“Yoga is a life of self discipline built upon the tenets of simple living and high thinking. If you follow these five points, which compose a true holistic approach to our whole system of body, mind and soul, you will gain strength and balance in this demanding stressful world. Obstacles become stepping stones to success, and life is a school for the development of character and compassion and the Realization of the Divine all-pervading-Self”
– Swami Vishnudevananda in the “Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga”
For a Better Mental & Physical Well-Being: Five Points of Yoga
Yoga is so popular all around the world. In terms of building a healthier body and mind, there are hundreds of different yoga styles taught by millions of teachers. However, yoga is not something only applied on the mats. Yoga is a philosophy, a lifestyle. In order for a car to perform its function, it requires five things: a lubrication system, a battery, a cooling system, proper fuel, and a clear mind and responsible driver behind the wheel. So, in this way Five Points of Yoga is synthesized by Swami Vishnudevananda from the ancient wisdom of Yoga. Five Points of Yoga can easily be incorporated into your own pattern of living, to provide a long, healthy and happy life.
The Five Points of Yoga are:
- Proper Exercise – Asanas
- Proper Breathing – Pranayama
- Proper Relaxation – Savasana
- Proper Diet – Vegetarian (Sattvic)
- Positive Thinking and Meditation – Vedanta and Dhyana
Proper Exercise | Asanas
Proper exercise act as a lubricating mechanism for the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other parts of the body, by increasing circulation and flexibility. Yoga differentiates from the other exercises through promoting slow and conscious movements which makes the body be avoided building-up of lactic acid in the muscle fibers, and be fatigue.
Yogic exercises are called asanas; steady postures. When asanas practiced correctly, they energize all the systems: the circulatory system, the muscular and skeletal systems, the endocrine system, the respiratory system, the digestive system, and most importantly, the nervous system.
Through asanas, with breathing and concentration, we come to a state of relaxation in the posture, where the prana -or chi- (life force) is allowed to flow unobstructed through the nadis -meridians- (energy channels) to all the organs, cells and parts of the body, revitalizing them.
The body and mind are harmonized with each other, removing tension located in the different parts of the body and the mind. So proper exercise offers us a healthy body and mind.
Proper Breathing – Pranayama
Yoga teaches us to be constantly aware of our breathing patterns, and to breathe consciously in our daily life. Cause breathing, in contrary to general belief, is really vital and we need to pay attention on how we breath. Breathing effects our heart beat and brain waves directly, which effects our body health and also mental state.
Through Pranayama we increase the intake of oxygen through deep inhalation and release the toxins appropriately through our deep exhalation. Specific breathing techniques (pranayama) like Anuloma Viloma or Kaphalabhati are devised to further purify the nadis, balance the breath and the energy in our system, and to store and channel the subtle energy (prana) for higher purposes.
Proper Relaxation – Savasana
When the body and mind are constantly overworked, their efficiency diminishes. Relaxation is nature’s way of recharging the body.
So during our yoga practices, we do savasana in order to calm down the action of the body, give a break to use our muscles, calming down the rhythm of the breath, slowing down the heart beat, let the body and mind have some time to recharge.
Savasana is not practiced only in between or the end of the yoga practice, it can also be practiced when the body and mind need some relief and peace. The state of our mind and the state of our body are intimately linked. If your muscles are relaxed, then your mind must be relaxed. If the mind is anxious, then the body suffers too. So, practice Savasana when you feel an imbalance on your body or on your mind.
Relaxation can be divided into 3 parts such as physical, mental and spiritual relaxation. After a full yoga practice, give yourself at least 10 minutes of relaxation in order to achieve also spiritual relaxation. Cause through complete relaxation we live in the solid present, overcome our fears of death and of the future, and welcome life’s demands with strength and courage, able to guide our mind, control our desires and choose better priorities.
Proper Diet – Vegetarian (Sattvic)
We are what we eat!
Correct nutrition and diet gives proper fuel for the body and the mind without creating toxins and digestive problems. Optimum utilization of food, air, water and sunlight is essential.
The body needs food for two purposes: as fuel to supply energy, and as materials to repair body tissues. For repairing and building tissue, the body needs: 1. protein; 2. carbohydrates; 3. fats; 4. minerals. All protein foods and vegetable oils provide the fats, and the main supply of organic minerals and vitamins comes from fruit and vegetables.
A vegetarian diet is a natural diet, fresh and wholesome, full of fiber and alkaline in nature, energy producing, and easy to absorb and to eliminate. I am sure if you are not vegetarian, it will seem so hard to keep a diet like this. But, I will tell you what I felt first I went vegetarian; I felt fresh, light and my communication with the animals has changed. I became a softer person.
As I explained 3 Gunas in my earlier post, Sattva is one the gunas which is purity. Through sattvic diet; avoiding stimulants and depressants such as caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs of all kinds, overly spicy food, onions, garlic, overcooked food, old food, frozen food, canned food, sodas and processed foods, as well as all meat, our mind become clearer and purer.
So if I were you as a person who likes trying to go beyond their own limits and what has taught to them, I would try sattvic diet to observe what will happen to my body and my mental state. I strongly recommend it!
Positive Thinking and Meditation – Vedanta and Dhyana
Just as a driver of a car manages to bring himself to his destination without accidents and setbacks, so the yogi learns to manage his mind and emotions in order to keep him positive at all times. Positive thoughts are energizing and facilitate growth, while negative thoughts are draining and inhibit growth.
As one of the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, Dhyana- Meditation can be explained as below:
Dhyana or meditation, is defined as an unbroken flow of thought towards God or the thought of ‘I am’, to exclusion of other sensual perception. In a still mind, meditation is achieved. For a new practitioner, meditation may not come in the first place. However, with a genuine practice of first 6 steps, the person can achieve meditation.
In this state, the brain waves are so stable. There is no physical or mental body. The person is the experiencer of the awareness beyond mind.
Please check out my other yoga-wellness posts here: http://www.journalofayogini.com/kategori/yoga-wellness.
Have a healthy and happy life!
Source: Sivananda Yoga Yeacher’s Training Manual – 2016