From Essence of Yoga, Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Yoga is a perfect practical system of self-culture. Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of the body, the mind and the soul. Yoga is the turning away of the senses from the objective universe and the concentration of the mind within. Yoga is eternal life in the soul or spirit. Yoga aims at controlling the mind and its modifications. The path of yoga is an inner path whose gateway is your heart.

Yoga is the discipline of the mind, senses and physical body. Yoga helps in the coordination and control of the subtle forces within the body. Yoga brings in perfection, peace and everlasting happiness. Yoga can help you in your business and in your daily life. You can have calmness of mind at all times by the practice of yoga. You can have restful sleep. You can have increased energy, vigour, vitality, longevity and a high standard of health. Yoga transmutes the animal nature into divine nature and raises you to the pinnacle of divine glory and splendour.

The practice of yoga will help you to control the emotions and passions and will give you power to resist temptations and to remove the disturbing elements from the mind. It will enable you to keep a balanced mind always and remove fatigue. It will confer on you serenity, calmness and wonderful concentration. It will enable you to hold communion with the Lord and thus attain the summum bonum of existence.


Health is wealth. Health is indeed a covetable possession. Good health is a valuable asset to one and all. It can be achieved by the regular practice of yogasanas.

The practice of asanas controls the emotions, produces mental peace, distributes prana evenly throughout the body and different systems, helps in maintaining healthy functioning of the internal organs, 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 asana 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. Practise bhujangasana, shalabhasana, dhanurasana, sarvangasana, halasana and paschimottanasana. Bhujangasana, shalabhasana and dhanurasana will remove constipation and muscular pain of the back. Sirshasana, sarvangasana and halasana will help you in maintaining Brahmacharya, rendering the spine elastic, and curing all diseases. Paschimottanasana will reduce fat in the belly and help digestion. 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 for doing asanas. Do not wear spectacles when you do asanas. Be moderate in your diet. Answer the calls of nature before you start the practice. Start with minimum time for each asana and then gradually increase the period.