Make 2014 count with our pick of fresh activities to try
Time Out Doha staff
January 02, 2014 12:58 PM
Taking up a new hobby isn’t just about passing time or staving off boredom. In fact, various studies have shown that it can lessen stress and depression levels, plus learning a new skill later in life can boost your memory. New research published in Psychological Science by a team from Texas University in Dallas found that picking up a new hobby in older age, such as photography or playing piano, is far more effective at increasing brainpower than proven methods of doing crosswords or listening to classical music.
We might not all need a memory boost but hobbies can be beneficial for everyone in many other ways, too, depending on what you choose. For example, more physical pastimes will help you get fit, healthy, lose weight and feel happier. Learning a language or picking up a new skill can broaden your mind and enhance life satisfaction. And if you get really good at whatever it is you do, you could discover a part of yourself you never knew about, and even make a side business out of it. At the very least, you’ll be a more interesting person for it and have more to talk about at dinner parties. So, what are you waiting for? Why not take your pick of one of these 13 lesser known options in Doha…
Make like a ballet dancer Most people think training your inner twinkle toes is solely reserved for the little ones but places like Al Gheed’s Ballet Centre in Lagoona Mall are proving that just isn’t the case. Dalida Hafez teaches adult ballet classes on Sundays and Tuesdays from 7pm for QR100 per class and aims to encourage grown-ups to realise their childhood dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. ‘[Some people] just didn’t have the opportunities, so I think that it is wonderful that places like Al Gheed’s are now providing these opportunities for adults in Doha,’ she told us. Al Gheed’s Ballet Centre, Lagoona Mall, www.algheed-qatar.com/en (6610 5857).
Get fit without water wings Swimming is one of the best low impact activities you can do to get fit and avoid injury. It can be a bit boring though so this is where the Diplomatic Club has stepped in. Recently introduced to their fitness facilities, is an aqua dance fitness class that’s a fusion of water-based fitness movements and dance-based choreography with world music rhythms. Certified instructors lead you in your water adventure on Sundays and Tuesdays from 10am-10.45am QR30 (members) or QR50 (non-members) per class. The Diplomatic Club, West Bay Lagoon, www.thediplomaticclub.com (4484 7456).
Do it CrossFit style Fast becoming a new craze in Doha is CrossFit; a core strength and conditioning programme that’s meant to test you to your physical limits. Under the banner of a fitness company founded by American Greg Glassman in 2000, CrossFit combines a mixture of intense exercise techniques to achieve the best physical results. ‘This is high intensity, functional, group, strength and conditioning training and is proving extremely popular [in Doha],’ says Tim Nunan, one of the organisers of CrossFit Quwwa aka StrongBox, a Doha-based gym next to Doha College that offers teachings based on the original model and by certified CrossFit intructors. Another gym, known as CrossFit Oryx, is also being set up this month and is an official affiliate of Glassman’s company. Pete Collins, a personal trainer behind the opening, says on his website that ‘because of my passion towards CrossFit and the ever-increasing audience, it was time to sit down and plan what is now CrossFit Oryx.’ So folks, are you up for the challenge? Find out more about pricing and schedules at www.strongboxqatar.com or www.crossfitoryx.com
Feel zen in technicolour Scientifically speaking, meditation is good for you in many ways. From learning to de-stress and boosting your brainpower to finding your true self and helping you become a better person, the benefits of just clearing your mind are pretty powerful. Luckily for Doha, colour meditation instructor Walaa Al Muhaiteeb at Six Senses Spa, has set up a new class that looks to not only teach you the basic principles of the practice but also allow you to explore the benefits. She uses all the colours of the seven chakras in her class and finds people here are becoming more open to this unusual method. ‘When I change the colour at the end of the class people feel different,’ she tells us. ‘Even if your eyes are closed you feel it, the change of atmosphere and energy.’ Her classes run on Mondays and Tuesdays from 7pm-8pm for QR60 (non-members) or QR30 (spa members) so head over to slow down, clear your mind, feel the colours and ‘omm’. Six Senses Spa, Sharq Village & Spa, Khulaifat (4425 6999).
Delve into Korean culture So many of us love to travel and dive right into new cultures but don’t always have the time or money to head out in to the open skies. So when a new centre comes along that offers everything from cooking lessons to language classes and much more, it often proves to be a hit. Well it certainly has for Sarang Plus, a Korean cultural centre owned and managed by Jaehoon Hong, whose instructors will not only teach you the language and how to make kimchi but also K-Pop dances, traditional Korean instruments and taekwondo. Fees and dates for the classes vary each month so it’s best to get in touch once you’re ready to find out more. Sarang Plus, West Bay, firstname.lastname@example.org (3385 9974).
Learn the art of cake Fancy becoming a domestic god or goddess that will give even Martha Stewart a run for her money? Enter Jojo Bernadine Rego and her cake decorating classes. A lady with a passion for baking and talent for cake art, Jojo used to teach at Tavola before heading out on her own and setting up her own baking, confectionary and cake decorating studio. At Caramel Doha she offers basic courses on techniques such as baking, decorating skills, piping skills and basic fondant, as well as more advanced courses, and there is also a highly trained pastry chef running evening classes and one-day workshops on macarons, stain glass, cake pops, edible lace and more. ‘As long as you can follow instructions there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to bake,’ Jojo says. Caramel Doha, New Salata Area, www.carameldoha.com (4491 5252).
