Classical Hatha Yoga in the Sivananda Traditon
Five Points of Yoga

om Sabu's yoga classes are conducted based on these five fundamental principles given by Swami Vishnudevananda to all his students and disciples all over the world. The Yoga Classes originate from the classical Hatha Yoga
Method and consist of Yoga Postures (asanas), Sun Salutations (surya namaskar), Relaxation (savasana), and Breathing Exercises (Pranayama).

To clarify the science of Yoga and make it accessible to the majority of seekers, Swami Vishnudevananda extracted its essence and presented it in these universal principles for physical and mental health as well as spiritual growth.

1. Proper Exercise (Asanas)
Our physical body is meant to move and exercise. If our lifestyle does not provide natural motion of muscles and joints, then disease and great discomfort can come over time. Proper exercise should be pleasant as well as beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life. Proper exercise acts as a lubricating routine for the joints and muscles and other parts of the body by increasing circulation and flexibility. The asanas not only produce physical benefits, but are also mental exercises in concentration and meditation, promoting optimum good health.

2. Proper Breathing (Pranayama)

Yoga teaches us how to use the lungs to their maximum capacity and how to control the breath. Proper breathing should be deep, slow and rhythmical. This increases vitality and mental clarity. Proper breathing connects the body to the solar plexus, where tremendous potential energy is stored. Through specific breathing techniques this energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation.

3. Proper Relaxation (Savasana)

Long before the modern triggers of stress, the Rishis (sages or seers) and Yogis devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. Many modern stress-management and relaxation methods borrow heavily from this tradition. By relaxing all the muscles deeply, the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate the nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace. Proper relaxation is a vital part of keeping the body and mind healthy. Yoga teaches three levels of relaxation – physical, mental and spiritual.

4. Proper Diet (Vegetarian)

Besides being responsible for building our physical body, the foods we eat profoundly affect our mind. For maximum body-mind efficiency and complete spiritual awareness, Yoga advocates a lacto-vegetarian diet. This is an integral part of the Yogic lifestyle. A yogi takes food which has the most positive effect on the body and mind and the least negative effect on the environment. Eating light, fresh and wholesome ingredients is most important.

5. Positive Thinking & Meditation (Dhyana)

We become what we think, thus we should exert to entertain positive and creative thoughts as these will contribute to vibrant health and a peaceful, joyful mind. A positive outlook on life can be developed by learning and practicing the teachings of the philosophy of Vedanta. The mind will be brought under perfect control by regular practice of meditation. Meditation relieves stress and replenishes energy. Meditation is well-known to improve concentration and to bring peace of mind and spiritual strength. Meditation is beneficial for everyone, especially those with a hectic, stressful life.

"Yoga is a life of self-discipline built upon the tenets of simple living and high thinking. Please do not discount the value of the combined approach to Yoga self-culture. If you follow these five points, which compose a true holistic approach to our whole system of body, mind, and soul, you will gain strength and balance to face this decisive world era. When body, mind, and soul are healthy and harmonious, the higher mind can easily triumph over the vicious instinctive lower mind. Obstacles become stepping stones to success, and life is a school for the development of character, compassion and realization of the Divine All-pervading Self. You will gain a new angle of vision of health and positivity. If you can heal your own body and mind, you will be capable of healing and taking care of the planet. I pray that you will practice the time-tested ancient techniques and philosophy [of Yoga], and that you will attain Health, Happiness, and Eternal Peace. May Lord Bless You. Thy Own Self. OM TAT SAT."

-Swami Vishnudevananda
Forward from the "Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga"
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Camp, Canada
June 1, 1988

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