Intuition is an instinctive feeling rather than a conscious reasoning. Studies indicate that intuition plays a major role in our lives, telling us when to keep going with a decision or when to back down. However, throughout our lives, we can become so clouded with thoughts, expectations, and societal norms that our intuition can be drowned out, leaving it with a quiet, indistinguishable, and unrecognizable voice. For example, when making a decision, it might be difficult to decipher whose voice is leading your path. Is it the voice of society? Is it the voice of your ego? Or is it the voice of your intuition? The voice of intuition is the energy most connected to God, and the voice that grants you more clarity along your path in life.

Children and animals have the highest intuition because they think less and feel more. As a result, as we grow into adulthood and acquire more thoughts, it becomes increasingly difficult to connect with our intuition. This disconnect leads to unsatisfactory lives and misguided decision-making, which can manifest physically through experiences of choppy breath or constricted breathing. Awareness of your breath and working to change it from “choppy and constricted” to “fluid and deep” will guide you back to your intuition. The more you are aware of your breath, the more you will be able to modify it and alter your feelings and reactions to experiences. For this reason, awareness of the breath is vital and, because of my experiences in yoga, I learned how to also increase self-awareness within the Islamic prayer.

As I felt more connected to God during yoga, I began to recognize that when I performed my prayer, my body had adapted the same breathing pattern I was practicing so diligently in my yoga classes. I quickly realized that the Islamic prayer poses and postures were a simpler form to those I was doing on a yoga mat. Hospital researchers state that performing a “simple” form of yoga five to seven times a day can increase your health significantly. I started applying body alignment, breath work, and muscle engagement into the Islamic prayer and, remarkably, prayer had a new meaning for me. It went from being a mechanical obligation to a newfound way for me to feel grounded, present, focused, and in touch with my intuition—all of which lead me to perform the true dhikr, or remembrance of God. Due to this enhanced spiritual connection, I began to engage in my Islamic prayer more often and eventually began to feel God’s presence every time I took a breath in general; therefore, allowing my Islamic practice to soak into my daily life. I was lead to yoga for physicality purposes but, unexpectedly, yoga lead me to a deeper connection with God, one I had longed for as a child from the very first day I was taught how to pray.

Similar to my story, many adults were not taught the skills or awareness to understand exactly how to stay focused during worship, creating a gap between the direction to “concentrate” and the action of actually doing so. As we mature from childhood to adulthood, staying present in the moment is more of a skillset than an innate trait; and similar to any skill, it needs to be fostered and nurtured to maintain consistency.

Gratitude for my own spiritual experience in addition to being a licensed psychotherapist lead me to embark upon an extensive research journey on the psychological benefits of yoga. It was no surprise to find that there is immense evidence-based literature detailing yoga’s alleviation of depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, and, in the simplest form, pain. Similarly, the Islamic prayer encompasses each of these components as well. Therefore, when applying the same concepts of breath work into the Islamic prayer, one will experience the same healing nature. Also, it is important to keep in mind that one can adapt certain principles learned through yoga into their own religious framework. By way of example, according to psychology research, chanting performed in Sanskrit during yoga practice can easily be modified to reciting Quran in tajweed form (pronunciation of recitation). The therapeutic component comes from sound vibration and sound elongation, not the actual words themselves.

In my own private practice, I began treating adult individuals by combining the use of yoga elements and psychology to heal/manage their distress. To take it a step further, specifically for Muslim clients, I would teach elements of breath work, body alignment, energy points, and the psychological benefits of the poses in Islamic prayer, which lead to multiple testimonials of elevation in mood and spiritual enhancement. One client stated, “After learning a few breathing exercises, I cannot describe how different I felt during prayer. For the first time, my mind did not wander and I felt true devotion in my salat [prayer].” Another client said, “I wish I had understood basic breathing exercises as a child; it would have changed my whole relationship with prayer. I want my children to learn these points.” From a psychological perspective, the emotional benefits are endless when we tap the surface of understanding how much the Islamic prayer has to offer.

In this life, energy follows thought. As we increase our belief in the power of prayer, we will begin to feel this change as well. We use our time during Islamic prayer to connect with God in a special and sacred way. However, if our thoughts hijack our ability to stay present, then that connection is lost. In my personal, professional, and spiritual journey, yoga helped teach me methods to connect to prayer in ways unknown to me before—and for that I am grateful. Maintaining presence in our prayer will seep into maintaining presence in our daily lives; thus, allowing us a way to feel God’s presence with each breath we take.


When performing your prayers, consider your breath work and positioning. Here are a few tips to help you.

“Grounding position” will be consistent throughout the practice. As you are in the grounding position, pick a point somewhere on your prayer mat approximately two feet in front of you and remain focused on maintaining that gaze point.


Takbir (mountain pose, raising hands to the ears)

Grounding Position & Breath Work:

Inhale: Standing; both feet are evenly distributed

Exhale: Four corners of the feet grounded into the earth; heavy weight placed on the heels of the feet while the toes are unclenched

Inhale & exhale: Squeeze your inner thigh muscles together

Inhale & exhale: Flex the glutes

Inhale: Tuck in naval to spine

Exhale: Flex the solar plexus

Inhale & exhale: Back is straight

Inhale: Shoulders are lifted up then exhale and pull the shoulders back as though you are trying to squeeze your shoulder blades together

Inhale & exhale: Soften the shoulders

Inhale: Neck is elongated

Exhale: Ground the heels of the feet so far into the ground

Inhale: At the same time that you are grounding your heels firmly into the ground, pull the crown of the head high up to the sky; experiencing a long stretch in your upper torso


Movement & Recitation:

Inhale: Raise the hands to your ears as you pronounce “Allah,” all the while sustaining the position above with an emphasis on squeezing the shoulder blades together

Exhale: Hands remain by your ears as you pronounce “hu akbar” on the exhale


Sujud (prostration)

Position & Breath Work

Inhale: Grounding position

Exhale: Go into prostration with your forehead touching the floor

Inhale: Elongate your back

Exhale: Tuck your elbows close to your chest; grounding the inner knuckles of your hands into the earth

Inhale: Shoulders go up

Exhale: Shoulders go back and down; away from the face


Movement & Recitation

Inhale: Subhana Rabbi

Exhale: al a’laa


End of Prayer

Position, Breath Work, & Recitation

Inhale: Elongate the neck and spine while grounding your knees into the ground

Exhale: Turn your head to the right; recite “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” while keeping the shoulders down and back while squeezing the shoulder blades together

Inhale: Turn head back to center; elongate the neck and spine again

Exhale: Turn your head to the left; recite “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah” while keeping the shoulders down and back while squeezing the shoulder blades together

Masuma Rasheed is a psychotherapist, registered yoga teacher, and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner, which certifies her to combine yoga practice and psychology together, thus, allowing the combination of the mind and body in the therapeutic healing process.