To gain the full benefits of yoga, there are some principles one should follow. Yoga is about treating the body with the deepest respect. To do this, there are principles that were created along with yoga. Remembering that the body you have is the physical manifestation of your being, it is how we are capable of expressing ourselves. The yoga principles to treat your body with respect so it’s at its optimal include: exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet, and meditation. When you practice these daily, you will naturally be able to reach a higher level of existence. This is the path to enlightenment which is pure joy and bliss in your life. Here’s how you can live out the five basic principles in your daily life.
Our body is supposed to move often. When you look back to our roots, we were often nomadic. We worked in fields or moved around all day to sustain ourselves. Most of our lifestyles today don’t allow us to move our muscles and joints at all. This creates disease and tension in the body over time. Exercising daily is important and offers benefits to the body, mind, and soul.
There are many modern ways in which we can work our body. Yoga is an ancient means of exercise to ensure our body retains mobility and flexibility. Yoga works on all aspects of the body. It also helps develop the mind and soul. If you are to use yoga as your exercise, it should be something you do on a daily basis. This should never feel like a chore. Once you start doing it daily, you won’t want to live without it. Some try a 30 day challenge where you do yoga every day. This is where you will see benefits.
The body will remain young if it stays flexible. Yoga will help with spine health, your strength, and flexibility. Spine health is important because it houses the nervous system. When we keep the spine flexible, we increase circulation and your nerves get the nutrients and oxygen they need. It is believed that the physical poses of yoga, the Asanas, should be done daily. The term stands for steady pose to increase body flexibility.
In the principle of yoga, we should learn to breathe with our lungs to their full capacity. We should also learn to control our breath. It should be slow and deep into the belly with a good rhythm. When practiced daily, you’ll experience more energy and greater mental clarity. Most people don’t breathe as deeply as they could. It takes conscious thought to breathe enough to really expand your rib-cage. As many people work in an office, they hunch their shoulders and end of lacking in oxygen. Full Yogic breathing for daily life will greatly improve how one feels.
Types of Breathing to Do Daily
When we breathe from our clavicle, we receive very little air into the body. Prana, which is our breath, is an important life force. Many people will have raised shoulders and collarbones as the abdomen is contracted when they breathe in. It takes a lot of effort but with little reward.
What you really want to do is breathe deeply into the abdominal. This brings air to the lowest part of the lungs which is consequently the largest part of the lungs. This means you get more breath into the body.
If you begin to breathe consciously into your lower lungs, you will notice a great improvement in your relaxation and clarity of mind. When you practice yoga daily, you are able to put this breathing to practice which makes it easier to make it habitual. Here are some basic breathing techniques that you may find helpful.
How often do we really allow ourselves to relax? Even if we take the opportunity to sit down after a long day, do we sink into our body and let everything go? Do we ever stop doing things or stop thinking? The amount of stress we experience because we simply don’t practice relaxation is all too common. Yogis created ways to develop deep relaxation centuries ago. In these modern times, we can take a lot from the traditions of yoga.
When we relax deeply into our muscles, we can rejuvenate the nervous system and get the inner peace we need. The mind and body is overworked with so many commitments. Every day, we should practice rest and relaxation. This is nature’s method of recharging the body and mind. Daily relaxation can be done in a variety of ways. Yogis use physical, mental and spiritual relaxation.
Physically, our thoughts manifest in the body. Muscles become tight when we have negative or stressful thoughts. To really relax physically, do a body scan. You can even do this while you’re in corpse pose after your daily yoga practice. Start with the toes and move up to the top of your head.
Daily mental relaxation should involve slow breathing for a few minutes. You can do this during your lunch break or even take five minutes at your desk. Try to do this in the morning and before bed as well. It will help you sleep more effectively.
Spiritual relaxation can free you of all tensions and worries but is a feat that takes time to master. When you can withdraw from your body/mind idea and stop letting the ego control your thoughts, this is where deep relaxation comes from. You don’t have to be a yogi to get some of the pure, beautiful benefits that the sages have experiences. If you live in truth and breathe daily, practicing yoga and seeking out your higher self, you will have more joy and peace within. Pure consciousness is possible for us all through practice.
Feeding the body is essential as it affects our mind. For spiritual awareness and optimal body efficiency, choosing the right foods is important. In yoga, it is advised that you have a lacto-vegetarian diet. This is a very important part of the Yogic lifestyle. The food should be pure, simple, and natural. Foods that are easily digested make it easier to practice yoga as well.
The nutritional requirements you should consider at every meal include protein, carbs, minerals, fats, and vitamins. These should be a daily consideration. Organic foods should be considered and some may go as far as to follow the Ayurveda diet which coincides with the Yogic practice. Eating pure foods that are in season are important.
Yoga honors the fact that the sun is the source of energy for all life on earth. It nourishes the plants. Meat is considered an inferior source of nutrition. Natural foods have the essential nutrients needed.
Every day, you should eat to live, not live to eat. This is what helps us to supply our life force. Avoid foods that will stimulate you such as coffee. You want to avoid constant ingestion of meat, fish, onions, garlic and of course alcohol and drugs. Make gradual daily changes so it’s not too hard on the body. You will feel much more serene in the mind and have greater clarity.
The most important thing you should do daily based on yoga principles is meditate. Remember that we become what we think. Mindfulness is extremely important in keeping your thoughts at a high frequency level. Exerting positive and creative thoughts can bring us a lot of peace and joy. It can harness a positive outlook on life. This is what meditation is capable of giving us if we choose to do it daily.
Mindfulness allows us to become aware of our thoughts. When we do that, we learn to let our thoughts go. Negative thoughts don’t have a chance to affect our mood. Positive thoughts are something we can also let go of. Doing meditation daily is about mastering the art of allowing thoughts to pass through us. When we do this, we can weather the storms of anxious situations and sad moments in life.
By starting your practice of 15 minutes a day of meditation, you can quickly come to one hour. It is recommended as per the yoga principles that you practice meditation one hour per day for maximum effect.
These five yoga principles will do wonders for your life. They don’t take a lot of time to do but you will feel great benefits from them.
About the Author:
Meera Watts is a yoga teacher, entrepreneur and mom. Her writing on yoga and holistic health has appeared in Elephant Journal, CureJoy, FunTimesGuide, OMtimes and others. She’s also the founder and owner of Siddhi Yoga, a yoga teacher training school based in Singapore. Siddhi Yoga runs intensive, residential trainings in India (Rishikesh, Goa and Dharamshala), Indonesia (Bali)