Wikipedia refers to yoga as traditional physical and mental disciplines originating in India; to the goal achieved by those disciplines; and to one of the six orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy.
It is intimately connected to the religious beliefs and practices of the Indian religions. The influence of yoga is also visible in Buddhism.
Practising yoga won’t cause a Muslim to deviate and become a Hindu but copying or adding elements which are clearly from other religions is not acceptable in Islam. The reminder was given in Surah Al Kafirun.
By practising the act which is endorsed by the Hindu and Buddhism religions, one indirectly permits these religions although the faith in the heart remains unchanged.
Muslims who feel offended need to take this issue seriously. In Islam, there are so many healthy activities well known to be good for the health, physically and mentally.
One such activity is Solat, which is to be performed five times a day. Solat dictates a sequence of movements which is good for the body.
There are some health benefits in performing the prayer as it has been proven to increase concentration and refine memory, provide a calming effect and regulate stress, and make the body healthy and active.
Studies have shown that the act of sujud, or prostrating, in solat, encourages blood circulation to several nerves in the brain which do not receive regular blood flow in normal positions. The hearts and spines of pious Muslims are healthy as they receive constant stimulation.
So why look far for such stuff for a healthy lifestyle when you can find alternatives so close to you?
TENGKU AZLAN SULAIMAN,