The 5 Points of Yoga

Swami Vishnudevananda made the yogic teachings understandable and available to all by simplifying them into five points, showing specific ways to develop physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth.

Proper exercise (asanas): The word asana means steady and comfortable posture. Asanas are practiced in a systematic way in order to stretch the body, relieving tension and increasing flexibility, and to improve blood circulation, oxygenating the tissues, removing toxins and carrying nutrients throughout the entire system.

Proper breathing (pranayama): Pranayama is a powerful tool to render the mind calm and clear and the intellect sharp. Through slow, deep, conscious breathing, one can reduce stress and many other disorders associated with poor breathing habits.

Proper relaxation (savasana): Techniques of deep conscious relaxation allow the practitioner to experience complete rest of the body and mind in full awareness. Savasana allows the body to replenish itself with energy, overcoming fatigue and freeing the mind from worries and anxieties.

Proper diet (vegetarian) : There are various reasons for vegetarianism. Among them are non-violence toward other living creatures, environmental and economic reasons, and also the subtle effect that the food has on the body and mind. Yoga teaches that foods which stimulate the mind and the system and those that make them slow and lethargic like eggs, meats, fish, onion, garlic, coffee, drugs, tobacco and alcohol, are best avoided.

Positive thinking (Vedanta) and meditation (dhyana) : Through the practice of the four previous points, one becomes happier and acquires a better approach of life. Then through positive thinking one begins to feel better about oneself and to accept the situations in life with a clearer understanding. Meditation is then achieved as the mind no longer dwells on worries and preoccupations and is slowly brought to one-pointedness.