AlUla Wellness Festival welcomes world’s yogis, wellness fanatics

AlUla Wellness Festival welcomes  world’s yogis, wellness fanatics
The sanctuary is filled with classes for attendees to try regardless of their level in yoga. It also offers massages from therapists specializing in different practices worldwide. (Supplied)
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Updated 27 March 2022

AlUla Wellness Festival welcomes world’s yogis, wellness fanatics

AlUla Wellness Festival welcomes  world’s yogis, wellness fanatics
  • Meditation, motivational talks, music, food, and trail running in ‘stunning setting’

ALULA, Saudi Arabia: Yoga, motivational discussions, farm-to-table dishes, and a community of wellness adherents are all on offer at the untouched historic oasis of AlUla, which the area’s royal commission has organized from March 17 to 27.

“We have visitors literally from around the globe. We have people from South Africa, from the United States, Europe, as well as Asia. So we have most of the world covered in terms of the practitioners and the participants who are providing their services,” Philip Jones, Royal Commission AlUla’s chief destination marketing officer, told Arab News.

The 10-day Five Senses Sanctuary is one of the headline events of the festival. The sanctuary is located in AlUla’s summer farms and provides visitors with a secluded atmosphere for relaxation and renewal.

It offers a full range of holistic classes, including guided yoga, meditation workshops, discussions, and mindful practices.

“Over 300 different activities will take place over the course of 10 days with 40 different instructors, including the top male and female yogi(s) in the world,” Jones explained.

Some of the well-known names in the world of wellness, meditation, and yoga who took part in the event so far include Manish Pole, Chelsea Kauai, Dylan Werner, and Manal Rostom.

The group discussions kicked off with guest speaker Rostom, an Egyptian athlete who uses her platform and voice to initiate change for women in Muslim communities.

The talk was then followed by a series of yoga and meditation classes hosted by Pole, Kino MacGregor, and Nicholas Coolridge.

The sanctuary is filled with classes for attendees to try regardless of their level in yoga. It also offers massages from therapists specializing in different practices worldwide. Each evening comes to a close with live music by artists Dan Moores and Bruno Fave.

The untouched natural landscapes and peaceful oasis of AlUla provides the perfect setting for a relaxing escape.

Jones said that AlUla was a “stunning setting” that made it ideal for the events on offer. “You get the mountains and the oasis,” Jones said.

“It’s the largest wellness event and spa in the Gulf region and something that we hope will become an annual event for AlUla in the future,” Jones explained.

Although the Five Senses Sanctuary is only temporary, AlUla considers this a test run and hopes to make it a permanent feature in this area with its rich history.

“There’s such an interest in wellness today. It’s one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry growing at about 12 percent per year.”

“We are using activations like this as a test case to see how it would fit in permanently. As an activation for (the) AlUla destination year-round,” he said.

The festival also features the Eco-Trail that runs through some of the city’s major landmarks, including Maraya, Elephant Rock, and Hegra.

“The trail goes all around AlUla, it’s a great way to discover the city. The race starts from Saharay AlUla Resort then moves to Elephant Rock and goes through different areas to finish in Hegra,” Jean-Charles Perrin, founder of Eco-Trail, told Arab News.

HIGHLIGHTS

The 10-day Five Senses Sanctuary is one of the headline events of the festival. The sanctuary is located in AlUla’s summer farms and provides visitors with a secluded atmosphere for relaxation and renewal. It offers a full range of holistic classes, including guided yoga, meditation workshops, discussions, and mindful practices.

More than 300 different activities will take place over the course of 10 days with 40 different instructors, including the top male and female yogi(s) in the world.

The festival also features the Eco-Trail that runs through some of the city’s major landmarks, including Maraya, Elephant Rock, and Hegra.

AlUla is currently the only location in the Middle East with an Eco-Trail event. It began in Paris and allows participants to enjoy nature with members of their community.

“We grew the number of participants this year, and they are mostly Saudi now, which is the plan, to give the opportunity to people living here or in the vicinity to have their own trail running,” he said.

The Eco-Trail welcomed visitors from across the world, based and working in AlUla, and tourists who wanted to experience major landmarks through a fun run.

“It provides an opportunity for people to be a part of an outdoor experience … to practice sports without the pressure of performance,” the founder said.

The trail offers an 80-kilometer ultramarathon, 50-kilometer marathon, 25-kilometer half-marathon, 10-kilometer fun run, and a 1.2-kilometer race for children.

“It’s amazing seeing the people that are reacting to the joy and happiness, especially their kids, when you see their parents supporting them. That’s something that we want to do … is make people happy running in nature,” he said.

“This is the opportunity that we have thanks to the RCU to invite people to be at the finish line in Hegra, which is the UNESCO site. It’s like running in a museum, it’s amazing,” he said.

Other activities for visitors, including the AlfaOne Retreat, Sadu Escape, and the Thuraya Wellness Center at Habitas will continue throughout March.


Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
  • Lama Al-Ahdal scooped medals in Physics Olympiads and made her country proud

JEDDAH: Prizewinning Saudi student Lama Al-Ahdal, who has been scooping medals at Physics Olympiads, says her competition success motivates her to continue with her passion and achieve great things for the Kingdom.

She won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad, a bronze at the International Physics Olympiad, and a bronze at the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad.

Al-Ahdal spoke to the Saudi Press Agency about the beginning of her journey in the Physics Olympiad through the Mawhoob Competition, which she took part in several times.

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“I started attending basic courses in Jeddah, through which I qualified and passed the required tests. I was nominated for the Winter Forum at Princess Nourah University in Riyadh, then trained with the physics team, from which a number of students in the Kingdom would qualify to form the Saudi team for the Physics Olympiad.

