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Begging Exercises For Better Health?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Continuing on with my exploration of the various positions one could assume when praying, begging, asking, entreating, imploring, importuning, or conjuring, I discovered that certain "prayer positions," in particular, the Islamic "salah or salat" has been proven to directly benefit your health. So, I'm thinking about formulating my own set of "begging exercises." 

prostration in prayer is healthy

Here's the article I found at at

An important aspect of every religion is prayer. A prayer is an action or practice of communicating, commonly with a sequence of words, to a deity or spirit for the purpose of worshiping, requesting guidance, confessing sins, or to express one’s thoughts and emotions.

The great spiritual traditions offer a wide variety of devotional acts. There are morning and evening prayers, graces said over meals, and reverent physical gestures.

Prayers exist in many different forms. Some Christians bow their heads and fold their hands. Native Americans dance. Some Sufis whirl. Hindus chant. Orthodox Jews sway their bodies back and forth. Quakers keep silent. Almost every religion has it’s own form and structure.

What you might not know:

Prayers, apart from nourishing your soul, are also good for health! A Malaysian study suggests that prostration in praying is benefic for one’s health. Salah (or Salat - the Islamic prayer), is an exercise which is good for hearth and spine. It also enhances memory and concentration abilities.

The Islamic prayer consists of the following steps:

  1. standing with hands on top of each other at chest level
  2. bowing down with hands resting on knees
  3. standing up from bowing with hands by the side
  4. going in prostration (Sajda) once
  5. lifting face up from prostration but sitting on the ground
  6. doing a second prostration (Sajda) and then getting up
These physical movements that a Muslim does during prayer strengthen the joints and muscles and stimulate blood circulation. Consequently, they also prevent the stagnation of blood in the veins of the legs (which may lead to coagulation and other problems).

Here's an illustration:

Sajdah (prostration) is a unique position or stance in the regular prayers, which a Muslim is supposed to offer at least five times a day. Although the basic purpose of obligatory prayers isn’t to provide physical exercise for people, it is being increasingly recognized that it has plenty of medical advantages.

Sajdah is a unique position as this is the only position in which brain (or head) becomes lower than the heart and hence for the first time the blood gushes towards the brain with full force whereas in all other positions (even when lying) brain is above the heart when it has to work against gravity to send blood to the brain.

In the position of Sajdah, due to the increased blood supply, the brain receives more nourishment and this has good effect upon memory, vision, hearing, concentration, psyche and all other cognitive abilities. People who offer their prayers regularly have more will power and can cope with the difficulties of life in a much better manner. They have fewer incidences of headaches, psychological problems and other defects of cognitive function.

Prostration in prayer

Muslim prayers are not the only ones to have such benefic prayer movements.

References to kneeling and prostration to express one’s humbleness before the Almighty abound in the Bible and are practiced by such notables as Abraham, Moses and Aaron, Joshua, Elijah, Solomon and Jesus.

Prostration in prayer is still practiced by some members of the Russian Orthodox Church and some Catholics still maintain kneeling in prayer. In contrast, Baptists and other Christian denominations have abandoned kneeling, and the Jewish liturgy has eliminated it altogether. The only exception perhaps is the Samaritan Jew, whose prayer is similar to the Muslim’s prayer, but for the language.

I’m Christian, and I haven’t abandoned kneeling. Seems like a good thing.

While getting up from Sajdah the perennial muscles are one of those muscles which have to pull the trunk back to sitting position and they contract actively.

Similarly while standing up from Sajdah, the perennial muscles are again actively mobilized and this gives much strength to the muscles important for manpower.

The unique position of Sajdah also has positive effects upon the back muscles as while going into Sajdah and getting up from it the back muscle contract actively and they become stronger. Probably it is because of this reason that a person who is regular in prayers will uncommonly get backache.

Although prayer in religion is not meant to be an exercise, there are lots of medical advantages associated with it. Still, the best thing a prayer can offer is peace of mind.

I think I should be praying more…

I thought that was pretty cool! Did this trigger any thoughts or ideas? How do you feel about assuming a specific position or series of postures when begging, asking, wishing, or praying?

And once again, for those of you following that first project here's a link to Shaking Things Up. Which makes me think of Shakers, and possibly shaking and begging - and could that be accomplished, and if so how effective would that be? I wonder...


Anonymous said...

Hey thank you for this! I'm a Muslim and try to pray all 5 times a day, and never thought about the full medical/psychological benefits of salat. I know that throughout my life, I never felt better than when I am in the position of prostration.

BTW, I accidentally stumbled across your website from a link on

Cindy H said...

First off, welcome to our new Muslim contributor!! Those of us who have been part of the Prosperity Project from the beginning are always so excited to have new people involved! So, welcome, welcome, welcome!!

The whole prayer position thing is very relavent in our discussions about begging versus praying. When I picture someone begging, when a child begs for a toy, or in movie where someone is begging the king to spare his life, these types of positions are usually used, with hands in prayer position or down on the knees, or prostate are seen. We had mentioned before that begging is sort of a more desperate act of prayer and this seems to illustrate that fact.

Shirley Twofeathers said...

When I was researching this particular post - it occured to me also that prostration is also an act of extreme respect and reverance.

And after reading these comments, I realized that I very rarely assume any position of respect and reverence. My relationship with God tends to be more "Jerry Springer" than anything else...

Sometimes, when I'm out in nature, I might experience the emotion of reverance and respect... but to fall to my knees? Never...

And I'm wondering, does that make me arrogant? prideful? withheld? I dunno!

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