purple Rain’ like I always do when I go. What an epic missed opportunity.

Oh well, I’m finally taking a minute to properly acknowledge that his passing is all real, and hope to share more of that moment with you in Dubai this Tuesday night at Cocktail Kitchen, who are putting on a tributary DJ Set.

Follow this post or Cocktail Kitchen’s Facebook page for event updates.