Yoga teacher, reiki practitioner and yApprael founder, Dina Ghandour, discusses
cultivating self-care, her daily rituals and how yoga changed her life.
As a business owner, self-care was something I had to learn the hard way. In my mind, more productivity meant more work, but more work only led to burnout. I also believe that there aren’t enough examples of what self-care means in society – especially if our cultures and traditions have negative perceptions around things like rest or sleep. I’ve learned that self-care isn’t just about spa treatments, but it can be woven into our daily lives by setting clear boundaries in our relationships, saying no to people or projects that don’t align with our wellbeing, and by getting in enough rest and sleep every day.
The best way to step into great self-care is to create a space in your home that you know you can access and return to, anytime you need it – whether it’s a tiny corner in your house with a comfy chair or an extra room to create the ultimate wellness space. Design these spaces using items that are meaningful to you or bring you joy, like photos of your family, pets, teacher or guide, as well as items such as flowers, candles, healing crystals and more. If the space already exists, it will make it easier to set the time aside to use it often.
My 5 Minute Daily Self-Care Rituals:
- I light a candle or two to set a peaceful atmosphere in my home, then make myself a cup tea that I can sip silently in the morning or evening on my own.
- I bring mindfulness into routine with everyday activities such as cooking, taking a shower, or brushing my teeth – allowing myself to be fully present throughout those actions, so my mind does not wander into thoughts of the past or future.
- I often take a minute or two to close my eyes – whether it’s before writing an email, meditating or starting my car – and breathe consciously and with awareness.
- I order fresh flowers once a week and arrange them in my living room as a reminder of the wonder and beauty of nature and this life we have.
On Yoga and Meditation
I came across yoga in my teens after hearing about it from a friend, but the practice only became a crucial part of my life later in my 20s as I was going through a challenging transition. Going to my yoga class every week provided a safe space to be with my thoughts, body and feelings. A regular practice not only supports a healthy and flexible physical body but also helps calm the mind, and the nervous system – and ultimately supports our immunity. In uncertain times like these, yoga and meditation help to offer grounding, and a chance to connect inward so that we can create a sense of calm inside, even if our surroundings are far from it.
On the Power of Energy
Teaching yoga has been such an extraordinary journey for me because it’s opened me up to an amazing scope of work around wellbeing. Working with bodies through yoga encouraged me to learn Thai yoga massage – a dry massage and bodywork technique that blends the principles of yoga and Ayurveda to help calm the nervous system, release muscle tension, and aid in deep relaxation.
In my massage sessions, I began to feel how energy shifts, is transferred and released. I noticed the little transformations but wanted to understand more about energy, particularly how to guide and use it in the most beneficial and effective way possible, and went on to study reiki. Becoming a reiki practitioner has attuned me to the abundance of the universal energy that exists around us and within us. I‘m so grateful that I can now trust what I have been sensing all these years and use my heart-led intentions to help guide this energy to those who need healing, balance, cleansing and space held for them.
Dina is a Jivamukti Yoga 300 Hour Certified Teacher and has been sharing her passion through teaching since June 2015. She stumbled across yoga at the age of 15 through a Gaiam home video bought on Amazon and has been hooked ever since. She also offers services including Thai yoga massage, meditation, and Reiki Energy Healing. Prior to teaching, Dina quit her day job in financial PR to launch the UAE’s first yoga and fitness apparel boutique, yApparel, in 2013. She was also awarded the Facebook x Emirates Woman of the Year Award in 2018. At heart, Dina dedicates her teaching and her practice to help spread joy and compassion to all – making yoga accessible through a safe and uplifting environment.