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The Five Principles of Yoga and Why You Should Learn Them By Heart

Updated on December 27, 2015

The Five Principles of Yoga and Why You Should Learn Them By Heart

Yoga is an ancient practice that has adapted use in healing and creating physical or mental wellness. Many are interested in learning yoga skills for its holistic benefits. But, before you embark on this journey of not just physical, but also spiritual, revitalization, you need to learn what principles yoga has that make all these benefits possible. A deeper understanding of the practice will educate you on how you can maximize those benefits that you can gain.


The Five Principles of Yoga

The five principles of yoga are one of the basic concepts taught upon your first session with the yoga practice. With a holistic perspective, it emphasizes the idea that yoga is a practiced lifestyle instead of a mere exercise routine.

The five basic principles of yoga are outlined below:

1. Asanas (Exercise)

2. Pranayama (Breathing)

3. Shavasana (Relaxation)

4. Sattvic (Diet)

5. Dhyana (Meditation)

Importance of Learning Them

If you were to examine the principles of yoga, you might think that it is such a complex practice. But in close examination, you will realize that these were the same health principles taught to you by your parents and your doctor. Indeed, these principles were designed based on the idea that a holistic health experience comprises not just your physical body, but also your mental and spiritual health.

It teaches you to discontinue any unhealthy practice and follow the natural path towards attaining longevity and improving health.

Yoga Asanas - Triangle Pose Trikonasana Asana

Day23: Pranayama Yoga Breathwork

Proper Exercise (Yoga Asanas)

Ancient yoga philosophy sees the body as the temple of your spiritual body. Hence, better spiritual health always begins with the physical body and health. Various yoga postures or asanas are required to perform in yoga that will help in exercising and working out your body. Common yoga postures stretches and tones your muscles and ligaments to provide full motion.

As a result of performing these asanas, you will be able to enhance the flexibility of your joints and spine. There are several entailing benefits as a result of proper execution of these poses. Since yoga asanas can be quite demanding at times, beginners are often required to take beginner's course to allow their body to slowly adapt to these complex posture patterns.

Proper Breathing (Yoga Pranayama)

Breathing is vital in proper execution of the yoga postures above. With proper breathing, it means breathing that is rhythmical and utilize all of your lung muscles to absorb oxygen. Proper breathing required for yoga exercise is deep and slow, with a rhythmical pattern. Hence, you need to allocate regular length and duration whenever you inhale or exhale.

In order to achieve that, proper breathing control is necessary. In deeper perspective for yoga philosophy, the ability to control your breathing signify that you have full control over your mind. This also serves as your foundation towards achieving a more focused and calmer state of mind.

Yoga: Shavasana (corpse pose). Relaxation. How-to instructions

Proper Relaxation (Yoga Shavasana)

Before you can attain proper relaxation needed to start your practice of yoga, you need to be able to accomplish the first two principles: proper exercise and proper breathing. Ancient practice of yoga in India utilized powerful techniques that enable one to enter a deep relaxation state. In modern times, relaxation is vital in stress management situations since most people have to deal with a fast paced and highly stressful environment on a constant basis.

Yogic relaxation begins with the muscles and relieving it from any form of tension. You need to rest your entire body until it revitalizes your nervous system. Only then will you feel relaxed and attain inner sense of peace. When you feel relaxed physically and internally, it affects the way you deal with everyday activities and make you more effective in what it is you need to do.

Proper Diet (Sattvic)

Food and diet is another essential element in yoga practice, especially in its impact on the mind. To be specific, yoga emphasizes a lacto-vegetarian diet to further enhance your progress towards a holistic body-mind-spiritual rejuvenation. Termed as sattvic diet, it consists of vegetables, fruits grains, nuts, and dairy. This type of diet complements any type of yoga practice.

Furthermore, yoga beliefs state that meat products create distraction in your system, making you feel restless and dull. The process of digesting meat also consumes too much of your energy that yoga philosophy insists should be allocated only to your body's meditative and healing capacity. Therefore, people who practice yoga must discontinue including meat in their diet if you want to attain better results.

Meditation (Dhyana)

This is the final straw and the most crucial aspect of any yoga practice. This is basically where all other yoga principles hinge on. Positive thinking and outlook, as yoga experts would suggest, is a key factor in attaining better mental and physical well-being. This coincides with the yoga belief that mind controls everything in your body and as long as you have control over your mind, then you have control over your body and health.

To gain slow but gradual control of your mind, you need to regularly practice meditation. Hence, it is best to develop your own meditation routine wherein you spend a few minutes of your day meditating. By slowing down the activity of your brain, you are able to create a deeper state of meditation. Once you have achieved the four principles above, then it should be easier for you to gain a calmer sense of mind, healthier body and mind.

Benefits of These Yoga Principles

Since the five different principles of yoga target different aspects of your mental and physical health, there are several benefits listed as a result of practicing yoga. The best aspect about yoga is that practically anyone can do it, regardless of age, gender, body size, etc.

Listed below are just some of its beneficial results:

*Boost of energy and vitality;
*Makes you more effective in battling stress;
*Relief from muscle tension;
*Better posture;
*Increased muscle flexibility;
*Improve stamina and strength;
*Cure back issues;
*Cater to proper digestion and bowel movement;
*Better circulation of blood;
*Effective weight loss plan; and,
*Improved mental and spiritual health.

Yoga Books on Amazon


Submit a Comment
  • Shealy Healy profile image

    Shealy Healy 

    10 years ago from USA

    Good and sound advice.


  • profile image

    yoga business 

    10 years ago

    Great hub on the principles of yoga. Thanks

  • profile image


    11 years ago

    Its great page.All the he main techniques are said by her.. Thanks for sharing!

  • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image


    11 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

    Yoga is great and higly effective! Thank you for this article.

  • ebourne profile image


    11 years ago from Washington, D.C.

    I love yoga. Thanks for sharing another great hub on this fascinating topic.


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