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Yoga Namaz

Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

About the Author:

Mr T Sampath Kumaran is a freelance writer. He regularly contributes articles on
Management, Business, Ancient Temples, and Temple Architecture to many
leading Dailies and Magazines. His articles are popular in The Young World
section of THE HINDU.
His e-books on nature, environment and different cultures of people around the
world are educative and of special interest to the young.
He was associated in the renovation and production of two Documentary films on
Nava Tirupathi Temples, and Tirukkurungudi Temple in Tamilnadu.

I wish to express my gratitude to the authors from whose works I gathered the
details for this book, and Courtesy, Google for some of the photographs.
- Tamarapu Sampath Kumaran

With the introduction of International Yoga Day a controversy arose by a section

of the Muslim community, identifying Yoga as a practice of Hindus.
A brief attempt is made to present a compiled note collecting views expressed by
several learned scholars identifying Yoga as a health exercise, and its identity in the
Namaz being practiced by Muslims.
In an increasingly stress ridden and emotionally distraught world the need for
providing appropriate and adequate counseling and psychotherapy has made the
therapists look for novel and integrative approaches to meet the challenge. In the
course of the last century, psychotherapy has evolved into a varied source of
techniques and therapies to cater to the problems of the new order where rapid
progress in science and technology has rendered life more of a materialistic
meaning devoid of mental peace and contentment. Attempts to draw from diverse
sources such as alternative and complementary treatment modalities, use of
spiritual healing processes, yoga, Reiki, etc., have yielded mixed results. Religion
at large has always been at hand to lend useful guidance to approach both the
physiological illnesses and psychological maladjustments. In this regard,
counselors and therapists have looked up to religious texts and acts of worship for
help in their practice to address the specific needs of patients, where a spiritual
approach was more acceptable to the client. Major religions in the world have
contributed enormously to this process and resulting advancements in therapeutic
efficacy are widely documented.
Yoga (Sanskrit: , Listen) is an Indian physical, mental, and spiritual practice or
The origins of Yoga have been speculated to date back to pre-Vedic Indian
traditions, but most likely developed around the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, in
ancient India's ascetic circles. The chronology of earliest texts describing yogapractices varyingly credited to Hindu Upanishads and Buddhist Pali Canon
probably of third century BCE or later. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali date from the
first half of the 1st millennium CE, but only gained prominence in the 20th
century. Hatha yoga texts emerged around 11th century CE, and in its origins was
related to Tantrism.
Yoga gurus from India later introduced yoga to the west, following the success of
Swami Vivekananda in the late 19th and early 20th century. In the 1980s, yoga
became popular as a system of physical exercise across the Western world. Yoga in
Indian traditions, however, is more than physical exercise, it has a meditative and
spiritual core.

Asana is one of the eight limbs of classical Yoga, which states that poses should be
steady and comfortable, firm yet relaxed helping a practitioner to become more
aware of their body, mind, and environment.
The 12 basic poses or asanas are much more than just stretching. They open the
energy channels, chakras and psychic centers of the body while increasing
flexibility of the spine, strengthening bones and stimulating the circulatory and
immune systems. Along with proper breathing or pranayama, asanas also calm the
mind and reduce stress. With regular practice one can ensure overall physical and
mental health and the possible prevention of diseases such as diabetes,
hypertension and arthritis. In time, performing the poses slowly and consciously,
becomes a mental exercise in concentration and meditation.

In Arabic, namaz is known as 'salaat', which is derived from 'silaa' meaning

'meeting'. Thus namaz is a means for meeting God; that is, during namaz man's
submission and God's acceptance take place. This namaz, formulated by the great

Prophet Mohammed, under the inspiration of God, has to be prayed 5 times a day:
before sunrise, at noon, between noon and sunset, just after sunset, and before
Namaz consists of rakaats, each rakaat being a series of 7 postures. For example,
before sunrise, 2 rakaats or 14 postures must be performed. Thus, if a Muslim
practices namaz strictly and properly, he will be automatically fit and sound
physically, mentally and spiritually. In this respect Al Quran (29:45) says: "Innas
Salata Tanha Fhasyaye. Valmunkar," which means in English as: "Neither ill
feeling nor unhealthy thought can occupy the mind of a namazee."
Seven postures of namaz and their impact on the nervous system.

