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24-08-21 Profiles

Sport

Yoga without borders: an encounter between a French and Saudi yoga teacher

“Yoga is a giant community” and it crosses borders. While nothing predicted a meeting between Caroline Perrineau and Alaa Abanomi, their common passion was the very thing that reunited them. The first one being a yoga teacher in Paris and the second one in Riyad, they exchanged their vision of the discipline, its evolution in their countries, and the impact of yoga on feminine energies and women liberation, during a virtual talk.

On social media, they are @TheYoginist and @TheSaudiAlchemist and are amongst their country’s most influential yoga teachers on the Internet. Invited by the French-Saudi friendship association Generation 2030, they were reunited for the first time – virtually at least, due to the pandemic.

Two visions of yoga but a common acknowledgment 

Traditionally originated in Asia, yoga as a global wellness practice has spread to the rest of the world ever since. France and Saudi Arabia even have their own yoga teachers, like Caroline and Alaa. Each sharing their own unique approach, they are both eagerly searching for spirituality, through sound and especially the vibrations that radiate from it towards our energetic fields.

In her studio in Riyad, Alaa developed a theory based on sound in order to make it more accessible to people: “I love the sound because it’s universal. […] Everyone in the room can be affected, even if they think they’re not enjoying it, something is happening”. Caroline also incorporated this aspect into her personal practice and teachings: “I strongly believe that voices and sounds and vibrations are essential parts of our lives and can say so much about our energy”.

Their visions being aligned, they both advocate for the inclusiveness of yoga by offering yoga classes that anyone can attend. Convinced that a yoga practice is something very personal and adjustable to one’s needs, they insist on listening to their students’ needs. With what aim? To share tools that are essential for each one of them to incorporate and feel better in their bodies and minds.

Feminine energies at the center of their practice

Most and for all, yoga is about answering one’s needs and desires by means of a personalized practice. Building inner peace and harmony can only be achieved with a connexion of mind, body, and spirit, in other words by listening to yourself. Caroline and Alaa both experienced this at one point in their journey.

Adapting your yoga practice to certain life events is sometimes necessary, for instance during the multiple lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but also with upcoming and happy events such as being pregnant. When we met, Caroline was pregnant and she talked about the changes she brought to her practice because of the new feminine and maternity energies she experienced these last months.

In France as well as in Saudi Arabia, yoga is culturally associated with being a female discipline, calmness, and flexibility being women’s attributes in the collective consciousness. However, Alaa says she is glad she saw her clientele evolve over the years: willing to make her yoga therapy more accessible to as many as she can, she adapted her teachings and methods based on her students. From now on, her studio is also filled with men, couples, and sometimes entire families!

No doubt those two women will continue to spread wellness by means of yoga. This could be the opportunity for a real meeting where one of them could teach the other, and vice-versa.

You can watch the full video of the conversation on the Instagram account: @generation2030frsa.

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