My understanding is that the word ‘namAz’ has its origins in the sanskrit word namAh. Both mean “salutations”, in this context, to the divine.
namAz uses the following yoga AsanAs : vajrasanam and s’asAnkAsanam/panchangAsanam, with tadAsanam (a variant) in the middle. Doing this 5 times a day is extremely good for your health. Especially your backbone, ankles etc.
Hindus do sUryanamskArAh, which include : Pranamasana, Hasta Uttanasana, Hastapaadasana, Aekpaadprasarnaasana, Dandasana, Ashtanga Namaskara, Bhujangasana, Adho Mukha Svanasana, Ashwa Sanchalanasana, Uttanasana, Hasta Uttanasana, Pranamasana.
Hindus also do panchAnga and sASTAnga AsAnas in temples and when they greet elders.
The sandhyAvandanam is interspersed with prANAyAma and mudrAs, all of which are good for health.
vrata and pUja procedures as well as temple visitis also include Atma pradakshiNas as well as daiva pradakshiNA namah kArAh (namsaskAras).
For dhyAna as well as pujAs and yagnyAs, Hindus uses padmAsana. The Buddhists and Parsis have continued this habit.
For tapas, Hindus may uses any asAnas. I have heard that Sri B.K.S. Iyengar experiences the divine in every yoga Asana that there is!!
From this I conclude that the eastern peoples have included Yoga in their activities from times immemorial as a part of their religious/spritual practice. I also observe that many westerners have, of late, begun to set set aside some time every week for Yoga.
Even if you question the tenets of eastern religion, it is not necessary to give up the good and healthy habits inculcated by them. In fact before “frowning on rituals” take one look and see whether they have health benefits that you are losing by giving up rituals. I have found that every ritual has some simple and good benefit for a regular practitioner, who goes by the spirit and not the letter.
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