Harmony with my faith and my Yoga practice


Photo by Shamsydar Ani 

(In the Name of Allah; Bismillahirahmanirahim)

I am a practicing(constantly struggling) muslimah and I believe there’s no god but Allah and Nabi Muhammad (a.s) is the prophet. I also believe in the wonderful cures of yoga that has increasingly became my health insurance. Allah has cured my irritable bowel syndrome, chronic gastritis and my hereditary asthma when all I did was to put in little effort exercising and put my trust in Him. Constantly remembering Allah 24/7 by dzikirullah(islamic meditation) with my yogic breath and my Islamic vibrations and practicing Yoga has eased me whenever I’m feeling the pressures of the world taking its effects on my health.

I believe in my heart that Healing Yoga and Islam can co-exist as long as my intentions are pure and signified. Somewhere along my 5 years of yoga practice and teaching, i was insinuated that I might not be a “good muslimah” because I practice yoga. My illustration and this post is to address and quieten that disturbing voice(assumptions).

Let’s take a look at our “steps” in muslim daily prayers which are similar to some yoga poses.

  • Standing position while praying and somewhere in the middle we I’tidal – is similar to the mountain pose.
  • Ruku’ (bowing down) – is similar to the forward bend with straight back.
  • Sitting between two prostration to Allah – is similar to the hero pose.
  • Prostration to Allah – is similar to the child’s pose.

When teaching, I remove the sanskirt names because:

Its easier to remember it in english layman terms when there is a deeper concentration to how our body will work during the poses thus gives deeper appreciation towards Allah that He enabled myself and my students to do simple movements and staying longer in the posture where disabled people may find performing simple movements difficult.. subhan Allah.

Islam and healing yoga practice can co-exist because both taught me to be true through Zakat (5 pillars of Islam) and Ahimsa (1 of Yoga practice).

Ahimsa is the yogic practice of non-violence, it is one of the five ethical restraints within the eight limbs of yoga. It doesn’t just mean not being physically violent toward yourself or others: it also means not having negative, or violent, thoughts, and being gentle and patient at all times. Reflecting on ahimsa each morning when I wake up and each night before I go to bed – made me aware of how “softer” it makes my life feel to absorb this value into my heart. We see these similarities from the characters of our beloved Prophet (sallahu alaihi salam).

Zakat is among the 5 pillars of Islam from which when my father adhan into my right ears, I grow up as a muslim and am obliged to carry out all 5 pillars of islam (Syahada, Salat- 5 prayers a day, Fast, Zakat and Hajj). Zakat known as alms-giving is the practice of charitable givings, giving what I can, whenever I can. In LOA (law of attraction), the key to becoming more abundant is to send out the vibration of gratitude and abundance every moment, everyday. The more I celebrate closeness by allowing Allah to answer my doa now or later, the more I attract. And how is it that this LOA teachings can co-exist with Allah’s unbreakable promises in the Quran too besides Yoga? “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” [Surat Ibrahim: 7]. The fact that if I don’t have much to give, I felt within my heart I had the intention in the first place. Here’s a reminder to myself and all Allah’s believers out there: The heart of Islam is about intention; lillahi ta’ala(for Allah).

Yes, the world have so much distraction and deception to the soul that the intention needs to be purified and signified for the sake of The One, not yourself otherwise through fitness we succumb to bodily riyah, riyah of beauty and actions. Verily, Allah’s ni’mah doesnt miss its due, may Allah bless all of us His hidayah and taufiq to do what makes Allah happy with the intentions we set our fitness for the sake of Him and keep our heart steadfast in His Ahkira & His MardhatiLlah. Allahu Musta’an..
If anything we are taught to take care of our bodies is that good health is a gift and we should not be ‘defiling’ it with bad habits.

The prophet, Peace and Blessings be upon him was a very physically fit person as well. He said,“The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer.” (Narrated by Sahih Muslim, 6774). He was talking in terms of faith and character but also indicating that physical strength i.e. optimum health and fitness were desirable, providing Allah gave us the ways and means of attaining such strength.  Islam’s holistic approach to life and thus health offers us the ability to remain strong and healthy.

As mentioned earlier tying my intention practicing Yoga, lillahi ta’ala, understanding and knowing this truth: The Prophet (s) said “Any action without the remembrance of Allah is either a diversion or heedlessness except four acts: walking from target to target (during archery practice), training a horse, … , and learning to swim.” (Reported by al Tabarani on good authority)  reassures me even more that following the Quran, the Prophet(s) sunnah and listening to my heart keeps me steadfast on sirratal mustaqim (the straight path) always with my passion teaching movement, in sha Allah. May Allah ease it..

And with Allah’s mercy, I gained these from my yogilates practice

  1. my brain capacity juggling and understanding my undergrad studies and work
  2. overall health performance,
  3. my immune system and
  4. my concentration in my 5 daily prayers and dzikirullah.

Dr  Mohammad Yunus explained that the physically active believers have the strength to undertake physical acts of ‘ibadat like salat or hajj. Personally, I vouched for his following advice “Physical activity is mustahabb or manduub for its physiological and health benefits. It is waajib when it is required as part of disease treatment.” As mentioned earlier, I addressed that Yoga has became my health insurance in curing my irritable bowel syndrome, chronic gastritis and my hereditary asthma, there’s not a single wavering doubt that Yoga has become my waajib practice as a believer.

As believers in Islam, you and I must take care of our spiritual, emotional and physical health.  Our bodies, the most complex of machines, are given to us by Allah as a trust. They should not be abused or neglected but maintained in good order and remember Allah’s promise in the Quran So remember Me; I will remember you.’ [Surat al-Baqarah: 152]. 

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