The 5 points of yoga
The yogis consider that we are not born only to live, suffer and die; there is a greater purpose to life. And in order for us to be able to explore life's purpose, we need a healthy body and mind. Therefor, the ancient sages developed a system, to help us keep our physical and mental abilities strong. This system of yoga is simple, natural and involves five main principles:
Our body is the vehicle of the soul, so we want to keep it healthy. It is said that our body is young as long as it is flexible, so yoga exercises focus on the health, strength and flexibility of the spine. This way, circulation is increased and the nerves get sufficient supply of nutrients and oxygen. The various movements in the yogic exercises stimulate internal organs and glands, so they function efficiently. But asanas are not only designed to develop the body, they help us expand our mental and spiritual capacities.
2. Proper breathing
Breathing exercises are called Pranayama, which means "control of the prana" (vital energy). The most obvious manifestation of the prana in our body is the motion of the lungs. Pranayama begins by controlling this motion of the lungs. When we consciously regulate our breathing, we are helping our vital energy to flow, we are allowing the prana to reach all parts of our body.
3. Proper relaxation
When the body and mind are overworked, their efficiency reduces. We need to rest and relax in order to recharge. The perfect relaxation is practiced on three levels: physical, mental and spiritual. We practice a complete physical relaxation at the end of a yoga session in Savasana - corpse pose.(Check out my video section for guided relaxation!)
We can calm our mind by focusing on our breathing, breathing slowly and rhythmically. And we practice spiritual relaxation when we don't identify with our body or our mind, and just try to tune in with our real nature, which is pure, peaceful, blissful.
4. Proper diet
Our diet is the fuel of the body. It is true that a yogi diet is a vegetarian one, consisting of pure, natural foods, which promote good health. It can get even more selective than that; taking into consideration the subtle effect food can have on the mind, some yogis avoid foods or drinks that are overly stimulating. But the main point here isn't to drastically change our lifestyle, but rather to try and make healthier choices. And be balanced:) Eating more foods first-hand from nature: vegetables,fruits, seeds, nuts... and less of what is processed, refined, which destroy much of the food value. Simple meals that help digestion and assimilation.
5. Positive thinking and meditation
We want to purify the mind, so we are in control. "When the surface of a lake is still, the bottom can be clearly seen. In the same way, when the mind is still, with no thoughts or desires, you can see the "Self"." We can calm the mind through observation and meditation. ( Check out my video section for simple guided meditation!)
Our body cells are governed by the instinctive subconscious mind. It is scientifically proven that positive thoughts bring positive results to the cells. And because meditation brings an extended positive state of mind, it rejuvenates our body cells.
Try to integrate these five simple principles in your lifestyle. Any change works best when made gradually. So, don't put pressure on yourself, and try living like a monk starting tomorrow:) That's not the idea. Slowly, take what is suitable for you. Let's "blend" yoga into our own lives, and try to live more healthy and more consciously, more blissful.