The Five Points of Yoga
The Five Points of Yoga give us insight into five major elements to fulfil the body’s need to function smoothly. The body is a temple or vehicle for the soul which has specific requirements to function properly. In metaphorical relation to an automobile, we can see a car requires five major elements: a lubricating system, a battery, a cooling system, fuel, and a responsible driver behind the wheel. By practising yoga which covered the holistic principles of harmony and unification we can fulfil these five requirements.
What is Yoga?
Before we focus on the five points of yoga, we need to understand the meaning of yoga.
Yoga is beyond asana or posture, it is a life of self-discipline based on the principle of “simple living and high thinking.” Yoga is the development of physical ability including flexibility, strength, and endurance. Another definition is the union between mind, body, and spirit. It also translates as the restraint of thoughts in the mind: cessation of thoughts in the mind (Second sutra from Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras). Another word is to unite the individual with the universe. It is the unification of soul and matter, the salvation to /communion with a Higher Being.
Yoga is a great form of healing from India at the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. In classic yoga, there are many Yogic paths such as Rāja, Karma, Bhakti, Jnāna, Tantric Yoga, Buddhism, Hinduism, Shamanism. The truth of all yoga paths is the same. It is to lead the complete embodiment of virtues, strength, balance, serenity, peace, joy, happiness, contentment, and wisdom (Samādhi). The journey addresses these spiritual paths in a sense of finding the truth in diversity and integrating the truth into our everyday life.
What are the five points of Yoga?
Yoga regards the body as a vehicle for the soul in its journey towards perfection. There are five elements to maintain this vehicle to fulfil the demand of the soul.
1. Proper exercise (āsana)
Prana, vital energy, is responsible for maintaining all individual cellular activity. Stiffness of the body is due to blocked prana
and subsequent accumulation of toxins. If prana flowing smoothly it removing toxin from the system ensuring the
health of the whole body. To make the prana flow smoothly we need to do a proper exercise same as a car that needs a lubricating system.
In yoga, by practising āsana (posture) we can attain proper exercise. Asana practice acts as the lubricating routine to the joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other parts of the body by increasing circulation and flexibility. Āsanas also work on the internal machinery of the body: the glands, organs, and muscular system. The benefits of this practice not only for the body but also for mental faculties and spiritual capacities. Here we exercise our awareness. When we notice our muscles, breathing patterns, and thoughts, it makes the mind detached from the senses little by little.
2. Proper breathing (prāṇāyāma)
Breathing is the most vital process of the body. It influences the activities of each and every cell and, most importantly, is intimately linked with the performance of the brain. Respiration fuels the burning of oxygen and glucose, producing energy to power every muscular contraction, glandular secretion, and mental process. The breath is intimately linked to all aspects of the human experience. Unfortunately, most people breathe incorrectly, using only a small part of their lung capacity that cause Irregular breathing. It disrupts the prana flow, the rhythms of the brain and leads to physical, emotional, and mental blocks. These, in turn, lead to inner conflict, imbalanced personality, disordered lifestyle, and diseases.
In summary, to be healthy, we can destroy all the diseases by doing the pranayama (yoga breathing techniques) to control and regulate the prana. Pranayama utilizes breathing to influence the flow of prana in the energy channels of the energy body. When tapped through specific prāṇāyāma, the energy is released for physical and mental rejuvenation. Pranayama establishes regular breathing patterns, breaking this negative cycle, and reversing the process. It does so by taking control of the breath and re-establishing the natural, relaxed rhythms of the body and mind. Rhythmic, deep and slow respiration stimulates and is stimulated by calm, content states of mind. This is the secret knowledge of healing.
Sama like a car needs a battery to be able to run, our body also needs energy activated. This pranayama supports the body in connecting to its battery (the breath).
3. Proper relaxation (savāsana)
Relaxation works the same as the radiator, the cooldown system of a car. When the body and mind are continually overworked, their efficiency decreases. Relaxation is nature’s way of recharging the body. Relaxation includes three parts: physical, mental, and spiritual. These can be done by doing savasana, another technique found in yoga.
When we do savasana (corpse pose) we do progressive muscular relaxation using autosuggestion. We visualize our body parts from the outermost layer to the innermost layer are relaxing. Consciously while we experiencing the present moment, we breathe slow long and deep during this pose to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, or the rest and digestion system of ours. Mental relaxation happening here with mental imagery. Then after that, we can reach spiritual relaxation. One may experience a kind of floating sensation when mentally relaxed. Spiritual relaxation is when pure consciousness within. There is no negativity nor positivity. Only in the present moment, we become one with happiness, joy, bliss.
4. Proper diet (vegetarian)
The Propper diet provides the correct fuel for the body. Optimum utilization of food, air, water, and sunlight is essential. There is a cycle in nature known as the “food cycle” or “food chain”. The sun is the source of energy for all life on our planet; it is at the top of the food chain. The food at the top of the food chain has the greatest life-promoting properties. All-natural food has different properties of essential nutrients. Animal flesh is considered a secondary source of nutrition. A health motto is “eat to live, not live to eat.”
5. Positive thinking and meditation (Vedanta and dhyāna)
Clear the mind using positive thinking and meditation. It put you in control to still the mind. When the surface of a lake is still, one can see the bottom very clearly. In the same way, when the mind is still, with no thoughts and desires, you can see “Self”. We can control our mind either internally or externally by focusing on the Self or other points of focus. When the mind is focused there is no time but a modification of the mind.
The mind is our body. But we are not the mind. Far beyond the mind. We are the ones who have control of our mind, same as a car, we are not a car but the driver behind the wheels. We need to notice that “self” is within us which we need to find.
Time, space, and causation and all external experiences are mental creations. It is happening inside our minds. Everything that happens inside the mind can change, it is not long-lasting. Includes happiness. If we define happiness inside our minds, this is the subject of change. To achieve the state of lasting happiness and absolute peace, we must first know how to claim the mind, to concentrate, and go beyond the mind to find the self. By turning the mind’s concentration inward, upon the Self, we can deepen that experience of perfect concentration. This is the state of meditation. This is the moment we notice that we are not separate from happiness, we are “the self” is the happiness itself.
How to reach the five points of Yoga?
In order to attain bliss is to reach the 5 points of yoga, it becomes theoretical and experiential learning. Theories give understanding conceptually, and experience provides us with the meaning to the theories. Swami Sivananda once said, “An ounce of practice is equal to a ton of theory.” Both, however, are necessary for us to have a thorough understanding of the yoga tradition. Reading a book, practice with a compassionate teacher, and be close with the community will help us in understanding the yoga concept and implement the concept in our daily routine.
Join Ashtari Yoga, practise yoga surrounded by nature in Kuta, South Lombok, Indonesia. Reach the five points of yoga. Experience the true spirit of Yoga with inspiring workshops & events that unveil the tradition of asana, pranayama, meditation, and mantra. Guided by professional yoga instructors Almitra Putri & Krisna Dewi under Yoga Alliance. Transform your life reaching absolute happiness by having propper exercise by doing asana, destroying diseases using yogic breathing exercises, relaxing body, and mind using savasana, eating consciously, and clearing the mind with positive thinking and meditation.