Saudi sisters unlock mindful movement

Saudi sisters Yusr and Yara Al-Otaibi are co-founders of Rolly, a brand that aims to create safe spaces and products for individuals to integrate movement into their daily lives. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 September 2023
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Saudi sisters unlock mindful movement

  • Yusr and Yara Al-Otaibi’s wellness brand hopes to create joy, comfort through sustainable practices, ‘global perspective’

RIYADH: As the global fitness industry slowly gets back on its feet following the pandemic, brands are finding leverage through community engagement and mindfulness.

Rolly, a Saudi brand established in 2021, focuses on creating fitness experiences and products while platforming sustainable practices through a “global perspective,” Yusr Al-Otaibi, co-founder of the brand, told Arab News.

Her sister, co-founder Yara Al-Otaibi, said: “In Saudi Arabia it’s really important to set a standard because we no longer settle for the minimum or the normal. We really want the best in terms of our brand, or products, or initiatives.”




Rolly looks to create safe spaces and products for individuals to integrate movement into their daily lives. (Supplied)

Saudis are no strangers to sedentary lifestyles. Days are outlined by long car rides through scorching sun-stroked streets. Only in the colder months can joggers and cyclists be found roaming Riyadh’s Wadi Hanifa or Jeddah’s Corniche. While there are no recent statistics on the topic, according to the 2021 Household Sports Practice Survey by the General Authority for Statistics, 29.7 percent of people are involved in moderate physical activity.

Rolly looks to create safe spaces and products for individuals to integrate movement into their daily lives.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Rolly, a Saudi brand established in 2021, focuses on creating fitness experiences and products.

• Rolly Experiences are curated wellness and fitness events that include mindfulness activities.

Yusr said: “We started with a question: Why weren’t there sustainable products that look fun and are also high performance? We took the challenge.”

After suffering a knee injury, cutting into her active lifestyle and gym routine, Yara found conventional yoga mats caused more pain than support. An idea resulted from the two sisters’ need for products and spaces that are comfortable, safe, and help all types of movement.

Yusr said: “We found a gap in the Saudi market, and the Middle East as a whole, and we’re hoping through this we can spread awareness of the importance of movement while taking care of the Earth.”




Rolly looks to create safe spaces and products for individuals to integrate movement into their daily lives. (Supplied)

After three years of testing alongside physiotherapists, the sisters’ first product saw the light of day. Their plastic-free and anti-humidity yoga mat is constructed using rubber and a top layer of vegan leather. The wide structure was designed by Yara to ensure that it is suitable for most body types and fitness exercises.

They have also developed a mat carrier, made of local fabrics, to promote the idea that safe spaces to practice can also be portable.

Yusr explained: “I think through the product design, perhaps Rolly opened the door for a new category of products in the Kingdom in terms of fitness that are approached by both male and female, or whether you’re a yogi, or a physiotherapist or pilates trainer, or a high school girl who loves movement.”

We found a gap in the Saudi market, and the Middle East as a whole, and we’re hoping through this we can spread awareness of the importance of movement while taking care of the Earth.

Yusr Al-Otaibi, Rolly co-founder

Their company is built under the three core values of sustainability, performance, and creativity.

Yara said: “As entrepreneurs we do really believe that businesses that don’t have a social, environmental, or an economic responsibility in Saudi Arabia will not flourish.

“We focus on these three aspects that are (components of) international sustainability … It’s not only the fact that we have products that are sustainable; socially, we are encouraging people to move, which has a sustainability aspect as well.”




Rolly looks to create safe spaces and products for individuals to integrate movement into their daily lives. (Supplied)

By working with Friends of Rolly — who are local instructors — fitness talent, investors, local businesses and studios get to boost their exposure.

The Jeddah-based brand this year began Rolly Experiences, which the sisters explained is at the “core of what Rolly does.” Their curated events captivate the senses of their clients, whether it is the weight of the mat they stand on, the music, or the environment they are placed in.

