These 5 principles constitute the essence of Hatha Yoga.
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 will ensue with time. Proper exercise should be pleasant to the practitioner while beneficial to the body, mind and spiritual life.
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.
3. Proper Relaxation (Savasana) Long before the invention of cars, planes, telephones, computers, freeways and other modern triggers of stress Yogis devised very powerful techniques of deep relaxation. By relaxing deeply all the muscles the Yogi can thoroughly rejuvenate his or her nervous system and attain a deep sense of inner peace.
4. Proper Diet (Satvic Nutrition) 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 mindful eating.
5. Meditation (Dhyana) Here is the most important point of all, we become what we think. Thus we should learn 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 yoga. The mind will be brought under perfect control by regular practice of meditation.