Fig. 1 - Quaym: Body and mind feel relaxed and balanced as the weight of the
body is evenly distributed on both legs. Backbone is straight, and breathing is
natural and invigorating. Control of thoughts and concentration of mind become
easier on account of focusing the eyes steadily on the spot of Sajda.
Fig. 2 - Rukoo: This pose is equal to quarter sirshasana or semi-paschimottanasana.
Blood is pumped towards the upper half of the body. This is an effective pose for

elimination of flatulence and excess fat. Spine is made supple and spinal nerves are
nourished; backaches and pains are relieved. Also provides effective relief in cases
of constipation. Tones up calf and thigh muscles, backbone, abdomen, kidneys, etc.
Fig. 3 - Quanta: Fresh blood pumped towards the upper half of the body now
returns to its normal route. The body is again in a relaxed and evenly balanced
Fig. 4 - Sajda: This pose is similar to shashankasana or half sirshasana. It helps
pump blood into the brain and upper half of the body, including eyes, ears, nose
and lungs. As such, by the performance of this posture, all the benefits of
shashankasana as well as a proportionate benefit of sirshasana are simultaneously
derived. It is also an effective cure for cardiac and circulatory diseases.
Fig. 5 - Jalsa: This hardy pose is like vajrasana. Again the fresh blood which was
pumped towards the upper half of the body now returns to normal circulation. This
is the best pose for relaxing the muscles, including those related to the spine. This
pose stimulates circulation in the nerves and muscles of the thighs. It eliminates
indigestion and constipation, and is beneficial in the case of peptic ulcer or other
stomach ailments. It concentrates the mind on its spiritual pursuit, and is
commonly used as a meditation pose by Japanese Buddhists.
Fig. 6 - Sajda: This is again comparable to half sirshasana. As the practitioner
returns to the fourth position for a second time, the repetition of this pose within a
few seconds produces a beneficial effect on the respiratory, circulatory and nervous
Fig. 7 - Returning to Fig. 1: This is like the squatting pose of utkatasana. It is a
dynamic posture which involves standing up without any support, so that the entire
weight of the body is on the toes. This exercises the backbone, thighs, knees and
leg muscles, increasing strength by daily repetition. The person who regularly
offers namaz in this posture will be free from backache and any degenerative
disease of the joints, like osteoarthritis of the knees, during his lifetime.
Namaz is one of the best forms of meditation or Dhyan from Yogic point of view
where the person unilaterally surrenders to Allah.

The history of India overwhelmingly evidences that its civilization and culture
were blessed with diversified and scientifically remarkable achievements in all
spheres of life including health care, when other parts of the world were in their
infancy of development and maturation. The globally accepted heritage of
Ayurveda and Yogic practices is an unique contribution of the ancient Indian
health care system to the rest of the world.
Patanjali is regarded as the father of yoga. It was also discovered and developed
during the Vedic period. Yoga derives from the Sanskrit word yuj which means
to yoke, to join the Supreme power ultimately through simple, healthy, sacred
and spiritual lifestyles. Thus, yoga implies union and integration of total human
being from the inner most to the external nature or the Almighty. It is a path of
self-discovery bringing about balance and harmony in life. This is a science of
strengthening human mind and elevating the level of consciousness to a maximum.
At one hand, it helps the normal people in living a healthy and contented life, and
on the other hand, it bestows relief, solace and tranquility of mind to the persons
with mental distress. Hence, the meaning and eventual purpose of Yoga appear to
be fundamentally very similar to the messages of other religions of the world
including Islam and its prayer (in the context of this article), despite differences in
their fundamental concepts of origin, as per the understanding of the authors.
Therefore, a combination of the salah and Yoga could be an unique pair in relation
to the mental healthcare in particular.

In yoga, activation of all the seven energy levels at least once in a day is advocated
to realize the true potential of the practice. Since salah is procedurally less complex
than yoga and is practiced ritually five times in a day without requiring any formal
training it is a boon to the Muslims that they get to tune the energy chakras
effortlessly integrating the practice with their daily routine. Nonetheless,
combining several aspects of Yoga with salah could be able to catalyze the many
more folds of advantages of activating energy chakras.
Yoga is not a religion. Rather, it is a set of techniques and skills that enhance the
practice of any religion. A French author named Jean Dchanet discovered this in
regard to his Catholic faith and wrote the book Christian Yoga (New York: Harper,
1960). Islamic yoga is a reality. It is possible to employ the skills of yoga to
worship Allah better and to be a better Muslim.