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The Five Points of Yoga

The teachings of the Sivananda system can be encapsulated into five basic principles.

  1. Proper exercise – asana (steady poses)

  2. Proper breathing – pranayama (prana = vital energy)

  3. Proper relaxation – savasana (pose for maximum relaxation)

  4. Proper diet – vegetarian (lacto or vegan)

  5. Positive thinking and meditation – dhyana and vedanta (true knowledge)

Yoga is a life of self-awareness and gentle discipline based on the tenets of ‘simple living and high thinking.’ The body is given a whole new purpose in true yoga, as simply a vehicle for extending light. In alignment with this one, true purpose, there are some guidelines that will help it to function smoothly and gracefully, much as we would care lovingly for our car.

An automobile requires five things: a lubricating system; a battery; a cooling system; fuel; and a responsible driver behind the wheel. Here is how the 5 points of yoga fulfills those needs:

  1. Proper exercise: acts as a lubricating routine to the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and other parts of the body by increasing circulation and flexibility.

  2. Proper breathing: aids the body in connecting to its battery, the solar plexus, where tremendous energy is stored. When tapped through specific yoga breathing techniques (pranayama), this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation and healing.

  3. Proper relaxation: cools down the system, as does the radiator of a car. When the body and mind are continually overworked, their efficiency diminishes. Relaxation is nature’s way of recharging the body, calming the mind, and connecting with the spirit.

  4. Proper diet: provides the correct fuel for the body and the calm clarity of the mind. Optimum utilization of food, air, water and sunlight is essential. Pure, simple natural food that is easy to digest and absorb (organic when possible) is ideal for the smooth, healthy functioning of your body/vehicle. A gradual transition to a vegetarian diet is ideal for yoga.

  5. Positive thinking and meditation: meditation and prayer restores peace of mind and clarifies the thoughts, offering a true vision of your being and purpose. As the intellect is purified, the spiritual Self is brought into focus and the lower egoic nature is controlled and re-directed through steadiness and higher thought. All things are seen in a new light!

For more information see:

Sivananda Companion to Yoga – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
Yoga Mind and Body – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre
The Yoga Cookbook – Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre

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