... And Breath....

My philosophy on yoga: Being a British Muslim woman with a degree in Economics, teaching  Yoga can sometimes raise “eyebrows” in the Muslim community. I believe this comes from the common misconception that to practice Yoga fully, one must adhere to the ancient Hindu or Buddhists faiths and that there is an ‘ethical conflict’ of ideologies and practices with Islam. I believe that this is not the case and that as a practising Muslim and I can enjoy the benefits and positivity of Yoga. I believe that Yoga is for everyone, irrespective of ethnicity, age, sex, culture and religion. If we can regard Yoga as a complete health management system – something that benefits our body (physically and mentally), then I believe that Yoga has something to offer everyone – including the wider Asian community. This is a community that for so long has not been able to access physical exercise and holistic mental training. Interestingly, there is a huge common ground between Yoga teachings and my faith. They are preaching the same positive values – the Yamas and Niyamas in Yoga promote how we conduct our self in society (ethical considerations) by practising, love and kindness ( Ahimsa), truthfulness (Satya ), not stealing (Asteya), Moderation (Brahmacharya) and not hoarding, feeling no loss (Aparigrha). These are all human values that we can all easily agree to uphold, and I would like to bring these core values into my teaching of yoga, on and off the mat. As a yoga teacher, I believe it is imperative that you teach what you practice and you practice what you teach. The “Asnas” (poses) in Yoga help us maintain a healthy, limber, strong, muscles and bones. It also helps our internal organs to run more smoothly, for example, certain Asnas has proven to help improve our digestive system and as a result, can help relieve so many health problems. From an ethical perspective, I believe that my views on practising Yoga and my values as a Muslim are wholly compatible and Yoga complements my faith.  People irrespective of gender,  ethnicity and religion can practice a complete health management system, and that there is a huge common area of spirituality that can co-exist across all faiths and good moral values. Mumtaz Haque