HIGHLIGHT

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“At the beginning of 2019, we underwent intense eight-hour training, both remotely and at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, to prepare for international competitions. I learned how to calculate the strength of the Earth's magnetic field using a string and two pieces of magnets, how electricity can be generated by heating two pieces of metal, how to measure the thickness of a candy wrapper using a laser, and other scientific experiments.

“The top five students were then nominated to represent the Kingdom, and thankfully I made it and snatched the gold medal in the Gulf Physics Olympiad, the bronze medal in the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad, and the bronze medal in the International Physics Olympiad.”

Joining the Saudi physics team and undergoing training helped her to discover that physics was a beautiful subject. “I learned a lot from it and the Olympiad experience.”

Her participation increased her skills and developed her thinking by getting to know competitors from different countries.

“I also developed my time management skills since the training continued even during school days. My father and mother had a major role in helping me achieve my goals and encouraging me to try new things to gain more skills and learn more,” she said.

Setting a specific goal and working to achieve it was the most important thing that motivated her to take up the challenge and try new things.

Her father, Abdul Rahman Al-Ahdal, said his daughter’s journey was full of scientific challenges.

“She has always been a talented child and a bright student, with a  promising future ahead of her. God blessed her with a group of highly experienced trainers and supervisors. It is important to focus and draw a plan and work to achieve it.

“I thank King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, and everyone responsible for helping the sons and daughters of the Kingdom partake in forums of creativity, innovation and scientific Olympiad, and other scientific activities.”


Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
  • The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season

TAIF: Visitors from all over the Kingdom and the Gulf are flocking to Taif this summer to get respite from the heat and rejuvenate in the region’s mountains.

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape, several of which are also working farms or have beautiful gardens planted with the famous Taif roses and wild plants including basil, al-baitran, and marjoram.

Tourists and visitors can also stay in cozy, rural hostels made of old stone ornamented with carvings and sculptures of animals, where they can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and valleys of Taif, which are home to a variety of rare birds.

The city and other nearby areas such as Al-Hada and Al-Shifa are also famous for their fruits.

The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season. Taif roses have historic, economic and religious importance. The oil is used to perfume the walls of the Kaaba, which is also washed twice annually with its scented water.

Besides basking in nature, visitors to Taif can also visit museums, local markets, rose factories in Al-Shafa and Al-Hada, the cable car, a strawberry farm, the zoo, and historic castles.

 


 


Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
Updated 14 August 2022

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
  • The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Armed Forces and US Marine Corps on Saturday launched a joint training exercise along the Red Sea coast in the western city of Yanbu, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said.

The “Outrageous Anger 22” exercise was inaugurated in the presence of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Dibais, commander of the western sector, and Maj. Gen. Paul Rock, commander of the Marine Corps at the US Central Command, as well as senior officers from the Saudi armed forces and US Army.

An inspection tour included sites where the two forces will conduct the joint operations.

Col. Saud Al-Aqili, commander of the exercise, said that it aims to rehearse implementation of bilateral operational and logistical plans, exchange expertise between the two sides, and develop complementary work with civil authorities.

Col. Matthew Hakula, commander of the US forces, said that the joint maneuvers will raise combat readiness, as well as strengthen compatibility between Saudi and US troops.

The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition.


Saudi Arabia reports 106 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi Arabia reports 106 new COVID-19 cases, 3 deaths

68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in Saudi Arabia. (AFP)
  • 3,886 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 6,376 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to almost 44 million

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia reported 106 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, according to the Ministry of Health. As a result, the total number of cases in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic grew to 811,853.

The authorities also confirmed three new COVID-19-related deaths, raising the total number of fatalities to 9,269.

Of the new infections, 28 were recorded in Riyadh, 19 in Jeddah, 14 in Dammam, 5 in Makkah and 4 in Madinah. Several other cities recorded fewer than 20 new cases each.

The ministry also announced that 134 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom over the course of the pandemic to 798,698.

It said that 3,886 COVID-19 cases were still active, adding that 6,376 PCR tests were conducted in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to almost 44 million.

The ministry said that of the current cases, 2 were in critical condition.

Nearly 68 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign began, with more than 25 million people fully vaccinated.

The ministry, which has 587 vaccine centers across the country, urged people who had not yet received a jab to register for a series of injections through the Sehhaty app.

 


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Alotaibi, director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at Monsha’at

Abdulrahman Alotaibi
Abdulrahman Alotaibi
Updated 13 August 2022

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Alotaibi, director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at Monsha’at

Abdulrahman Alotaibi

Abdulrahman Alotaibi has been the director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at the General Authority for Small and Medium Size Enterprises, also known as, Monsha’at, since 2020.

Alotaibi’s current role includes overseeing the development of capacity-building solutions for SMEs and entrepreneurs through Monsha’at Academy’s online, local and international programs.

These programs support the Saudi business community by offering specialized skills in entrepreneurship, business planning, financial management and marketing.

Alotaibi started his career in Saudi Aramco in 2006 and held various roles in operations, accounting and planning.

He later joined the Saudi Export Development Authority in 2017 as an exporters training manager. He led numerous projects and programs to help Saudi companies to access and develop international markets.

Alotaibi holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from King Abdulaziz University and a master’s in business administration from Al-Yamamah University.

He is a certified global business professional from NASBITE International and also certified in market analysis tools by the UN’s International Trade Center, ITC.  

In 2021, he published a book titled “Export Business Development —  A Guide to International Markets.” The work provides the necessary knowledge and best practices to help business people to develop and execute global business plans, evaluate opportunities, manage market challenges and grow international sales.

Working closely with various businesses and trade support organizations, Alotaibi has delivered workshops and advisory sessions in export and international trade. He also contributes to newspapers and other business media outlets.