The Islamic Garden
What is Rakha?
Rakha – Blending Ancient Wisdom into Everyday Life
is an innovative health exercise
routine developed by Anthea Kissoon in the
Why Do We Need Rakha?
We live in a world that does not encourage us to think for ourselves. We are often led to believe that we need teachers to learn, doctors to cure, and we are even told what to eat, and fashion designers tell us what to wear. Rakha helps individuals to think freely and connect with the body and mind in a more positive way.
It Is Possible to Be Fit and Healthy
In many parts of the world that still follow a traditional lifestyle, there are people, young and old, who are extremely fit and healthy. They achieve this just by living a natural lifestyle. Anhea Kissoon has traveled to many parts of the world and has witnessed this herself. She comments, “I realized that while they moved they were only doing natural things but without the addition of complicated routines and moves. I learned that our bodies are amazing machines and that if we could concentrate on lifestyle we would also be able to help control and prevent certain illnesses.” The moves made by the individual in the Rakha work out are designed around how our bodies would move naturally without the interference of modern life, mainly machines. This includes things like walking, running, and doing domestic chores. Everyone can do Rakha!
A Positive Mental Attitude and Rakha
The role of the Rakha teacher is to encourage the pupil by trying to unblock his/her stress and tension and focus on positive matters. This is an important part of the Rakha essentials and relaxation. Along with this, the prayer moves are added as a means to promote meditation and self awareness.
Elements of Rakha
The following are the essentials of Rakha:
1. Rakha Essentials (prayer moves)
2. Rakha Elements: Earth = Stretching
3. Rakha Essentials (prayer moves)
4. Earth = Tai Chi
5. Rakha Elements: Fire = Cardio
6. Rakha Essentials (prayer moves)
7. Rakha Elements: Water = Toning
8. Rakha Essentials (prayer moves)
9. Rakha Elements: Air = Breathing
10. Rakha Essentials (prayer moves)
11. Relaxation with aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is used in the last part of the session when doing relaxation. As Rakha incorporates Amoratherapy, Yoga, Tai Chi and the prayer into its routine, it is necessary to understand the ancient wisdom behind these techniques.
Health Benefits of Aromatherapy and the Rakha Workout
Rakha uses aromatherapy along with its breathing techniques in the relaxation part of the work out. For over 6000 years people have been using flower and plant extracts for medicinal purposes. The inhalation of oils causes a chemical reaction in the body, which releases certain chemicals causing relaxation. The scent of the oil can assist in relieving stress and leave the person feeling completely rejuvenated. It is thought that essential oils activate nerve cells in the nose, which send impulses to the limbic system of the brain - the part that deals with emotions and memory. Aromatherapy is used both emotionally to invigorate, calm, relieve stress and more, and physically to help relieve certain conditions by stimulating the immune system, circulatory system and nervous system.
Health Benefits of elements of Tai Chi in the Rakah Framework
Chi originated in
Rakha has taken the concept from Tai Chi uses its gentle flowing movements to reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve muscle strength, increase energy, stamina and agility and improve health and well-being.
Health Benefits of elements of Yoga in the Rakha Framework
Rakha has taken the benefits of the breathing and stretching techniques also found in Yoga. Doing some of the exercises gives the individual increased awareness of his/her body. The individual makes small, subtle movements to improve alignment. Over time, this increases the level of comfort within the body and leads to improved posture and greater self-confidence. The exercises involved are stretching your body in new ways helping it to be more flexible. It also brings a greater range of motion to muscles and joints. As a result of gaining strength you can expect to see increased muscle tone.
The increased flexibility and strength that comes from doing exercises helps prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who suffer from back pain spend a lot of time sitting at a computer or driving a car. This can cause tightness and spinal compression. Some of the breathing techniques found in Yoga also enhance breathing and this is important as most people breathe very shallowly. Stretching is one of the most effective ways of moving the body’s lymphatic system (body’s waste disposal system) which does not have a pump of its own.
Health Benefits of Islamic Prayer
Many scientific studies by non-Muslims have shown that the Islamic form has an immense amount of benefits. It has provided Muslims for fourteen centuries with some of Yoga’s same (and even superior) benefits. Islamic prayer movements offer physical, mental, and spiritual benefits. Each of the prayer positions activates all seven energy fields in the body. Eastern healers believe that each of the energy fields correlate to major nerve pathways that branch from the spinal column. Thus, the concept of activating these nerve centers is like having a chiropractic adjustment or installing a medical stimulating device on the spine to correct corresponding bodily malfunctions. It has been proven that various parts of the body, when activated by touch, movement or thought, evoke specific emotional and physical responses in much the same way that a smile can evoke the feeling of happiness, and actually increase circulation – even if one was feeling sluggish and unhappy before smiling.
Muslims prayer is therapeutic for the mind and body as it is therapy for all the muscles, nerves and joints. These actions help to keep the person in a healthy state and protect him from arthritis, back pains and disc problems, cervical spondylosis, cramps and pains. The standing position normalizes blood pressure and breathing, thus providing many benefits to asthma and heart patients. The placement of the hands on the chest during the standing position are said to activate the solar plexus nerve pathway, which directs our awareness of self in the world and controls the health of the muscular system, skin, intestines, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and eyes.
The bowing position is useful for breathing and focusing. It expands the chest muscles and the air capacity of the lungs. The action of the arms gives full movement to the shoulders and other joints and muscles of the arm. Forming a right angle allows the stomach muscles to develop, and prevents flabbiness in the mid-section. This position also promotes a greater flow of blood into the upper regions of the body – particularly to the head, eyes, ears, nose, brain, and lungs – allowing mental toxins to be released. Over time, this improves brain function and one’s personality, and is an excellent stance to maintain the proper position of the fetus in pregnant women.
The position of prostration fully stretches the backbone and its adjoining muscles, and nerves and protects from backache, pains, cramps and disc problems. This posture also increases the flow of blood. Pressure comes to the lungs, stomach, pancreas, liver, intestines and urinary organs, enhancing their normal function. It also increases the movement of the intestines to push its contents forward for absorption and excretion. Neck bone joints, muscles and nerves also get a full stretch. This position also increases blood circulation to the brain and gives full movement to the shoulder, elbow, wrist and finger joints and gives a stretch to the nerves and muscles of the arms and strengthens them. A full range of movements occur to the hip, knee, ankle, foot and toe joints. It stretches the leg muscles and nerves, increasing blood circulation and keeping all ligaments and tendons, nerves and muscles in a healthy state.
The sitting position is a relaxing time for some joints and muscles; specifically back and neck muscles, and it gives a stretch to the hip, knee, ankle and foot joints, ligaments and adjoining muscles. This posture stretches leg muscles and joints and relaxes shoulder and elbow joints. Furthermore, this position assists in speedy digestion, aids the detoxification of the liver, and stimulates peristaltic action in the large intestine.
The Rakha exercise routine has selected the beneficial elements of various ancient techniques to provide a complete work out for the body, mind and soul. If done regularly the individual will enjoy enhanced health and well-being. Everyone can do Rakha!
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