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Sacred Month: Sacred Movement

There is a great self-imposed stress to “keep in routine” when it comes to exercise in Ramadan. Yet this sacred month is here to take us out of routine. We are forced to abandon the “normal” pre-occupying worldy worries and frivolities and replace them with reflective thoughts, deep meaningful contemplations and activities of selflessness.

We could use this sacred month to also change our exercise regimes radically from the usual. We could abandon our selfish pursuits of weight loss , personal bests and achievements and actually form a deep meaningful connection with the our bodies. In the spare time we have, we could learn to really listen to the body and what it has been trying to tell us all year. We could use our bodies , owned and provided by Allah, as a sign (ayah) to get closer to the Creator. After all movement is a divine gift not to be taken lightly.

Although exercise is the most effective medicine for the physical body, we can actually use it as a distraction from deeper issues and emotional traumas that are stuck in the body and our psyche. The release of endorphins numb the pain and give us the injection of pleasure we all crave in this world. Furthermore the form of exercise we are encouraged to engage in (gym classes, harsh workouts etc) can cause negative, imbalancing effects in our energy field and our emotional bodies. By focussing on acheivement, goals and physical results we increase our masculine energy at the detriment of the feminine. We can also use goal-orientated exercise as a replacement for doing the hardest work-jihad al nafs. Its so much easier to focus on the external progress than face the mirror of the ego.

Ramadan has come to heal the soul, mind and body so why put ourselves through the same grinding routine as the rest of the 11months or dwell in the guilt of not being able to exercise during the month? Why not make a radical change for 30 days? Ramadan is a chance to increase our Taqwa (God-consciousness) and we can certainly do this through deep contemplation of the body we have been blesed with. We just need a mindset change – a reframing of movement as worship to Allah swt.

A sacred month is the time to indulge in sacred movement. Movement with intention, with awareness. Movement that changes our relationship with the body and with our Creator. Movement that is more natural, slower and organic and leads to balance in the body and in the spirit.

What does it all involve you ask? Here are some ideas.

The Breath

This is our most intimate and miraculous connection with Allah. The breath is a divine gift which we all too easily take for granted. It is the most important movement we do. Spend some time, whatever is achievable for you, in deep,conscious mindful breathwork. Just slowing down the breath and initiating it from the belly will activate the vagus nerve which is crucial for taking us into relaxed and healing states.

Slow , deep breathing massages the internal organs where many emotions lay stuck and is also intimately connected to the fascial and lymphatic drainage system .As you breathe in , imagine inhaling the light and energy (chi/prana) from Allah , say La ilaha illallah as you inhale and focus your attention gently on your heart. And as you exhale allow La ilaha illallah to permeate through your body until every part of you is proclaiming your belief.

Feel the expansion and contraction in every part of your body , just as the universe and much of nature expands and contracts. As you imagine your heart nourishing your body with Laillaha ,you will feel a deep connection with the Creator.

Walk in Nature

True healing can only occur in Allah’s creation. Go into the green and allow your body to sync with the vibration of His created universe. Keep your movements gentle, slow and mindful. Be utterly aware of your place as Allah’s deputy on Earth and bring love and appreciation into your heart for all the beauty you see around you. You will find this lightens your step. You can choose to listen to a favourite Surah or find a verse that mentions nature and contemplate over it. You could go through some of the names of Allah and try and see them in the surroundings. For example as you watch the birds fill their bellies on the fruits of the trees or in the grasses, you will see al-Muqit (the Nourisher).

Touching trees or grass, walking barefoot are very grounding activities which again stimulate the vagus nerve and take us naturally into relaxation mode. The energy exchange between man and nature is a gift and an opportunity not to be missed. As time progresses notice in wonder the cycles and patterns around you which are miraculously mimicked within you too. The seasons change just as we do, in cycles of growth and dormancy, light and darkness.

Walking is extremely underated as a form of exercise . Walking is a natural and gentle movement that soothes the nervous system and gently stretches and strengthens the muscles, releasing tension and clearing energy channels . Always try to walk with your mouth closed, breathing through the nose. Walk with awareness of all parts of your body , focussing on each part one by one. You will notice that every part of you is connected in an amazing complex system that all works perfectly together. No part of your body is in isolation. Just like the universe, the system is miraculously ordered by our Creator. Everything in perfect balance. Revel and bask in the amazingness of it and cherish your walks by prioritising them as a sacred time for the self and self-purification, self-reflection .

Zone in

Take time to sit and breathe in nature , perfectly still, and go inward. Go to the places of your body that are in pain or perhaps are not as perfect as you desire. Often we hold a subtle but deep-seated anger or hate towards these parts of our own body! May Allah forgive us. Go to these areas with your breath and bring compassion into your heart. Realise that pain is just your body’s language to request a change. Imagine vital nutrients and oxygen being supplied to those areas as you breathe in with compassion and feel the expansion inside you. As you exhale imagine you are gently getting rid of the waste (pain , tension) from these places. Soothe those parts with your internal talk, forgive yourself and your body for holding tension and trying to control your body so much and then let go of the need to be perfect or a certain way. Bring the feeling of gratitute to painful areas thanking your body for alerting you and warning you to change. Reflect over qwhat changes need to be made. Ask Allah to bring light into your body as He is An-Nur. Ask for wellbeing and healing. This may not seem like movement but it is a very localised and targeted way of expanding and contracting specific areas where emotions are often stuck.

Be gentle

Use easy, repetitive movements that stimulate your lymphatic drainage, a much neglected system in the medical mainstream. Tapping, shaking, stretching and massaging parts of the body as well as deep breathing can all be done anytime and anywhere. These movements are very special as they are linking to acupressure points, meridien channels and the vagus nerve and have a profound influence on our energy bodies.

The Body’s Energy field

General exercise does not get into these nooks and crannies as effectively. Trauma release often occurs with these simple repetitive movements and certainly the energy field around us can be enhanced to produce a deep sense of wellbeing .

Allah tells us that there is a cure for every disease, and HE has provided it for us. So lets use His provision. Its out on our doorstep…NATURE… and its within our bodies , ie our immune systems. I hope this inspires you to love your body, how it moves and its capacity to heal and of course to love our Creator who gave us such an awesome gift.

Please share any Ramadan movement experiences too 🙂

2 Responses so far.

  1. Sobhia says:

    This was really amazing to read and actually hit home. We rush and race so much that it’s hard to not to do that in Ramadan. Insha Allah I will be more mindful and implement these ideas daily. Thanks Afsha x

  2. Doha says:

    Very insightful and beautiful! Thank you Afsha ♥️

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