There are two reasons I’m writing this piece. First is, Ramadan is around the corner, I wish you all a blessed, peaceful month! Second is, many people wonder if yoga goes against the teachings of certain religions, or “you’re a Muslim who does yoga? Is that okay?” It really really is! So I decided to take the opportunity here to highlight a few of the things that Ramadan philosophy and yoga philosophy have in common. Feel free to ask anything in the comment section below :)
Self Reflection and improvement
In yoga, we always talk about trying to achieve a better version of ourselves. This is not a goal that you reach, this is a work in process that you keep putting effort into. You’re better than yesterday? Then tomorrow be even better than today. Ramadan is a great time to focus more on this as well. With fasting, you start to bring your awareness to your body, your mind, and your soul. You cleanse your thoughts and your heart. Less judgment about what’s happening outside and more focus on your thoughts and feelings. Ramadan is a great way to refresh and re-energize your spirituality and your true self as well.
Yep, Ramadan is all about charity. People are more giving, sharing and compassionate. You’ll pack meals, you’ll donate to organizations and you’ll help those in need whichever way you can. In yoga philosophy, we talk about selfless service or seva, “a service which is performed without any expectation of result or award for performing it” (Wikipedia).
Avoid Distractions & Practice Detachment
Ramadan is about priorities in life and so is yoga. Through yoga, you shift your awareness inwards and you get to spend less time worrying about the material world and shift your concentration towards the spiritual world. You learn a lot about yourself in the process as well as about your calling. In Ramadan, we’re taught to allocate more time for the self, for worship, reciting the Quran, and understanding our priorities. Use this month to do just that and it’ll help you continue to do so later on.
Who doesn’t love Ramadan gatherings, getting together with friends and family? Ramadan is a bonding experience for many. There’s also the feeling of togetherness when Muslims all around the world are fasting together. Yoga is a bonding experience as well in many ways. Through yoga, you know who you are, you get to your authentic self and this is what you share with others. Not what society wants you to be, what you truly want to be. Also, yoga classes, types, and studios all create communities where you feel safe, understood, and loved. You’re an integral part of your community and Ramadan is another beautiful way to experience this.
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The most important thing is just as we take yoga off the mat with us; take Ramadan off the month with you too. Keep the beneficial habits that you started in Ramadan with you throughout the year. Keep your devotion, your reflection, your true self and the many other things that you can take away from its beautiful teachings.
Namaste; the light within me honors the light within you.