Essence of Asanas and Yoga Alphabet

From the teachings of Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Without health how can one live? Without health, how can one earn a living? Without health how can one get success in yoga or any undertaking? Health is wealth. Good health is a valuable asset to one and all. It can be achieved by the regular practice of yoga asanas.

A hatha yogi starts his sadhana with body and prana; a raja yogi starts his sadhana with his mind; a jnana yogi starts his sadhana with buddhi or intellect and will.


The practice of asanas controls the emotions, produces mental peace, distributes prana evenly throughout the body and the different systems, helps in maintaining healthy functioning of the internal organs and gives internal massage to the various abdominal organs. Physical exercises draw the prana, energy, out but the asanas send the prana in. The practice of asanas cures many diseases and awakens kundalini shakti. These are the chief advantages in the yogic system of exercises which no other systems have.

Practise a few asanas daily at least for a period of fifteen minutes. You will possess wonderful health. Be regular in your practice. Regularity is of paramount importance. Relax all muscles in shavasana at the end.

Asanas should be done on an empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning time is best. Do not wear spectacles when you do asanas. Be moderate in your diet. Start with the minimum time for each asana and then gradually increase the period. Answer the calls of nature before you start the practice.

Global imperative

The world needs good, healthy, strong boys and girls. What do we find these days in India? India, the land of rishis and sages, the land which produced Bhishma, Bhima, Arjuna, Drona, Asvatthama, Kripa, Parasurama and countless other chivalrous warriors, the soil which contained numberless Rajput chiefs of undaunted courage and matchless strength, now abounds in weak and timid persons. Children beget children. The laws of health are ignored and neglected. The nation is suffering and dying. The world requires many brave, moral, spiritual soldiers who are equipped with the five virtues of ahimsa, satyam, asteya, brahmacharya and aparigraha, non-violence, truthfulness, honesty, celibacy and non-possessiveness.

Yogic alphabet

Asanas make you strong and healthy and eradicate many diseases.

Bhastrika pranayama develops the lungs, destroys the germs of tuberculosis and augments lung power and lung capacity.

Constipation is removed by the practice of bhujanga, shalabha and dhanur asanas.

Dhanurasana is a combination of bhujanga and shalabha asanas.

Eating in moderation, plain living and high thinking help the yogic student in attaining his goal quickly.

Fasting eliminates poison, purifies the system and invigorates the cells.

Garbhasana augments the digestive power, increases the appetite and removes many intestinal diseases.

Halasana makes the spine very supple and elastic.

Indriyas should be controlled by the practice of pratyahara.

Japaof ‘Om’ or ‘Hari Om’ should go hand in hand with asanas and pranayamas.

Kumbhaka helps one to attain longevity and awakens the kundalini.

Lolasana strengthens the muscles of the arms and forearms.

Mind can be controlled by vairagya, abhyasa, satsanga, vichara, eradication of vasanas, destruction of egoism, pranayama, meditation and the cultivation of virtues, such as mercy, complacency, self-denial, shanti and santosha.

Nadi shuddhi can be obtained by the practice of pranayama.

Oordhva padmasana checks wet-dreams and transmutes the sexual energy into ojas.

Paschimottanasana removes fat, increases the gastric fire and eradicates diseases of the stomach.

Quetta earthquake is nothing when compared to the agitation caused in the mind by the turbulent senses.

Regularity in the practice of asana and pranayama is an indispensable requisite for quick and solid progress.

Sirshasana is the king of all asanas. It transmutes seminal energy into ojas, develops memory and intellectual capacity, and removes a host of ailments.

Trataka helps concentration of the mind and removes diseases of the eyes.

Uddiyana bandha imparts beautiful health, strength, vigour and vitality and removes disorders of the alimentary system.

Vajrasanaremoves drowsiness, strengthens the spine, helps digestion and is very useful for meditation.

Winter is the best time for rigorous practice of yoga.

Xerostomia, abnormal dryness of the mouth, can be removed by the practice of sheetali and sheetkari pranayamas.

Yoga mudra removes the disorders of the abdomen and awakens kundalini.

Zerosis is the disease of the eye owing to the deficiency of vitamin A. This is removed by the practice of mild trataka and sirshasana.