Yoga for Ramadan

flickr-Boss Tweed

One of them any things I love about yoga is the diversity. You wouldn’t know it from the images used in marketing but many different types of people enjoy yoga. That includes religious diversity. Over the last several days, I’ve had many students ask for yoga pose recommendations for lethargy or excess energy. I recognize these extremes as by products of daytime fasting during long summer days. Many yoga teachers in the U.S. don’t have much experience with Ramadan. I’m grateful that I do. Through close friends and travel throughout the Middle East, I’ve had amazing experiences at weddings, celebrations and Ramadan.

Sometimes before Iftar, there’s a surge of energy.  A mellow, calming practice, referred to as a Langhana practice, can balance the excess energy and get the body warmed up and prepared for breaking the fast. An evening yoga practice, after Iftar, can be a little more invigorating, or Brahmana, including twists to aid digestion. Mornings vary during the fast. Some people spring out of bed and others are more lethargic.

Listen to your body and alter your practice as needed to achieve balance. Here are some yoga sequence recommendations.

Langhana: If you feel over-energized or caffeinated start standing. Take a few deep breaths consciously making the exhalation a little longer. ~exhale to uttanasana (forward fold) ~inhale to ardha-uttanasana (half fold) ~exhale back to uttanasana ~inhale to standing Repeat a few times until the rhythm of the breath guides the movement. Sometimes, that’s all you need. Other poses to calm the body are: ~Prasarita Padottanasna A (standing wide leg forward fold with hands on floor) ~Balasana (child’s pose) ~Bhujangasana (baby cobra) ~Baddha Konasana (cobbler’s pose) ~Vipariti Karani (legs up the wall)

Brahmana: It’s challenging to get on the mat when your energy is low. Start slowly and ease through; ~Surya Namaskara A (first sun salutation) ~Surya Samaskara B (second sun salutation) ~Salabasana (locust pose) ~Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (bridge pose) ~Marichyasana C (seated twist)

These poses can help after the season as well to use the practice to stay balanced and focused on and off the mat.

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