Originally Posted by Ahmed.
I think exercises generally bring peace to the body? Of course when applied in moderation and with the appropriate guidelines being followed, for the right purposes. It may also fall under (the) worship (of Allah). As everything done to gain His pleasure or fulfill His guidance (including taking care of ourselves) would be a form of worship.
Imam Al Haddad in the Book Of Assistance wrote that: "A sincere intention may change the merely licit into the devotional, for means are judged according to their ends. For example, one may eat to get the strength to perform devotions, or sleep with one's wife to obtain a son who would worship God"
The query is whether something (yoga practices) is of an illicit or licit means. And, knowing it's origins in shirk and discovering that these exercises were used originally to worship other than Allah, isn't comfortable for me. For instance;
In Sanskrit Ashtanga is translated as "Eight Limb path." Ashtanga yoga involves a very physically demanding sequence of postures, so this style of yoga is definitely not for the beginner. It takes an experienced yogi to really love it. Ashtanga starts with five sun salutation A's and five sun salutation B's and then moves into a series of standing and floor postures. In Mysore, India, people gather to practice this form of yoga together at their own pace—if you see Mysore-led Ashtanga, it's expected of you to know the series. Vinyasa yoga stems from Ashtanga as the flowing style linking breath to movement.
However, decided to adopt other neutral based exercises (whose main purposeful function is to strengthen the body, not mixed with worship in action or intention) like pilates and may leave the possibilities open for a nonreligious version and teaching which focuses only on strengthening the body without the meditation, without the hands adopting shirk etc-meant to be devotionals act to other than Allah. Because I believe there is always an importance for distinctions to be made with the intention and even the means: such as the changing of the Qiblah, the awareness for prayer being made by the Azan (unique call to prayer than other beliefs measures that were adopted). Additionally, mostly trying to determine something on a personal level - and it's directly related with the need to examine more intensely different influences.