Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 September 2019

What to consider when practising yoga during Ramadan

Yoga is a gentle way to stay active during Ramadan. Courtesy Phoenix Rising
Yoga is a gentle way to stay active during Ramadan. Courtesy Phoenix Rising

The physical and emotional benefits of yoga are widely spoken about, but yoga is also an ideal practice for Ramadan.

“Contrary to some more traditional advice on avoiding exercise while fasting, taking a yoga or Pilates class during Ramadan can actually be beneficial to our physical and mental wellbeing during the Holy Month,” says Amanda Duncan, co-founder of Phoenix Rising studio in Dubai.

“We champion taking a tailored approach to Pilates and yoga all year round so whether in a group or one-to-one setting, the number one recommendation is to let the instructor know if you are fasting so he or she can make suggestions for alternative poses and keep a watchful eye over you while you practise.”

June 21 is International Yoga Day and to mark the occasion, Duncan has put together some tips on how to get the most from your practice during Ramadan.

Consider the type of yoga class: Ramadan can be an ideal time to explore slightly different styles of Pilates or yoga classes. If individuals usually practise a more fast-paced vinyasa style, Ramadan might be the time to explore a slower-paced, more restorative class such as hatha or yin. Or perhaps use the opportunity to “re-set” and take a beginners class to explore all the key concepts again.

Time of day: When fasting, energy levels are likely to be at their lowest in the afternoon so it might be wise to consider a gentler-paced class first thing in the morning, or just before breaking the fast at iftar or even later in the evening at least two hours after iftar. This way individuals can continue to practise but won’t burn too much vital energy needed through the day.

The poses: After iftar, incorporating twisting poses into a practice is a great way to aid the digestive process. If fasting, consider avoiding strenuous poses like headstands but techniques like The Hundred in Pilates or rolling like a ball are a great way to get the oxygenated blood flowing around the body, which can help with energy levels.

More meditation: Often those who are fasting, increase their meditation time during practice to be present and thankful and ensure mindfulness throughout the Holy Month. Even if not fasting, Ramadan presents an opportunity to slow down the pace of life and reflect more on yourself, your own wellness goals and perhaps practise more mindfulness and gratitude.

Breathing throughout day: During Ramadan, paying close attention to breathing can really help, particularly in the first few days of fasting. Deep, slow, rhythmic breath can draw energy from deep within ourselves and focus the mind to overcome mental challenges people might be experiencing when their blood sugar and energy levels are lower and their normal daily routines are very different.

Updated: June 14, 2017 04:00 AM

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