We can't help constantly observing that there are so many parallels between Islam and the system of Yoga. One of them is giving preference to the right side.
Often during a yoga class, the instructor tells you to roll to your right-hand side after relaxation or savasana. Most asanas are also performed from the right to the left and not the other way around.
In parallel, were instructed by our beloved prophet muhammad pbuh that the right hand/ side always, takes a higher status, preference or position in terms of positivity then the left.
Have you ever wondered why?
Symbolic: First of all, rolling to the right or the right side has a symbolic reason. In Indian culture as well as in Islam it is considered more auspicious to enter a holy place with the right foot and in many parts of the world we extend our right hand in greeting.
Energetic: According to yoga teachings you also have a subtle or energy body, besides the physical body. This energy body comprises of chakras and nadis, making up many thousands of energy lines or channels. The main energy line runs along the length of your spine and is called shusumna. Spiralling either side of shusumna are pingala and ida, which end at the tip of the right and left nostrils respectively. Pingala on the right side represents the masculine forces of heat, activity and alertness or the sympathetic nervous system. Ida on the left is more feminine, cooling, passive and restful, referring to the parasympathetic nervous system. Rolling to the right side after savasana can help us to wake up by stimulating pingala nadi. In this way, we prepare ourselves to become more active again after a deep relaxation state.
Physiological: There is also a medical explanation to roll to the right side rather than the left. Since the heart is on the left, rolling to the right brings the heart on top and therefore puts less pressure on the heart and helps allow the blood pressure reach homeostasis.
In Yoga laying down on the right brings the heart on top, regulates the pulse, prevents compression in the heart and frees up the nadi (channel) associated with the left nostril.
It's so amazing that we constantly learn more and find more evidence that our Quran, Sunnah and the basic Pillars of our religion are so intelligently, sophisticatedly and perfectly designed for our evolution and awakening. Now science backs it up!
Praying 5 times a day centers you and moves your body in intelligent ways to get your physiological, structural and energetic alignment in check... Then you can become healthier, more connected to your higher Self and Allah ✨
And here we are just talking about praying 5 times a day! There is so much more to explore...
What's also important to note here is that it is a universal thing... It works for all humans... As we are all made the same way...
Go figure to why yoga has become so popular, it sets you up very well to evolve and connect to your higher self and the universe. It makes you feel good, clear and able to go inwards
We are so lucky to have been brought up in such a beautiful religion such as Islam and to be able to draw comparisons that assure us that what we do on a regular basis has an important role and a big purpose. It's all about the intention and level of presence.
The more we learn about our bodies, the world around us and our true nature the more it all makes sense...
(و قل ربي زدني علما....) Thank you for this post @whatwomenwantmag
From Yoga Poses to Detox! 5 ways Islam Heals the Body
“Prayer stretches all body muscles just like yoga, and different prayer phases are very similar to some yoga poses.”
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We all need a bit of fire to keep us going. Tapas is that fire. Tapas translates to “purification through discipline,” “commitment,” or “internal fire.” Through discipline we can burn away impurities and spark the divinity in each of us. Without Tapas, we probably wouldn’t bother to do the “hard” things in life, and therefore we wouldn't make any sort of progress.
Santosha or 'contentment' doesn't mean idly sitting back and relinquishing the need to do anything. It simply means accepting and appreciating what we have and what we are already, and moving forwards from there. Some times searching outside ourselves for happiness in any form, whether it be substances, people or possessions, just leads to yet more searching. Practicing contentment frees us from the unnecessary suffering of always wanting things to be different, and instead fills us with gratitude and joy for all of life’s blessings
Combining Yoga and fasting is not a new idea; in fact it has been done for thousands of years! Real yogis just ate to live, (and did not live to eat)
Yoga and fasting actually go very much arm-in-arm. Many people are also known to combine yoga and fasting, to maximize the effect of the act on their health
Lucky for us Muslims we have this whole blessed month dedicated to fasting. Why not maximize the benefit spiritually and physically by using both these healing and strengthening practices together?
Fasting at it's heart, physically, is 'detoxing' and cleansing the body, and detoxing involves more than refraining from food (or certain types of foods). When we fast we centralize our energy, because instead of the body’s energy focusing on digestion, and working hard to cleanse its self of toxins and pollutants (that we put in it), it can focus on its primary function.
You may be surprised to know how little food you actually require to have energy and that practicing asana during fasting is not as hard as you may think and is very much intended as a vehicle for purification and removing blockages. The key in fasting yoga is using the breath to expand energy (prana) in the body to make up for what we are not getting from food.
