Principles of Optimum Health
Yoga master Swami Sivananda said that one only needs to practice five basic principles properly to maintain the state of optimum health. They are: Breathing, Relaxation, Exercise, Diet and Meditation.
The breath is a natural cleanser of the inner body. According to yoga, it is also an excellent source of vitality (or prana). Practicing deep full yogic breaths has been medically shown to effectively reduce high blood pressure, which is the precursor of the most severe cardiovascular conditions. This and other yogic breathing techniques (pranayama) will leave you in an experientially tangible state of relaxed vitality and content mind.
The great eastern luminary Swami Sivananda also expressed that the most prevalent ‘dis-ease’ in society today is that we have forgotten how to relax properly. This is fundamental in developing the ability to conserve energy and allow the body the opportunity to turn on its healing mechanism. It is in the relaxed state that the inherent self-protective wisdom of the body is better able to spontaneously cleanse and repair.
The detoxifying benefit of mindful yogic movement (asanas) is obvious to the practitioner. The twists, stretches and compressions gently massage the tissues and internal organs, infusing them with oxygen-rich blood. One of the key benefits of yoga practice is that it removes the adverse effects of stagnation from all the systems of the body such as the muscular, skeletal, respiratory, digestive, endocrine and cardiovascular. Better yet, in the words of renown doctor Mehmet Oz M.D., “virtually all patients, however ill, can perform some form of yoga, even if limited to deep breathing.”
Yoga recommends a lactovegetarian diet with an emphasis on local organic food. Complex carbohydrates such as whole wheat, brown rice, and fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes in their natural forms are preferred. They not only take longer to digest (preventing overeating), their fibers also cleanse the digestive system along the way. Yogic dietary practices include eating in a joyful state with presence; and eating in moderation following the movement of the sun (digestive ‘fire’ is prime at noon). Finally, the other great cleanser for the inner body, as with the outer, is drinking water.
Meditation is an excellent practice for mental detoxification. When practitioners sit in stillness, they become accustomed to observing their thoughts with diminished identification. Energy is not overly dissipated in entertaining turbulent thoughts and there is greater clarity of mind. Research done by Dr. Herbert Benson M.D. from the Harvard Medical School has shown that meditation produces physiological responses that are exactly opposite to that of stress. Instead of increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased breathing, increased metabolism, they all decrease.
Bhaskar Goswami is an impactful speaker and a senior yoga and meditation teacher from Assam, India. He has led numerous international retreats, having presented in prestigious organizations and events like COP22 (UN Global Climate Change Summit, Morocco). In 2007 he founded BODHI, a multiple award-winning company dedicated to offering genuine wellbeing to people in their homes, businesses, schools and special care places. He is also the founder of daana (CBC Media Prize 2016, Startup of the Year), a non-profit organization making wellness accessible to all by creating anonymous contribution activities around the world. He has published two international albums, Open Yoga and Wisdom Stories, and is the author of Wisdom Stories — Book 1.
Bhaskar has a Masters Honors in Electronic Engineering from the University of Nottingham (England) and a 10-year international engineering career. He lives in Montreal with his family of three children. Learn more: bhaskargoswami.com