Muslim Yogis Share the Parallels Between Yoga and Islam

From honoring the moon, prayer, meditation, and ritual fasting, these five yogis show us how they found the connection between yoga and Islam.
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Eid al Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, where millions of Muslims across the globe take part in a fast from sunrise to sunset every day for a month. In honor of the holiday, we're asking Muslim yogis to share their connection to religion and yoga. 

See also Yoga As a Religion?

1. Lara Chandrini

“So why do we fast during Ramadan? .

Simply said, because it’s a time to honor:

  • Ahimsa, by refraining from violence, in thought, word, and action.
  • Satya, by refraining from lying and speaking only the truth, only when necessary and in accordance with ahimsa.
  • Asteya, by refraining from unlawful acts such as stealing.
  • Brahmacharya, by controlling our senses throughout the fasting hours, focusing on our intention to complete the daily fast.
  • Aparigraha, by detaching from worldly possessions, and giving sadaqah and zakat.
  • Saucha, by staying clean, inside and out.
  • Santosha, by humbly accepting our reality, and relearning gratitude towards all the comfort that we had become numb to throughout the year.
  • Tapas, by exercising our willpower and discipline to complete one whole month of fasting.
  • Svadhyaya, by using our time to delve into our spirituality, reading and studying the Quran, attending lectures, etc.
  • Ishvara Pranidhana, by completely surrendering to the one and only lord, and rejoicing in an act of bhakti and devotion.

Oops!!! Did I just describe yoga?

Who would’ve thought, huh?” 

2. Musfirah Asri 

"To get the most out of this salat (Muslim prayer) movement, your body must be straight and spine lengthened. Back not arching but straight, shoulder not rounding, it is curled to the back, chest opened. All of this is to ensure that oxygen flow is smooth as there will be no or less body resistance when we practice a straight and lengthened body in this solat movement.

Your breath has to be mindfully inhaled and exhaled, deeply. This will also ensure enough oxygen is supplied throughout your body and especially to the brain to avoid that yawning (which happens a lot and really disturbs our kushu’ in salat). Mindful and deep breath will also help you to achieve a calmer state of your mind body and soul. A state which we all want and must achieve in our salat and it can be grasp through this mindful practice.”

3. Amina Sanders

“The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything that you want, you already are- Rumi.”

4. Nadiah Fakhrurrazi

“Practice does not necessarily mean physical, it can also be spiritual and in a way, cleansing. Especially in a month where you’re fasting throughout the day, this is a good time to take things slow, observe and reflect. Meditate. I find it even clearer to meditate in this month as there’s nothing I need to be worrying about/doing afterwards. No worrying about what to eat, what to prepare, where and when to eat, what to eat next and the list goes on revolving around food ! I’d say make the most of the time in Ramadan to feed yourself (again not with food) whether through reading the Quran, reading useful materials for your soul or simply, meditate.”

5. Rahaf K

“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (Qur’an, 2: 228) The more I’m reading/listening [to the Quran,] the more I’m in awe of my beautiful religion. Last ten nights are a sprint to the finish line, the whole month of ramadan feels like a marathon.”