Mindfulness techniques are incorporated to engage mind as well as body.

Rolly has been able to promote mindfulness and fitness through experimental events, using lights to help encourage curiosity from onlookers.

Yusr said: “People are excited now to know what’s next because our experiences move from one location to another.

“The trainers are people who also fuse different types of sports together and these things are very exciting. It’s very heartwarming to see and know there is a demand for it.”

The sisters’ most recent event, called “Shells by the Beach,” which was run in collaboration with local studios and instructors, focused on locating and tuning into inner fluidity.

Yusr said: “We wanted it to be by the beach so the participants could feel and visualize the waves and recreate that feeling inside them. Human bodies are made up of 70 percent water so it made sense to be there.”

While they are currently based in Jeddah, they plan to expand into other parts of the region in the near future.

Yusr added: “The ultimate goal is to redefine the idea of fitness experiences in the country.

“People are interested in Pilates and yoga, and so on, but they also want a fresh perspective on making it something new: a very high-performance, high-quality experience.”

 


Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families

Updated 33 sec ago
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Ensan launches Ramadan basket project for over 13,000 families

  • Ensan said that it aims to distribute the Ramadan Basket to 13,333 families, with SR300 ($80) per orphan family
  • Allocated amount for the basket is deposited into families’ bank accounts to secure their food needs during the holy month

RIYADH: The Charity Society for Orphan Care in Riyadh (Ensan) has launched the Ramadan Basket project to help beneficiaries secure their food needs during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan in all of the charity’s 21 branches in the capital.

Ensan said that it aims to distribute the Ramadan Basket to 13,333 families, with SR300 ($80) per orphan family, and called for donations via the Ensan donation platform, transfer to the charity’s bank accounts, or by visiting one of its branches.

The Ramadan Basket project is one of the seasonal programs the charity offers to beneficiaries at the beginning of Ramadan each year. The allocated amount for the basket is deposited into families’ bank accounts to secure their food needs during the holy month.

Ensan’s seasonal projects also include Zakat Al-Fitr, Zakat Al-Mal, and Eid gifts, as well as projects for Hajj, sacrificial offerings, winter clothing, and school bags. This is in addition to basic services and support provided by the charity, such as sponsorship, educational and healthcare, housing services, training, and employment.


Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

Updated 26 February 2024
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Umrah pilgrims laud King Salman program

  • Third group of beneficiaries left Makkah to travel home
  • 250 prominent Muslims from 65 countries part of group

RIYADH: The third group of beneficiaries of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Guests Program for Hajj and Umrah, supervised by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, have lauded the country’s leadership for helping them to perform their rituals in Makkah.

The participants have now returned home after completing Umrah and visiting the Prophet’s Mosque, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The group included 250 prominent Muslims from 16 countries: Jordan, Iraq, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, Chad, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Uganda and Mauritania.

They thanked King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the ministry for providing them with quality services during their visit.

During their stay, they visited Quba Mosque, the Martyrs of Uhud Cemetery, Jabal Ar-Rumat (Hill of Archers), Hira Cultural District, the Cave of Hira, and other historical and cultural sites across the two holy cities.

The guests visited the Revelation Exhibition at the Hira Cultural District in Makkah, which featured models of the Cave of Hira and a screen narrating the story of how Prophet Muhammad received revelation.

They said the exhibition was indicative of the Kingdom’s efforts to enrich visitors’ religious and cultural experiences, as well as its care for Islam and Muslims.


Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

Updated 26 February 2024
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Riyadh to host first international sand and dust storm conference next week

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Meteorology will host the first International Conference on Sand and Dust Storms from March 4-6 in Riyadh.

The forum, organized by the World Meteorological Organization’s Sand and Dust Storm Warning Regional Center, is expected to draw wide international participation and aims to address the growing global challenge posed by dust and sand storms.

