Even during Ramadan, it’s important to keep healthy and stay energized by doing sports or exercises.
But this doesn’t mean those who are fasting need to play their usual soccer or basketball games or go for a long run. It is necessary to stay hydrated and avoid working up a sweat, so just take up light activities such as walking, biking or beginner’s yoga.
According to some people, exercising during Ramadan is good, especially the time before breaking the fast, as they believe it can be re-energizing. Others want to do something healthy instead of just thinking about food and drink.
Certain yoga styles, which do not require excessive movement, are good for those who are fasting as it can balance the body’s natural system.
There are two important things to remember when fasting. The energy in the body becomes limited as there are fewer calories consumed and there is a lengthy gap between the beginning (predawn meal or sahur) and the breaking (buka) of the fast. Second, there’s a kind of detoxification in the body, a process which is ongoing in an empty stomach.
Yoga practice is an important and very beneficial aspect of fasting as during a fast the body starts to release toxins quite rapidly.
Yoga postures and breathing exercises accelerate the elimination of these toxins, which may otherwise remain longer in the system resulting in side effects such as headaches and a general feeling of tiredness. Yoga would raise the energy level and aid in the body’s detoxification process so that the body remained fit.
Small bending movements such as the cobra and upward dog will raise the chest bone up so the heart will pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. The pressure in the stomach will improve the power of the organs in the stomach. Deep back bending such as the upward bow pose or back bending (urdhva dhanurasana) will also provide similar effects.
Practicing yoga during fasting, however, will require extra strength as energy and blood pressure are lower which may cause side effects such as dizziness for some people. You can use a device such as a chair, pillow or wooden block to do the back bending or wheel pose.
Forward bending will provide relaxation as there is pressure in the forebrain, as the position of the heart is parallel with other body parts, which decreases blood-pumping rates.Yoga’s breathing exercises are also important and a very beneficial aspect for those who are fasting. Breathing exercises increase the oxygen in the body’s cells and balance hormone production. The result is a stabilized, relaxed and fresh body and more energy.”
So, during fasting or normal daily activities when our energy level is low or one is feeling tired after a long working day, yoga re-energizes and restores the body’s natural systems, she reiterates.
The best time to practice yoga during the fasting month is in the morning or at least two hours after eating, as the stomach should be empty. Before breaking the fast is also a good time for yoga as the stomach is really empty and the detoxification process has been underway.
Fasting is not only about hunger and thirst and yoga is not only about exercise. They both purify the body, mind and soul. Through yoga people can exercise, feel relaxed and be purified.
Yoga and fasting go hand in hand. Fasting is an important aspect for the spiritual aspirant, and yoga is very beneficial for one who is seeking purification through fasting. Physically, yoga and fasting also complement each other perfectly and the combination of gentle moving, stretching and twisting together with deep breathing, speeds up the detoxification process. Especially for those fasting and joining a yoga class for the first time :
- It is good to understand what yoga is, read or ask friend about it.
- Wear loose clothing.
- Choose a yoga style, which is less dynamic, and not extremely physically challenging.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Don’t push too hard — it’s not a contest.
- Select an afternoon class, before it’s time to break the fast.
- Introduce yourself to the instructor and discuss any health conditions you may have so he or she will know how to help.
- Sit in the middle of the class to have a clear view of the instructor and the chance to watch other participants, be aware when their position is incorrect.
- Ask questions and discuss any difficulties after class.
Source credit : thejakartapost.com