Yoga is a traditional physical and mental discipline that originated in India. It came from the Sanskrit root “yuj,” which means to control, unite and yoke. It literally translates to joining, union or conjunction. A person who practises yoga is often called Yogi or Yogini (female). Yoga is the union between the body, spirit and mind. It has been performed for over 5,000 years.
Yogic practises greatly influenced the growth of Sufism (the inner, spiritual dimension of Islam). Yogi adapted the asanas (physical postures) and pranayam (breath control). The practise of yoga is sometimes incorporated in Islamic life. Islam and yoga share the same belief that the body is a means to the realisation of spirituality and salvation. Through yoga skills, Islam believers are able to venerate Allah better and are then able to become better Muslims. It is believed that both Islam and yoga sprouted from the Primordial Tradition, al-dîn al-hanîf, sanâtana dharma, which every prophet of Allah brought and reaffirmed throughout the ages in all nations, revealed directly from the Creator.
Yoga involves stretching to help the body become more flexible. It involves poses that require supporting the weight of your body while maintaining balance, such as the Tree Pose which increases the body’s strength. Practising yoga will help to shape long, lean muscles. It prevents and alleviates the causes of back pain and it improves body alignment. Yoga also provides the mental benefits of the calmness of mind and it reduces stress and increases body awareness.