Article ☁ Yoga Helps Me as a Muslim

Mindful Medicinal Movement™ Mindful Actionable Intentions™

 

YOGA HELPS ME

AS A MUSLIM

 

My mind and body are constantly active with no off button – my sister once compared me to the energiser bunny. My idea of relaxation must involve an activity that sates my intellect or body or both.

One way I achieve this is in yoga, with its various types but more specifically hatha, restorative and yin, for it fulfils all the requirements for my overall health and fitness (internally and externally) plus mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

 

BODY

Yoga Tree PoseI mainly practise yoga for digestion and detoxing, to increase my flexibility and balance (I love tree pose – vrikshāsana – and eagle pose – garudāsana), and various breathing techniques.

The benefits one’s body reaps from yoga are countless, which you dear reader can research if you haven’t experienced them yourself, but amongst them are: the mental and physical challenge, massaging of organs, improvements in internal systems, increase in metabolism, spine adjustments, core and muscle strengthening and toning, weight shed and control, and agility.

An essentiality in yoga is breathing in and out through the nose vital for a healthier mind and body – and clear sinuses.

One major gain derived from nasal breathing is the raising of body temperature. From this simple and vital practise, the lungs expand, permeating clean oxygen throughout the body, hence detoxifying from the inside out – and so much more.

In yoga, I fathomed the bliss of breathing correctly, found a new appreciation and love for my body and its miracles, and a more respectful attitude towards it.

It’s a lifestyle and lifelong journey of relearning, rediscovering and reconnecting with my body, mind and soul, entrusted to me by Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى.

 

MIND AND SOUL

Willpower, patience, concentration, commitment and balance are key elements to practise a posture (āsana), in turn freeing my mind of the chaos of quotidian daily responsibilities by focussing my attention and shutting out diversions.

When I hold a pose for a long duration, I sweeten my tongue by whispering praises to Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى, listening to or whispering invocations (including AlRuqyah), or perfuming my ears listening to a beautiful (and meditating) Qur’ânic recitation by one of my favourite reciters (Sheikh Muhammad Siddiq AlMinshāwi رحمه الله). I’ve noticed by doing so, it gives me stamina to maintain the pose for much longer thus helping me to lengthen, strengthen and restore my body – as well as my faith – whilst focussing on my inhales and exhales.

Yoga MeditationAt the end of my practise (or beginning), whether in child pose (balāsana), garland pose (malāsana), hero pose (virāsana), lotus pose (padmāsana) or reclining bound angle pose (supta baddha konāsana), I unwind even further and meditate. I close my eyes and concentrate on slowing down my breathing and feeling my heartbeats, embracing the silence and serenity to dispel away any accrued stress.

All this, whilst breathing prayers and remembering Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى.

 

{الَّذِينَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ قِيَامًا وَقُعُودًا وَعَلَىٰ جُنُوبِهِمْ وَيَتَفَكَّرُونَ فِي خَلْقِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ رَبَّنَا مَا خَلَقْتَ هَٰذَا بَاطِلًا سُبْحَانَكَ فَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ}

{Those who remember Allâh while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], ‘Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; protect us from the punishment of the Fire.’}

(003:191)

I can’t think of a better way to disengage from the world, even if ephemerally, and relieve myself of as much tension as I can, by centring my body and mind and opening my heart to Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى – other than salâh, du’âs and The Holy Qur’ân.

 

A THERAPEUTIC WAY OF LIFE

Shari’a, i.e. Islâm, is my way of life; so, at the forefront of my mind taking care of myself will bring me closer to Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى. It also means following the path of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.

I have a more conscientious outlook towards my whole wellbeing and one of the reasons is because of yoga. I’m cognisant of my mental and physical health and fitness, what I put into my body reflects the outside, and my breathing.

A gorgeous benefit, performing salâh mindfully better with smooth yet strong movements and postures inshâ’Allâh, becoming more aware of spine alignment, foot placement and joint care.

Blue Tai Chi WomanFor all this, I made a promise to make time for myself and to move daily with focussed movement as well as free flow, suitable for my body type, constitution and condition, making yoga a priority since it helps the union of my mind and body, my breathing, my organs and purging me of all accumulated negativity. Even better, when blending Yoga with T’ai Chi, Qigong or Pilates for a dynamic fusion flow.

I start my day with various breathing techniques including kapalabhati and a dynamic seated twist; then yoga stretches and mini flows to kick-start my digestion, detox, awaken my spine and lubricate my joints and muscles from top-to-bottom with a fresh flow of blood and oxygen.

I end my day with diaphragmatic breathing and gentle poses and moves to strengthen and relax my pelvic floor muscles (more Pilates than yoga), comfort my little (and overworked) adrenals, satiate my insulin and soothe my mind to ease me into sleep.

Accordingly, I’m able to live a life that’ll please Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى by doing my utmost to serve Him سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى to the best of my health inshâ’Allâh.

The enduring effect is an improved me as a Muslim, therefore better to and for others inshâ’Allâh.

*       *       *

Yoga StreamWe make and take time to pursue certificates, degrees and money, “socialise” on networks and otherwise; then we owe it to ourselves to wisely invest our time, invest in our health and energy, and our wellbeing, for our own sake – no one else will – and, crucially, for Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى.

We’re the only ones responsible for ourselves and today’s overwhelming world isn’t an excuse to evade that responsibility.

Our Beloved Prophet Muhammad said,

Your body has a right over you.

WRITTEN: Wednesday, 29th October 2013
REWRITTEN: Tuesday, 13th May 2014 + 2018

NOTE

There are four major and crucial points of clarification for readers who think yoga may conflict with their religious beliefs, specifically Muslims, with the false assumption they’ll end up practising its mysticism.

The following common yogic practises are to be avoided because they conflict with Islâm ~ the reasons are obvious:

  • The commonly used Namaskara Mudra and bowing;
  • Any of the Mudras: Hand gestures and rituals, which are of Hindu and Buddhist origins;
  • Certain terminologies such as, Namaskār or Namastē, in Sanskrit and their English equivalent;
  • Although there’s credence to the “Third Eye”, which is the Pineal Gland, and its function is vital to our human nature, it’s not to be “thanked” for it has no magical power.
If you eat Italian food, does that make you Italian? Meditation and yoga are what you make of them. Visualise and meditate on those subjects that are relevant to you. The postures are neutral; they are just timeless and proven movements.
~ Dr Peter J. D’Adamo

And Allâh سُبْحانَهُ وَتَعالَى Knows Best


6 Comments

  1. Mohtarama, Assalamo Alaykum,

    I liked this Article and request you to grant me permission to translate it into our Gujarati Regional language and allow me to publish it on my Blog.

    With warm regards.

    1. Wa ‘Alaykum As-Salâm (^_^),

      It’s been a long time – it’s nice to “hear” from you again (^_^).

      Please feel free to translate my article – you’ll be doing me a great service and honour (^_^). (For your ease of mind, please read my copyright page.)

      Jazâk Allâhu Khairan for your kindness and all your works (^_^).

  2. Great article! Through Valibhai, I came to know about this article.

    I would like to add here that the folded palms posture (namaskara/namaste) is not meant to bow down to Hindu/Buddhist deity. After all days of work, just folding the palms near the centre of the front ribcage is to feel your experience 🙂

    Again, a very balanced article.

    Take care.

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