A Muslim reader pointed out to me yesterday that Yoga is not permissible in Islam. Rather than shooting her down or taking it in without verifying it, I did some research. She maybe right. Yoga has its roots in Buddhism and Hinduism, with its core philosophy being to ignore religious tenets and focus entirely in grounding yourself in exploring your body. You work towards achieving physical perfection and therefore able to extend your awareness and open up yourself to the supreme being. The movements and the names of each invoke a form of sun worship and have been construed as being lewd and at times unnatural. The fact is that even if like me you have just been looking to use it as a form of physical exercise, it can not be separated from its Buddhist and Hindu characteristics. Therefore I need an alternative.
Pilates is based on the principles of the perfect exercise system developed by a German man named Pilates at the beginning of the 20th century. He looked at different forms from Eastern and Western traditions (including yoga and tai chi). He even helped develop the US Army’s training regime. Though it uses various traditions, it follows its own core philosophy and principles. In Yoga, the focus is on meditation, breathing and holding positions. Pilates is about controlled movement and building core muscles.
Other exercise systems like calisthenics or dance based exercise are also out there too, but the former is really aimed at a good level of fitness and strength, and the latter has niche appeal and isn’t suited to Muslims.
In the end, I used pilates today as a warm and cool down, and did 15 minutes of dumbell training. I’m on the lookout for a dumbell training programme on YouTube, so if you know of any add a link in the comments section.
I studied this morning, looking at how collective learning theory differs from individual approaches to learning, though the article that I was reading seemed more focused on social justice than pedagogy.
Today’s meal was salmon with roasted potatoes and Mediterranean vegetables. Served with a generous dollop of ketchup.