Fasting and Yoga really do complement each other perfectly. Some of the best yoga practices in your life can happen while being completely empty.
The combination of gentle moving, stretching and twisting along with deep breathing exercises, speeds up the detox process. You may be able to actually feel your internal organs, twist deeper and get into the meditative quality of the practice while on a fast. The more you detox, the clearer you make the energy channels and the greater the effects of the Yoga practice on your system. This is highly beneficial both in the short term and long term. Besides it also makes the detox process easier and much more fun. (we all know those last couple of hours before breakfast are killer!)
You needn’t feel like you don’t have enough energy for the practice; it’s nice to do something gentle but if the body is used to yoga, it feels good to move into spaces you don’t normally move into, especially in twists.
When you get rid of these old toxins from your body, you will also be releasing negative emotions. Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Kriyas and Meditation further abet this process. They are powerful tools that help bring the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies into a harmonious balance on all levels.
Meditation can also go deeper while fasting. It is interesting to feel one’s mind settle more quickly when going in, like a switch turning on. It can take at least thirty minutes or an hour long silent meditation at times to get into the flow when one is more connected to the grounding experiences when taking food. When the body is empty, experiencing the higher chakras in meditative states is easy, and bringing about the sense of “no mind” that meditators and yogis are able to achieve with as much practice and stillness is also possible.
The jewel of Saucha, or purity, carries a two-fold meaning. First Saucha invites us to purify our bodies, our thoughts, and our words - a fitting and synchronized theme for Ramadan!
As we purify our bodies, our thoughts, and our words، we become less cluttered and heavy; purification brings about a brightness and clarity to our essence.
There is a great energy that lies, mostly dormant, within each of us. This is the energy of consciousness or awakening.
We have all felt the movement of this energy: moments when tears silently well in our eyes with the stirring of overwhelming love: moments when beauty stops us and captures us in wonder: moments when contentment and well-being ooze from our pores; moments when the life force pulses through us like electricity making us vibrant and young; moments when deep wisdom bathes light on our unknowing; moments when awareness comes to us in technicolor. These moments are small tastes of what happens as the energy within us awakens.
To practice the guideline of purity is to engage in cleansing processes, both physical and mental, that prepare us for these kinds of experiences all the time. Cleansing strengthens the body and insulates the mind, preparing for the awakening of the energy within us. Cleansing prepares us for the greatness of our spirit. Cleansing lightens us to experience more of the divine mystery.
We live in a world with an abundance of treats and toys and friends. They are there for us to enjoy, but never in place of the one who gives these gives. The jewel of Aparigraha invites us to enjoy life to the fullest and yet always be able to drop everything and run into the waiting arms of the Divine. If we prefer to play with our toys, we have missed the point.
Aparigraha, or "non-possessiveness, can also be interpreted as non-attachment, non-greed, non-clinigng, non-grasping, and non coveting; we can simply think of it as being able to 'let go.'
For those of us who choose to stay immersed in the world, loving and living fully without becoming attached is not an easy thing. When we experience the completeness of being loved, the satisfaction of a superb meal, the acknowledgment of work well done, we can easily want to hold on to these moments and never let them go.
It is easy to want the same satisfaction and begin to demand the same fulfillment from these things again and again.
But it is the nature of things to change and by failing to let them change or move on, the begin to disappoint us and our attempts to hold on begin to make us stale and discontent, What we try to possess, possesses us.
How do we move through life loving deeply and engaging fully without getting attached?
Looking at the inhalation and exhalation of the breath, the timing of trapeze artists give us glimpses into the ability to let go rather than be attached. The guideline of Aparigraha invites us to let go and to pack lightly for our journey through life, all the while caring deeply and enjoying fully.
"Nonattachment does not mean that we do not care. In fact, non-attachment frees us up to be immersed in appreciation of life and one another.
We hope that you’ve been able to incorporate our last three yamas into your lives and were able to manifest more positivity and balance. We welcome the new month now with a newyama: Brahmacharya.
Brahmacharya is the yama of non-excessiveness. It's the Yama that invites us to honor the sacredness of the life that has been given to us by God. This means that, in order to achieve balance in our lives, we need to look in all areas of our everyday living and observe where we might be putting out or receiving too much energy, whether that’s emotional, physical or intellectual. Excessiveness can also be related to any obsessions we might have, with food for example or with certain habits or thoughts.
