Yoga while Fasting


If you don't want to do something, one excuse is as good as another. ~ Yiddish Proverb My biggest concern with fasting this year was around my yoga practice. Everyone I asked discouraged exercising during the fasting hours, and for good reason: Dehydration is hard on creatures whose built is more than 50% water.

But do I have to lose one good practice in order for the other to fit in? Yoga is supposed to be practiced on an empty stomach, and if done correctly, both yoga (or any kind of physical exercise) and fasting are supposed complement each other in flushing out bodily toxins.

In countries where the majority is not Muslim, fasting becomes simplified into what it was supposed to be: self-observation. Similar to the basic idea in vipassana: "This is how thirst and hunger and anger feels like. Do not respond. Just observe."

The underline is that if I wanted to make up excuses not to practice, either fasting or yoga, there are ways to be creative. But if I really wanted to have both (beside writing and sleep and other wonderful things), the argument becomes a lot less complicated: STFU and just do it, dammit.

So I did.

And, shit, it was awesome.

I would not suggest this to anyone unfamiliar with their bodies. I'm pretty fit for a slob and this was not my first week or month yoga-ing. In my case, doing yoga while fasting was the only right thing to do because I am wired to practice in the mornings. Besides, yoga at night means having to put up with mosquitoes and darkness and other pesky things.

It isn't like I'm training for a competition or pining to be the next Olajuwon. Remember Olajuwon? His NBA records during Ramadan settled the rest of the issues I had about training while fasting.

Fasting and yoga were not meant to be served easy; they are designed to challenge the things we that take for granted. In calling ourselves Muslims or Yogis or simply devoted, we strive on serving these offerings as pretty and as uncomplaining as the sun that sets every day in Ramadan.

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