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On nature’s platform-the grass- or on the exotic wooden platform overlooking the pool, in the meditation maze or in the organic garden, you are free to practice Yoga or meditate anywhere… Distance yourself from the world and from time. Around 8 o’clock in the morning, the sweetness of the sun’s rays as they emerge from the heights of the mountain and gently caress your face produces an almost surreal feeling of happiness.

THE 5 PRINCIPLES OF YOGA
From Swami Vishnu-Devananda – www.sivananda.org

1. PROPER EXERCISE

The Asanas (positions) work everything, warming up the whole body by promoting circulation and improving flexibility. “Asana” means “a steady pose that is consciously held for some time creating a sensation of well-being and improving our capacity of concentrating and meditating.”

The Yoga Asanas focus first and foremost on the health of the spine, its strength and flexibility. The spinal column houses the all-important nervous system, our body’s way of sending messages, and the health of the entire body relies on it.

By maintaining the spine’s flexibility and strength through exercise, circulation is increased, the nerves ensure a better supply of nutrients and oxygen, and the body stays young. In addition, the Asanas activate the pressure points that, when stimulated, increase the flow of Prana (vital force or energy) through the body.

The Asanas also massage the internal organs, which allow them to function better. In constantly working with deep breaths, relaxation and concentration, the Asanas help promote better mental concentration. The spirit, which is perpetually agitated, is shielded from exterior distractions and turns inwardly to seek peace.

2. PROPER BREATHING

Pranayama, or proper breathing, connects the body’s energy center, the solar plexus, where enormous energy reserves can be accumulated and later retrieved.
This energy can be let out by the Pranayama breathing exercises.

Consciously controlling our breathing allows us to accumulate and access a much larger quantity of vital energy or Prana. Most people use only a fraction of their lung capacity for breathing.

They breathe shallowly, barely expanding the ribcage. Their shoulders are hunched, they have painful tension in the upper part of the back and neck, and they suffer from a lack of oxygen.

Deep abdominal Yoga breathing can expel residual toxins, tensions and even feelings of depression.

A person who possesses an abundance of Prana radiates with strength and vitality and works efficiently, calmly and with more focus.

Pranayama increases Prana and allows you to control it. There is a subtle connection between Prana and the spirit. By controlling the Prana, we control our spirit.

All of the body’s ailments can be stopped at their root by controlling the Prana, which is the true secret to healing.
Acupuncture, Shiatsu and spiritual healing are among other examples of consciously or unconsciously controlling the Prana.

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3. PROPER RELAXATION

Proper relaxation is a vital element in keeping the body and the spirit in good health. When practiced correctly, it releases immense amounts of energy. Proper relaxation refreshes the system, like what coolant does for a car. When the body is tired or tense, only nature can be most efficient in recharging it.

When the body and the mind are constantly overloaded, we feel overwhelmed and burned out.

The challenges and stresses of modern life make relaxation difficult. We waste an enormous amount of energy on useless mental or physical strains. During the day, our bodies produce all of the substances and the energy necessary for the following day but these are often lost in a matter of minutes by the invasion of negative emotions such as anger, melancholy, jealousy, etc.

During deep relaxation, the only Prana used is a small amount for maintaining the important metabolic processes. A few minutes of deep relaxation can re-energize us more efficiently than several hours of restless sleep.

4. PROPER DIET
The yogic diet, essentially a lacto-vegetarian one, is made up of plant-based meals made with fresh, organic vegetables.

This regimen nourishes both the body and the spirit and is ideally adapted to the practice of yoga and meditation.

A yogic diet is a balanced one that is simple, natural, free of chemical products, and strives for the best sources of the nutrients our bodies need. The yogic relationship with food is: “Eat to live, not live to eat.” Eat the things that will have the most positive effects on the body and the least negative effects on the environment and Earth’s other creatures.

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5. POSITIVE THINKING AND MEDITATION
Positive thinking and meditation are the keys for attaining spiritual peace. Meditation is the art of slowing down and refocusing the spirit.

Regular practice of meditation aids in mental, physical and spiritual well-being. In order to meditate well, we ought to first calm the spirit by using concentration techniques and thinking positively.

A spirit full of negative emotions and scattered thoughts can never be at peace. Thanks to concentration techniques, the waves of negative thoughts are replaced with positive images and positive self-talk, leading the spirit to a calm and peaceful state.

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