It begins with a portmanteau – Dar, an Arabic and Quranic word that depicts the meaning of home or dwelling, and Ãtmã, Sanskrit for the immortal soul. Combining those two words gives us the glorious harmonization of body and soul that is Darãtmã, founded and created by Shaikha AlSabah. Upon meeting Shaikha, I immediately noticed how she exudes a sense of familiarity and serenity that you can’t help but instantly feel at home with while at Darãtmã. She has always been the type to let life introduce her to her next adventure, while constantly believing and seeing the goodness in others as she abides by this ethos. Peacefulness is key for Shaikha; not only is she a mother of six, she is also a yogi and founder of Darãtmã for Yoga Education, and her love for life is contagious.
Darãtmã is a place of peace and love, and that is instantly sensed as soon as you walk into their studios. Homey and welcoming, the vibe and energy at Darãtmã is that of joy. Not taking no, or the universal “I can’t,” for an answer, I did my very first head stand in years, using a specially created contraption called the FeetUp, five minutes in! Shaikha believes that yoga is for everyone. “The ultimate goal is to unite all your energies: physical, mental, emotional, and be of service to humanity,” Shaikha explained, “This is our mission at Darãtmã, to help alleviate the suffering and spread the love.” Shaikha started her yogic journey back in 2001 when her mother-in-law introduced her to her teacher. Instantly hooked, Shaikha took her practice to a whole new level. Darãtmã was born out of passion and not a business plan. It came together organically – going on an intense six-day yoga retreat, she decided to become a certified Iyengar teacher. While it takes three years to get the certification, she managed to convince Amit Raina and his wife Lina of the Kashmir Shaivism School of Yoga (KSSOY) to come to Kuwait and help her.
Once they had agreed, Shaikha immediately went on the hunt to find the perfect location for her training – enter Darãtmã’s current home, the Yacob Behbehani Tower in Salmiya. Fully equipped with everything a yoga studio and learning center needs, Shaikha decided to keep the location functioning and enlist instructors to teach the masses. Finding the location was the easy part for Shaikha, yet acquiring the licensing was tricky. “We’re not the first yoga space in Kuwait, but we’re the first yoga education space,” she elaborated. “But there was no yoga license at the Ministry of Trade and Commerce.” She was told that if she could find it in the 200-page handbook for the GCC’s trade licenses, they’ll gladly issue one for her. Not one to despair, Shaikha took to the books and did her research thoroughly. Mounds of paperwork and several bureaucratic procedures and channels later, Shaikha was approved for the yoga license. “I met a lot of good people through the process who are really working hard to serve Kuwait,” Shaikha smiled, “Thanks to our combined efforts, perseverance, hard work, the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the grace of Allah, the license for Yoga Education is now accessible for all to attain in Kuwait.”
As the premier facility for yoga education, Darãtmã arrives as a labor of love that’s reflected throughout the space. The equipment utilized in the space is either sourced locally or from India, as Shaikha has overseen the making of every aspect of Darãtmã. A true believer in supporting the local cultural scene, Shaikha is always on the lookout for regional artists and creatives to give Darãtmã its beautifully unique personality by displaying their work at the healing space. Apart from offering Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Meditation and the sorts – Darãtmã also offers Pre and Postnatal Yoga and will soon add Mommy and Me classes! With so many offerings and so much heart and soul in the place, there’s no way you’d want to miss out on meeting Shaikha by popping into Darãtmã for a class or ten. Bringing yoga education to Kuwait, Shaikha hopes to expand through out the Middle East soon enough, “If being healthy and happy is for everyone, then Yoga is for everyone!” Here’s the best part: As part of Darãtmã’s February celebrations, the healing space is offering new members unlimited yoga classes for 26 days straight for just KD 25! We managed to convince the yogi to not only pose for our cameras, but to get up close and personal with us.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being completely absorbed in a moment.
What is your greatest fear?
Not realizing my soul’s purpose.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother Anwar. Her strength, faith, and perseverance inspire me.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Taking trips on my own without my family.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What is it that you most dislike?
Which talent would you most like to have?
I have all that I need, Alhamdulellah.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
I don’t do jobs. I live passions.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
I have achieved nothing. All that is in my life is by the Grace of Allah. Forever grateful & thankful for all His blessings.
What is your most treasured possession?
I possess nothing. I am but a soul transiting through life.
What is your most marked characteristic?
They say my spirit. I say my openness & sharing of unconditional love with everyone.
Where would you most like to live?
What are your favorite words to live by?
New memebrs can enjoy 26 days of unlimited yoga classes for just 25KD as part of Darãtmã’s February celebrations!
Pictures by Mohammed Al-Owaisi and Dalal Al-Mohanna.
For more information about Darãtmã and their offerings, visit www.daratma.com or email [email protected]. Follow them on social media via Twitter @daratma, Instagram @daratma_kw, and Facebook: Daratma – alternatively, you can call them at
9552 0000. Namaste.