It’s a beautiful thing you can do for yourself to look into all the areas of your life where you don’t feel too good or where you feel parched. There is probably some excessiveness there that you can snip out or reshape into balance. Thinking too much about work? Maybe it’s time to kick back and think about what gives you joy instead. Do you eat a lot of processed sugar? Maybe it’s time to wean yourself off of it and take only natural sweeteners. Are you someone who never shares their feelings about things with close ones? Maybe you are excessively protecting your emotional space and need be more open with your heart. There is no better time than now!
"Practice of Brahmacharya gives good health, inner strength, peace of mind and long life. It invigorates the mind and nerves. It helps to conserve physical and mental energy. It augments memory, will force and brain power. It bestows tremendous strength, vigour and vitality. Strength and fortitude are obtained… He who is established in Brahmacharya will have lustrous eyes, a sweet voice and a beautiful complexion.."
The third of the Yamas (guidelines for living) is Asteya, which means non-stealing. When we practice asteya we consciously live life from the perspective of abundance.
Asteya invites us to be content with what comes to us by honest means. When we dwell on what others have or what we do not have, we are seeing life from a perspective of scarcity. We are thinking that there is not enough abundance to go around. Stealing comes from a place of envy, incompleteness, or unhappiness. We grow up with stealing mentalities all around us in. It is not hard to convince yourself that someone else has so much and won’t miss something if you take it.
There are many ways we steal other than taking an object. We may take credit for someone else’s idea or actions. We can also steal other people's time by being chronically late. We can steal other’s joy. We can steal from the planet when we waste or take more than we need. The list goes on. We steal from our own time when we don't live in the moment by constantly fearing the future or reliving the past.
We have all experienced deficits in our lives. We all have desired things we didn’t get, a toy as a child, attention, recognition, etc. The practice of asteya is more than simply not stealing. It helps us to be aware of deeper causes of thievery within so we can get to the root of our individual deeper causes.
To cultivate asteya we learn to recognize abundance all around us and embrace it with gratitude. Knowing that we are enough and that we have enough is the heart of asteya. As we develop a sense of satisfaction and wholeness, we pay less attention to what others have in comparison to what we have. As we operate with abundance, offering generosity, we receive abundance ourselves. When we give from the heart, we receive.
Give give give.
"When we are engaged in the joy and challenge of building ourselves, we automatically serve the world rather than steal from it."
Satya, is translated as truthfulness, and there’s something beautifully simple about it. Many of us were taught some version of it as a first lesson in morality when we were kids: “lying is wrong,” our parents probably instructed.
Over the centuries, volumes have been written about the meaning and value of truth and a lot of us have a beloved quote about the nature of honesty by our favorite writer, physicist, master, or philosopher. But actually practicing “truth” in a consistent way – both with others and ourselves – is a bit harder.
In fact, the simplicity of the truth concept pretty much fades away after a few minutes of thinking about what it means. What’s the point of truth or truth-telling after all? What’s the problem with not telling the truth? Are there any circumstances when we actually shouldn’t be truthful? And maybe the most challenging of all: What does being truthful with ourselves, as opposed to other people, actually entail?
What’s important to understand about the yamas is that they have to be conceptualized in relation to one another – they don’t exist as discrete entities but they interact with one another in important ways.
Satya speaks to the way we must work with the yamas and niyamas. A truthful application involves more than focusing on them singularly and in a vacuum; there is a dynamic interplay between them… In a sense, they incorporate a system of checks and balances.
One of the goals of yoga is to gain freedom from the “sufferings” in our lives – and to be free from them, we first have to accept them. Satya means being truthful and real about our shortcomings, our messes, and the places in our life where we have an opportunity to grow and transform. Yoga is about transformation. Yoga is about realizing freedom is already right here, right now. While a lot of people might have visions of yoga leading to some sort of ecstatic blissful state, more likely, and especially today, union is about waking up into your mess and connecting to the divinity within that. Looking honestly at parts of ourselves, what we may not be comfortable with is much easier if we remove the element of self-judgment that makes it so difficult. When we begin to see our problems with a little detachment, rather than judgment, it’s easier to address the internal issues (the “mess”) that we may have ignored in the past.
Sitting with unpleasantness and learning not to be consumed by it is a big part of yoga – both the physical and philosophical aspects. How do you integrate satya into your life? What happens when you don’t?
Written by: Alice G. Walton, PhD
'Is my "yes" coming from a dark corner or from the light in my heart?'