Hello all, and welcome to Fourth Chakra Yoga, my offering to you as a Sufi Yoga teacher and practitioner.
As is our practice in yoga, let us begin by finding ourselves in our body.
Lengthen your spine. Root down through your sit bones, feel the weight of your body pulling down. Feel the firmness of the earth beneath you, supporting your weight.
Let’s take a deep breath together. Inhale. Let your breath exit from your mouth with a loud sigh.
Bring your hands to your heart, and let us chant an opening prayer from the Sufi tradition, calling upon God as the Gentle and Subtle One whose love and tenderness radiates through the universe:
Ya latifan bi khalkihi, ya ‘aliman bi khalkihi, ya khabiran bi khakihi
Ultuf binna ya latifu ya ‘alimu ya khabir
O’ you, who holds your creatures gently, who knows the creatures best, and who is most aware of us–may you clothe us in your tenderness, you who are gentle, knowing, and aware.
Welcome to Sufi Yoga. May we radiate divine tenderness through our words, thoughts and deeds.
My name is Sara. I am a yoga teacher trainee and a Ph.D. student living in Toronto, Canada. I study the mystical dimensions of the Islamic tradition and am personally interested in the tradition of Sufi Yoga.
I first encountered Sufi Yoga in a class about Southeast Asian Islams two years ago. I had been studying Sufism and mystical expressions of Islam for about four years at that point. Four months ago, I looked up an old 18th century manuscript of a 12th century text called Hawd al-Haya, or The Pond of Life. This is an old mystical Islamic yoga manual that explained to Muslim mystics how to attain spiritual enlightenment by means of breath work (pranayama), yogic postures (asanas), and vocalizations of sacred sounds (mantras). While the text relied heavily on the philosophy of yoga in India at the time, it created a new form of yoga tailored to Islamic cosmology, philosophy, medicine and spirituality. I translated this text and began using it as a model for my own yoga practice, incorporating my knowledge and practice of Sufi Islam along the way.
While there still exist Sufis who practise Islamic yoga in northwest India today, the tradition of Sufi yoga is a largely unexplored avenue of mystical Islamic spirituality.
I want to present Sufi yoga as an offering to those of you interested in deepening your spirituality and engaging in healthful practices that engage your body, mind and soul. I also want to reach out to Muslim women who would feel more at home in a yogic practice that is born out of an Islamic spirituality and an embodied approach that appreciates the sacred feminine.
I approach my yoga with deep reverence for the Muslim tradition I come from, and the Sufi tradition that opened its doors to me in my adulthood. I focus deeply on the majesty of female spirituality as well as self-healing as a mode of spiritual fulfilment. If you feel called to similar things, I look forward to connecting with you through this blog and perhaps in person one day.
My hope is that this blog will serve as one of three branches that will grow out of my own spiritual practice. This blog will include knowledge, insights and meditations on subjects related to Sufi yoga. In June 2016, I intend to begin offering Sufi yoga as a private practice in Toronto for those seeking an embodied experience of what I offer here. In 2017, I hope to open a studio where Sufi yoga and meditation can be made available to the community at large.
I look forward to meaningfully engaging with you.
May you be filled with peace,