Sufi yoga is the union of Sufi practices and the universal science of Yoga. It is a practical field of knowledge that helps cultivate strength, creativity, positivity, self-esteem, confidence, enthusiasm and wisdom.
Anyone can go Sufi
Sufi yoga is not limited to any religion, race, colour or creed. It is for anyone who wants to understand and explore the mystery of the body and mind in relation to the soul, and wants to develop his or her physical, mental and spiritual capacities.
Best of both worlds
Our way of life often creates conflicts between the mind, body and emotions, resulting in confusions, emotional imbalances, disturbed relationships and a general negative attitude towards life. Lack of physical activity complicates matters. It is thus imperative to create a balance within the body, and focus the mind by concentrating on the breath. This is what we focus on first in Sufi yoga.
The other two things that Sufi yoga focuses on to create balance is the power of sound [voice], spontaneous ecstatic movements and the optimum functionality of the body [physical exercises]. These are some of the Sufi practices that together harmonise the inner subtle energies, separate one from the ego, and direct the mind to focus on a singularity. This in turn converts negative emotions into positive energy, and brings balance and a peaceful state of being.
While the Sufi practices help strengthen the mind and spirit, the yogic exercises focus primarily on the physical body, helping build health. The exercises aim to increase flexibility as Sufi yoga believes that your body is as young as it is flexible. The exercises also help strengthen the spine, reduce unwanted fat and clear toxins from the body.
The focus is on overall health and well-being as well as an improved mental outlook towards life.
Sufi yoga begins with an assessment of the body and awareness of agility through yogic practices [asanas or the steady pose], which release energy. Once released, this energy needs to be organised and directed, otherwise it may agitate the mind and make it restless. Sufi practices like focusing on breath, using the power of sound [voice] and spontaneous movements help channel this energy. They help activate the heart and direct emotions toward a higher purpose.
Although Sufi yoga is an individual experience, it is best practiced in a group, together with a common intent.
Something for everyone
Since Sufi yoga is a combination of yogic and Sufi practices, there are different types of exercises that are suited for people with different tendencies. There are exercises for active people, passive people and people who seek physical strength. There are also techniques for building self-confidence and emotional well-being.
Each individual can learn the exercises that suit his/her own body type. Further, there are practices that you can do at home, in a group or individually. Some exercises need committed time, while others can be performed doing day-to-day activities. Whatever, the type of exercise, the main emphasis is on the emotional centres. And since all the centres within the body are interrelated, they need to be given attention to on the whole.
Sufi Yoga increases the motivational forces to realise our purpose and goals in life. This motivation gives us strength of will, which in turn, develops the mental clarity needed to view life objectively. The emotions released by the power of yoga are channelised by Sufi techniques to transform them into positivity. This resonates with the nature of the heart to give it shape and help us develop the right relationship with ourselves, others and the universe. Sufi yoga brings the willingness to relate to the world in our own positive terms, allowing us to say yes to life in its entirety and feel good about it.
A word of caution
It is not advisable to practise Sufi yoga without proper training. Since there are exercises related to your breath, in the initial stages, it is imperative to practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher.
Certain Sufi yoga practices are known as divided attention and are short exercises that can be practiced internally at any place any time—in a meeting, when travelling or while having a conversation with your family and friends. Divided attention refers to an inner detachment from the scene in front of you.
By having an inner presence you create a harmonious field of energy that allows you to determine your actions within that energy field. It is like standing at the centre of your being and viewing the entire scene in front of you, without completely identifying with it or getting entirely involved. This gives birth to the possibility of responding to circumstances as opposed to reacting to them.
Just as your physical body has reflexes to protect itself, you also have inner faculties that can be used to protect against situations that may be harmful to your emotional centres. This may otherwise lead to stress, fatigue, anger and/or volatile behaviour. This particular awareness can be created in several ways depending on the individual’s inner tendencies, and is very practical in many circumstances.
One of the ways to do this is to keep a part of your attention focused on the movement of the breath within you. It’s like establishing a friendship with your breath. Over time, you will start living this, and you will be surprised at the power of divided attention or inner presence.
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