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YOGA HELPS ME

AS A MUSLIM
RABAB MAHER

My mind and body are constantly active with no off

button (as my sister once said, I’m like the energiser

bunny). My idea of relaxation must involve an activity that

should sate my intellect or body or both.

One way that 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

I mainly practise yoga for digestion and detoxing, to

increase my flexibility and balance (I love tree pose -

vrikshāsana), 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 ‫ ُسبْحا َن ُه َو َتعالَى‬.
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 ‫سبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬
ُ or prayers,

or perfume by ears by listening to Qur’ânic recitation by

one of my favourite reciters – like Sheikh Muhammad

Siddiq AlMinshāwi (Allâh Yirĥamu). 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 m y faith – whilst focussing on my inhales

and exhales.

At 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

ُ .
‫سبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬

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 ‫سبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬
ُ – other than salâh, du’âs and

listening to 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

ُ .
‫سبْحانَ ُه َوتَعالَى‬ 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.

For 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.

I start my day with breathing and yoga to kickstart my

digestion, to detox and lubricate my joints and muscles

from top-to-bottom with a fresh flow of blood and oxygen.

I end my day with gentle poses to comfort my lovely

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 ‫سبْحا َن ُه‬
ُ

‫َو َتعالَى‬ by doing my utmost to serve Him to the best of my

health.

The enduring effect is an improved me as a Muslim,

therefore better to and for others inshâ’Allâh.

  

We 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 sakes –

no one else will – and, crucially, for Allâh ‫ ُسبْحانَ ُه َو َتعالَى‬.
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 ‫ ﷺ‬said,

Your body has a right over you

WEDNESDAY, 29TH OCTOBER 2013 | TUESDAY, 13TH MAY 2014