Over 200 researchers, experts, and specialists from around the world, including WMO representatives, will gather to share the latest advancements in dust and sand storm research, said the center.

The conference is slated to discuss a wide range of critical topics, including sources of dust aerosol formation, dust-climate interactions, health impacts and mitigation strategies, monitoring and predictive modeling, and economic, infrastructural, and environmental consequences of dust storms on various sectors.

The conference will underscore the urgent need to combat dust and sandstorms, in view of their significant impacts on the environment, public health, and economies.

Such storms can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, disrupt solar energy production, degrade air quality, alter weather patterns, and disrupt biogeochemical cycles.

This international conference serves as a crucial platform where scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders from around the world exchange knowledge and collaborate, paving the way for a more coordinated and effective approach to tackling the global challenge of dust and sand storms.

International and regional initiatives have been taken to study these impacts and come up with mitigating strategies.

The Middle East, with its vast arid and semi-arid landscape, is a major source of dust particles.

The increasing frequency and intensity of dust storms in the region, attributed to changes in land use and vegetation cover degradation, needs further comprehensive research to fully understand their far-reaching effects.

Saudi Arabia has taken important steps to mitigate climate change and combat sand and dust storms including the Saudi Green Initiative launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2021, which aims to address local and global environmental challenges.

Established under Saudi Vision 2030, SGI is an ambitious plan focused on combating climate change, protecting the environment for future generations and improving the quality of life.

It unites all the efforts towards Saudi Arabia’s mission of achieving net zero emissions by 2050 through the creation of a circular carbon economy. The Kingdom has also pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 278 million tons annually by 2030.

By 2030 Saudi Arabia plans to plant 600 million trees, restore 3.8 million hectares of land and champion biodiversity conservation as part of the SGI’s 10 billion trees goal.

In March 2019, the Kingdom established the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification with the aim of increasing green areas and rehabilitating degraded vegetation sites.

Moreover, the Kingdom launched the Middle East Green Initiative in April 2021, the most comprehensive program of its kind in the world, as a support for the SGI.

The aim of launching the MGI is to plant 50 billion trees, equivalent to 5 percent of the global afforestation goal.

All of these efforts will help in mitigating desertification, reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and enhance biodiversity. It also shows Saudi Arabia’s commitment to sustainable development and addressing the challenges of climate change and sand and dust storms.


Hiking unites adventurers in peaks of Baha

Updated 49 min 58 sec ago
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Hiking unites adventurers in peaks of Baha

RIYADH: The scenic landscapes, unique terrain, and enchanting ambiance of Baha’s mountains have attracted thousands of tourists, both local and international.

Among the prominent attractions for hikers from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf are the upper and lower Mount Shada.

The region does not only cater for walkers, but it also attracts adventure sports enthusiasts taking part in activities such as paragliding.

As winter unfolds, many visitors have started heading toward the region, particularly the Tihamah sector.

(SPA)

Head of the Southern Travelers Team, specializing in long-distance journeys, Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Ghamdi, pointed out the adoption of the Baha peaks trail for hiking.

The 175-km trail takes in heritage villages with special architectural character, various museums, tourist attractions, and several parks.

Baha’s natural and sporting attractions make it a standout choice for many tourists.


Saudi foreign minister warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Israel attacks Rafah

Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan addresses the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. (SPA)
Updated 2 min 1 sec ago
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Saudi foreign minister warns of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if Israel attacks Rafah

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday warned against the “catastrophic consequences” of any Israeli attack on Rafah, south of Gaza, during his speech at the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council. 

“In this light, we warn against the disastrous repercussions of an attack on Rafah, as the last refuge for civilians, who are there due to the displacement by the Israeli army.” 

Prince Faisal denounced the double standards adopted by some countries toward the crisis in the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. He also reiterated calls for an immediate ceasefire. 

“We call on the international community to bear its responsibility to put an end to escalation and war, protect civilians, in order to pave the way for a clear and legitimate peace process that includes all parties.”