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Behind a dusty open air car park in the upmarket beach and shopping district of Jumeirah is a holistic life centre complete with a vegan café and sprawling lush garden. Life'n One is completely down to earth, discreet and certainly not easy to find. It doesn't market itself like many other health and fitness outlets in the city, and thinks of itself as a place of harmony, where the main aim is to balance the mind, body and spirit.
''The centre helps people make positive changes to their lives,'' says Managing Partner Eda Gungor. She and her team of experienced instructors offer classes or one-on-one sessions in yoga, Pilates, reiki, craniosacral treatments, holistic life coaching, kinesiology, and gong and chakra meditation. The One Café serves vegan, gluten-free, sugar free and dairy-free meals. Healthy food from bee pollen to zucchini spaghetti is on the menu, which can be washed down with organic fresh juices, smoothies and fair trade beverages. Seasonal and organic produce is used as much as possible, but this rule is not set in stone—the menu is flexible and spontaneous, something the centre promotes.
''People need to realize that they need to be more flexible rather than stronger — when you are more flexible in body, you can be more flexible in life,'' says Gungor.
Comfort and relaxation
In the garden, a comfy hammock swings in tandem with a parrot cage whose grey occupant is a favourite among guests. Tables and chairs are cut out of large tree stumps, but people can also feel comfortable on rattan stools around a long recycled wooden plank table that creates a feeling of being in a retreat in faraway Bali. A paved walkway flanked by shrubs leads to a space designed for yoga, Pilates and meditation.
''We continually add to our selection and recently introduced qigong energy sessions and capoeira, a Brazilian martial art that combines dance, acrobatics and music,'' says Gungor.
The 32-year-old entrepreneur from Turkey first came to Dubai to train as a barre instructor, planning to take it back with her to Istanbul. But after a series of discussions, Gungor and her Turkish business partner decided to set up here, opening the centre in November.
''I wanted to get a space in Business Bay as I believed people there would benefit most from our healthy lifestyle guidance, but the spaces available didn't fit any of my criteria,'' says Gungor. They searched for premises in Al Quoz but these proved too costly, so they began to consider adapting a villa.
''We couldn't believe the size of the garden here,'' Gungor says. ''So although the villa had water and electricity problems, it was in an ideal location close to downtown with a community feel about it.''
The entrepreneur initially planned a small health centre and café, but her ideas changed with time. ''I changed the format,'' she says. ''I started to become more spiritual myself, so added more spiritual programmes. I really believe that mind, body and spirit should be in balance. Food is also important, and correct coaching methods are vital.''
Life'n One also hosts functions, health dinners and workshops throughout the year. Once a month for ten days the founder of Inversion Therapy, Paul Terrell, visits the space. This therapy is aimed at releasing tension in the body by working on the spine. In July, vipassana instructor Jeff Oliver will be hosting meditation classes.
The centre also offers free sessions once a month in karma yoga, meditation and workshops on nutrition to raise awareness about the importance of food and its combinations.
As Gungor says, it's never too late to change. A small effort such as starting each day by drinking a liver-cleansing cup of hot water with ginger could help you on your way to a more balanced lifestyle. Or you can take it to the next level and visit Life'n One.
Life'n One is located on Jumeirah Beach Road behind Magrudy's
Source: Cheryl Robertson, Special to Property Weekly