“Proper exercise acts as a lubrication system to the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and so forth, by increasing circulation and flexibility. Yogic exercise can be compared to no other system in its complete overhauling of the entire being. A Yoga Asana (or Posture) is meant to be held for some time (the term ‘Asana’ means steady pose). Performed slowly and consciously, the Asanas not only produce physical benefits, but are mental exercises in concentration and meditation.
Proper breathing connects the body to its battery, the Solar Plexus, where tremendous potential energy is stored. When tapped through specific Yoga Breathing techniques (Pranayama), this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation.
Proper relaxation cools down the system, as the radiator does for a car. Relaxation is Nature’s way of recharging the body. When the body and mind are continually overworked, their efficiency diminishes. In order to regulate and balance the work of the body and mind, it is necessary to learn to economize the energy produced by our body, which is the main purpose of learning how to relax.
Proper diet provides fuel for the body. The Yogic diet is a vegetarian one consisting of pure, simple, natural foods that are easily digested and assimilated and that promote health. A proper diet is one that is nourishing and well balanced. It keeps the body light and supple and the mind calm, giving a high resistance to disease.
Positive thinking(deep philosophy) and meditation put you in control. The intellect is purified. The lower nature is brought under conscious control through steadiness and concentration of mind.”
The Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga
Pages xii – xiv
The Sivananda Companion to Yoga
Introduction to Yoga
Swami Vishnu-devananda closely observed the lifestyles and needs of people in the west. He synthesized the ancient wisdom of yoga into the above five basic principles that could easily be incorporated into one’s own lifestyle to provide the foundation for healthy living. It is around these five principles that the activities at the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre are based.
To experience these principles for yourself, consider joining one of our upcoming Beginner Yoga Courses. These points are discussed in more detail and practiced throughout the course so that you learn how to incorporate them into your own life.