Start getting crafty ‘Crafty individuals’ Louise and Mel set up Our Inspiration Station, an arts and crafts school based at CESK pre-school, last September to offer classes and sessions in everything such as bunting, crochet, quilt making, sewing, paper craft and so much more. With the aim of inspiring the creative people of Doha through learning, sharing and socialising in an open and fun environment, the ladies created four fully equipped spaces: separate rooms for sewing and paper crafting, a ‘wet room for messy work’ and ‘The Cozy Room’ for relaxation, reccies and cuppas. CESK Pre-School, behind Al Waab petrol station, www.ourinspirationstation.wordpress.com, email email@example.com
Compete in a triathlon This is certainly no easy feat but always worth a shot for the sense of achievement and physical wellbeing the training brings. Plus, one group of people are now making it easier for you to get involved in such competitions as they’ve founded the first triathlon club. The idea for TriClub Doha was thought up by Nickel Nijman who then got together with other triathletes in the country who were already busy hosting running and cycling circles. Their aim is to build up a profile of the sport in Qatar, allowing residents to get a taste for triathlons and have the motivation to start taking part in bigger races around the region and the world. ‘Although there were the odd triathlons happening in Qatar, none of the events were up to the standard of a proper triathlon,’ says co-founder Ewan Cameron, ‘for example no timing offers, no proper transition area with bike racks. They were more of a show up with your bike and have a small race.
‘They are fun of course but only happening once or twice a year with very little notice.’ While TriClub Doha is not currently a professional body – just a few volunteers and a website – the club’s future goal is to organise the country’s first professional triathlon. In the meantime, they’re hosting kid and adult races at Aspire Zone with their third to take place on January 25. For more details and information visit www.triclubdoha.com.
Become a Pilates instructor The practise of Pilates has, since it was founded by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, proven to be good for posture, flexibility, core strength and overall wellbeing. So there’s no wonder that it’s wildly popular all over the world and right here in Doha. So popular, in fact, that Yama Yoga Studio is offering the Body Control Pilates Matwork Teacher Training programme, which was developed under the management of Body Control Pilates founder Lynne Robinson, starting this month until April 2014 and running over 12 days. It offers aspiring Pilates matwork teachers the opportunity to learn from qualified instructors and, at the end of it, get a genuine qualification.
Instructor Theresa Lombard tells us, ‘I have watched the 2012 trainees develop into amazing teachers… Lynne Robinson visited Doha on several occasions to train and assess the trainees and it shows in their immaculate deliverance of exercises and method of teaching.’ To download the enrolment file or learn more visit www.yamayogastudios.com.
Roll out your dragon boat More than 2,000 years ago, legend says, a group of superstitious Chinese villagers raced their boats on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month to encourage rains for prosperity. They worshipped the dragon, which in Asia has traditionally been a symbol of water, a ruler of the rivers and seas that dominates clouds and rains. And so dragon boat racing was born – a sport that now involves teams of up to 20 paddlers in a 40-foot boat, racing to the finish line to beat the others. Many, many years later in October 2014 and the first ever dragon boat racing club in Qatar, Doha Dragons, was founded by Jeff Ching, an avid fan of the sport. These days there are two teams and a growing community of dragon boat race fans in the city hopping on their vessels to train on Tuesdays (6.30pm) and Fridays (3pm) from the Grand Hyatt beach. The first couple of sessions are free for newbies so why not have a go and hop on board? For more details visit www.dohadragons.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Properly detox The spas, health and wellbeing experts of Doha will make it easy from this month because they’re well aware that most of us over-indulged a little recently. Expect a slew of special offers on detox treatments many of which you can find listed on page 42. Alternatively, you could really take the plunge and sign up to the RAW ME juice detox package. Qatar’s first and only 100 percent raw vegan company, launched by Qatari-American entrepreneur Layla Dorani, offers cleanses for newbies and repeat offenders for QR250 a day. This includes six juices per day that aim to blast the body into healthy shape and leave you feeling light and great. For more information and to order online visit www.raw-me.com.
Transform your look Whether you feel you need to lose weight (get in line!), need a little hair revamp or want to spice up your makeup, we know a few beauty therapists that are more than willing to help you achieve your goals. The ladies at Glow American Salon (Salwa Road, 4468 9945) enjoy doing a fabulous hair and makeup makeover and there are plenty of other services and treatments available there as well to make it a big affair. Otherwise, B/Attitude Spa (Beverly Hills Tower, 4412 6410) have introduced a range of Silhouette Makeover packages that include everything from LPG treatments to facials to nutritional advice and diet planning over a period of one day, two weeks or even a month.
Try your hand at magic If you’ve ever been to Doha Marriott’s Late Brunch then you may have come across Cris the magician (he’s also the e-commerce guy for the hotel!). Cristobal Galit Jr (his full name) learned his trade from the same trainer of David Blane so don’t expect uninspiring magic from this guy. He literally blows your mind. The best bit is that he’s actually a certified teacher of magic, too, so you can learn to equally blow people’s minds. The first two to three lessons focus on basic card tricks along with some history, psychology and presentation. If you’re then interested in continuing your magical education and progressing through intermediate to advanced, Cris would start with mentalism and advanced card manipulation. Classes are QR150 per hour. Contact Cris on 3002 5464.