By Mishayl Naek
If changing the TV channel is your idea of a Ramzan work out, then this is the article for you. Certain exercises can easily be integrated into your daily fast, and yoga with its emphasis on invigoration and relaxation, is the perfect Ramzan activity.
We spoke to Salina Taqi, the Yogi at Studio X, and she told us that “during the long hours of fasting, one should get the body moving to increase metabolic rate and heighten one’s energy levels.” In fact research also shows that by adding in moderate yoga, one can feel refreshed and maintain calmness while fasting. Yoga will also help release toxins on an empty stomach, research suggests.
Salina has created a yoga practice specifically designed for Ramzan, and Women’s Own will be sharing the flows on a weekly basis. She recommends practicing the flows right when you wake up, an hour before iftaar or 2-3 hours post iftaar. Each pose should be initially held for 5 breaths and then you can go straight into the yoga flow as she has shown in these images. Each pose and flow has been designed to alleviate muscle ache, release toxins and bring attention to your breath.
Yoga flow week 1
Mountain Pose > Chair Pose > Forward Fold > Downward Dog > One legged Downward Dog > Crescent Lunge > Child Pose
Stand straight and tall, hands by your side and find your balance and your breath.
Strengthens thighs and ankles, while toning the shoulders, butt, hips, and back. It stretches the Achilles tendons and shins, the shoulders and opens the chest. Tones your digestive organs and heart and holding the pose heart rate, stimulating the circulatory and metabolic systems.
- Starting in mountain pose, exhale and bend the knees. Reach your hips down like you’re sitting on the back of a chair and bring your weight to the heels of your feet.
- Press your shoulders down and back, trying to arch your spine. Keep yourself relaxed and reach your hands to the sky, fingers stretched.
- Hold for 5 Breaths.
From Chair pose straighten your knees and go into a forward fold.
Downward Facing Dog
Builds strength while stretching the whole body. Since it is a mild inversion it provides relief from headaches, insomnia, fatigue, and mild depression. Flow of blood to the brain calms the nervous system, improves memory and concentration, and relieves stress.
- Step back into an inverted V-shape, spread the fingers wide apart with the middle finger facing forward, and the palms shoulder width apart.
- Press the hips up and back, reaching your chest towards the thighs. Lift up through the tailbone to keep the spine straight and long.
- Make sure your feet are hip’s width apart with the toes facing forward. Press the heels into the floor and you’ll feel in the back of the legs. The legs can be straight or you can have a small bend at the knees to keep the back flat. Try pressing your heels back into your mat.
- Let the head and neck hang freely from the shoulders or look up at the belly button.
- Hold for 5 breaths.
One legged Downward Dog
- From Downward-Facing Dog, lift one foot up to the sky while the opposite foot is rooted down in the earth. The hips are squared and the toes are active.
- Your forehead reaches down while you rotate your shoulder blades inward.
- Hold for 5 breaths. Return to Downward Dog and repeat with the other leg.
Considered a balance pose, backbend, and heart opener, it helps the front of the body to expand, which increases energy and reduces fatigue.
- From downward dog, step your right foot forward with your knee directly above the ankle in a 90 degree angle.
- The back leg is straight, no bend in the knee, and the weight is distributed backwards onto the toes as the back heel pushes back and down towards the earth. Your heel is raised and you are balancing on your toes.
- The inner thighs scissor towards each other and the pelvis is tucked under with the ribcage lifted and the chin slightly tucked.
- The spine is long and extended. Chest is facing forwards and your arms are straight up towards the sky no bend in the elbows or the wrists.
- Hold for 5 Breaths.
Advanced: Crescent Lunge with Twist:
- Twist your torso towards one side and your left elbow rests on your right knee (opposite elbow to knee). Bring your palm into a prayer position, your right elbow reaching towards the sky. Hold for 5 breaths.
- Return to Downward dog and repeat with the other leg.
Bring yourself into downward dog and end in Childs Pose.
As a resting pose centers, it calms and soothes your mind and is a therapeutic posture for relieving stress.
- Lower your hips to the heels and forehead to the floor. Bring your knees to the floor. Have the knees together or if more comfortable, spread the knees slightly apart for a deeper stretch.
- Your arms are stretched in front of you with palms on the floor.
- Hold for 5 breaths.