Swami Vishnudevananda condensed the essence of the yoga teachings into five principles for physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth. These are the core teachings of the Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centres and Ashrams.
- Proper Exercise: Yoga Asanas
The aim of proper exercise is to improve suppleness and strength. Each posture is performed slowly in fluid movements.
- Proper Breathing
Most people use only a fraction of their breathing capacity. Proper breathing focuses on nasal breathing techniques to unlock energy and vitality. Breathing exercises concentrate on exhalation rather than inhalation, to cleanse the lungs of stale air and to eliminate toxins from your body.
- Proper Relaxation
The release of tension through relaxation is vital to keep the body healthy. Begin and end each session of yoga asanas with relaxation, and relax between postures. This allows the released energy to flow freely.
- Proper Diet
The recommended diet for a student of yoga is a simple and wholesome vegetarian one, made up of natural foods that are easily digested. It keeps the body vital and healthy, and the mind calm and free from restless thoughts. Processed and tinned foods are to be avoided when possible.
- Positive Thinking & Meditation
Meditation is a state of consciousness. When practicing meditation, you must first learn how to calm the mind, and focus your mental energy inwards. Meditation can help to relieve stress and replenish your energy. If it is practiced on a daily basis, you will also find it will enable you you to think more clearly and positively, and to be at peace with yourself.