Dubai: Yoga is slowly gathering a following among the Muslims in Dubai and many of them are enjoying the benefits of yoga even during Ramadan.
Dozens of members of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community, for example, became yoga enthusiasts after a workshop by Dubai-based lifestyle consultant and yoga instructor Dr Vishwas Chhabra last year, said Shabbir Master, a senior member of the community.
“It was a session on total well-being wherein we were taught breathing techniques and some yoga exercises.”
Before joining the session, he said many had thought yoga would be difficult for them. “But after the training, our mindset changed. We started having regular practice and are enjoying the benefits. Now I feel 30 minutes of yoga gives me energy for the whole day.”
A pharmacist by profession and the head of the community’s first aid team, Master said yoga has helped some community members even in performing their religious activities.
“Some people had to use chairs for performing the namaz before they started yoga [as they had knee or back problems]. Now they can pray without the help of chairs and they are all above 60 years of age,” he said.
Being a diabetic with joint pains, Master said he has personally benefited from yoga in managing these conditions. “There are about 25 doctors in our community. Three of them are regularly practising yoga.”
“This is our first Ramadan after we learnt yoga. I used to get joint pain and feel lethargic in Ramadan earlier. Due to yoga practice this time, it is all gone. We are doing yoga after the isha prayers around 10pm. We feel more energetic,” said Master.
He said more members of the community have wished to join the group and more training sessions are planned. Master and five other members of the group are volunteering and participating at the IYD Dubai event.
Another member of the community, Murtaza Master, a finance executive, said a group of about 25 members are practising yoga twice a week in Al Nahda. “You can concentrate better. It has become a regular habit for us.”
He said the group doesn’t perform many asanas during Ramadan. “During Ramadan, we practise at home and do small sessions in the morning. Mainly we do pranayama and some stretching exercises.”
He said the group has professionals, businessmen, chartered accountants and even college boys. “Yoga is not about any particular religion. It is akin to a how you need a [good] diet for living; similarly, you need [proper] exercise for your body’s wellness,” said Master.
It is not just the Bohra community members who are practising yoga in Dubai. Dr Saeed Khan, an ophthalmologist and the assistant medical director of Jumeirah Prime Medical Centre, is another example of a Muslim performing yoga during Ramadan.
“I was a gymnast and athlete earlier,” said Dr Khan. “But due to irregular practice, my flexibility became poor. Although I used to go for morning walks, I wanted to do something else to feel fit and flexible. A friend of mine invited me to join her yoga group.”
Yoga for one-and-a-half hours twice a week in the past six months has seen Dr Khan improving his flexibility. He said, “I used to have a lot of blocked nose phases. With the breathing technique, that is much better now. The more we practise, the better we can inhale.
“[Yoga] doesn’t involve much loss of electrolyte and you don’t feel thirsty. Instead, it calms up the mind and gives you the energy for the day.”
Yoga during Ramadan
Dubai: Dubai — based lifestyle consultant and yoga instructor Dr Vishwas Chhabra explained the benefits of yoga during Ramadan.
“Ramadan is the month for detoxification of body, mind and soul. As yoga means union, so does this month of the union of body and mind enlighten the soul. So practising yoga during this month will not only help in keeping body physically active but also improve concentration,” said Dr Chhabra, who has been selected by the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi to represent the UAE at the International Yoga Day Conference in India.
Dr Chabbra said many yoga postures can be easily practised during Ramadan. They will improve muscle strength; increase blood flow, offer lymphatic drainage and boost immunity. They will improve metabolism, lower blood sugar level, reduce stress and improve quality of sleep, he said.
Yoga Day event in Dubai on Saturday
Dubai: Thousands of yoga followers of different nationalities are expected to participate in the second International Yoga Day event in Dubai on Saturday.
Organised by the Indian Consulate in Dubai under the patronage of Shaikh Ahmad Bin Mohammad Rashid Al Maktoum, the president of the UAE Olympic Committee and the president of Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, the event will take place at two venues inside the Dubai World Trade Centre from 7.30pm.
Gates open at 6pm onwards for venue I and 7pm onwards for venue II, where the session will be staggered by 30 minutes for those who are fasting. The sessions will commence with an introduction to yoga and end with a prize distribution ceremony in categories such as volunteers and schools that practise yoga for physical and mental health. International experts of various streams of yoga will lead the sessions in both the venues.
Details of the pickup and drop-off points and contact details of the coordinators can be accessed on the event’s website — www.iyd.ae — and its social media channels.
Author: Sajila Saseendran