Are women’s or men’s allowed to partake in Yoga or Pilates classes for exercise purposes in single gender group sessions i.e. women’s only sessions?
May Allah Reward you for your efforts in spreading deen in this world and the hereafter. Ameen Wasalaam
Answer: I don’t know the details of what happens in these classes. However, there are a couple of things which should be kept in mind.
If a type of yoga incorporated the Unislamic chants of, ‘OM’ ‘namaste’ etc. then these chants are a form of shirk. Therefore, there would be no room for their permissibility.
If hypnosis techniques are used, then also these classes would not be allowed.
The mas’alah of purdah also comes into effect. A lady should not uncover herself in front of others.
Exercise has many ways. Why is it necessary to go for a particular one?
If you want to do yoga, you can do it in the confinement of your home. I tried to check on YouTube, and most of the videos on yoga are of females, only a few are of males. You could follow a video of your same gender in your home and get the desired effect of the exercise.
It is worthy of note that whilst doing any form of exercise one should make the intention of staying healthy in order to worship Allah and fulfil the commands of Allah. When we lose health, we can’t even prostrate on the floor,we have to sit on a chair to pray salah. Sometimes we can’t fast.
The best exercise is in salah. Lengthy ruku’ and prolonged sujood will bring you that same soothing effect. Search on the web for ‘benefits of salah’ and you will be amazed at your findings.