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Principles of Yoga

Written by
Dheeksha R
and medically reviewed by Shakti Mishra

Published on Mar 22, 2023   -  4 min read


Yoga is a physical activity focusing on the body, mind, and spirit, involving breathing techniques and meditation. Read the article below.


Yoga is the oldest form of physical activity from ancient times, focusing on physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. It includes breathing techniques, meditation, and adaptation of certain body postures, which enhances relaxation. Yoga is a harmonious blend of the body, mind, and spirit. The body controls actions through exercise, the mind controls intelligence, and the spirit controls emotions.

How Can Yoga Be Divided?

Yoga was developed millions of years ago and has evolved through these years and can be divided as:

Pre-classical Yoga:

It originated 5,000 years ago, along with scriptures in Rig Veda and Upanishads. It changed the idea of ritual sacrifice from the Vedas, learning the sacrifice through self-knowledge, action, and wisdom.

Classical Yoga:

It is the first systematic presentation of yoga. Pathanjali is known to be the father of yoga and influences many forms of modern yoga practice.

Post-classical Yoga:

Ignores the teaching of the ancient Vedas and focuses on the physical body to achieve enlightenment. Exploring the physical and spiritual connection and body-centered practice results in Hatha yoga.

Modern Period:

The modern period of yoga is evolved greatly and is divided into many forms:

1. Hatha Yoga:

This form of yoga includes physical postures and asanas, breathing techniques, and meditation which aids in better health and spirituality. Different styles in this form include integral style, Astanga style, etc.

2. Bhakti Yoga:

This form of yoga involves devotion and paves the way to the heart of devotion.

3. Raja Yoga:

It is considered the king of yoga, which concentrates on a person’s intelligence.

4. Karma Yoga:

It is a yoga of service which depends on the selfless service of a person.

5. Jnana Yoga:

It is a form of ritual yoga, which is a religious experience.

What Are the Five Major Principles of Yoga?

Proper Exercise (Asanas):

The basic principle of yoga is to carry out postures and sequences to fulfill a workout. Those who practice yoga realize that proper physical exercise is the core of maintaining a healthy body. The yoga asanas help to enhance strength, flexibility, and endurance through postures that stretch and tone the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. They also improve blood circulation and relaxes any stiffness in the body. Everyone, irrespective of age, can practice yoga postures, and certain postures can also be modified to increase the person's comfort.

Proper Breathing (Pranayama):

Breathing techniques in yoga are called pranayama, which helps control the body's subtle energy. Through breathing techniques, a person can connect to the solar plexus area, where the energy is stored and released. The cells in the body are in high demand of oxygen, breathing techniques which include deeper breathing nourish and strengthen the cells, and during exhale, all the toxins are removed from the cells.

Proper Relaxation (Savasana):

Modern living includes excess stress, anxiety, and depression which need to be eliminated from the body and mind before physical and mental tension. Savasana, also known as the corpse pose, aids in the complete relaxation of the body and mind and helps to restore energy at the end of the session. Savasana is usually performed at the end of any physical exercise, as it relaxes the body. It is performed by lying still on the ground with legs stretched, palms towards the ceiling, and eyes closed.

Proper Diet:

Yoga sees food as fuel for energy and nourishment. Therefore, yoga emphasizes how to eat to stay healthy and improve well-being. Yoga usually encourages vegetarian food.

Positive Thinking and Mediation:

Positivity is bound with the core philosophy of yoga. Without meditation and a positive mind, it is difficult to find inner peace. It also includes changing negative thoughts into positive ones to purify the mind. Positive thinking and yoga are present in every exercise, but yoga encourages incorporating positive thinking and meditation in everyday life.

What Are the General Principles of Yoga?

  • Yoga practice is not exercise, as exercise involves high-intensity and vigorous physical activity. Therefore, vigorous physical activity should be avoided while practicing yoga.

  • Yoga practice involves various mechanisms through which each yoga posture benefits are attained.

  • Asanas are the most important part of yoga, including stretching, which should be performed slowly and steadily.

  • Each posture should be maintained comfortably with the least effort. Effortless performance and relaxation are the keys to the practice of yoga.

  • Breathing techniques are an important aspect of yoga, which increases the intake of oxygen, which in turn enhances blood circulation.

  • The practice of yoga should not cause fatigue, so the practice of savasana should overcome any fatigue.

  • All the postures should be performed to one's capacity, and the person should not force the body to perform any posture.

  • All yoga postures should result in peace of mind.

  • Pregnant women should not perform certain yoga postures.

  • The surroundings where the yoga is performed should not be noisy. Proper ventilation and sufficient light should be present if it is performed indoors. The ground should be flat and smooth.

  • Morning time is considered better for yoga practice.

  • Yoga practice should not be performed with a loaded stomach immediately after a meal.

  • Both men and women should wear fewer clothes as their climatic conditions permit.

What Is the Relationship Between Yoga and Physiotherapy?

Yoga is known to have diverse clinical and non-clinical applications, such as

1. Physiological Benefits:

The vital capacity of the respiratory muscle is increased by increasing strength and endurance. In addition, it helps normalize blood pressure and enhance immunity, which reduces fatigue and improves myocardial perfusion.

2. Neuropsychological Benefits:

It stimulates the right brain, which enhances motor performance with better hand-eye coordination.

3. Musculoskeletal Benefits:

Relaxing the body and mind also enhances the auto-mobilization of bones and the nervous system. Strengthening benefits with postural education and increased movements.


Yoga is the oldest physical activity that is less intense, and anyone, irrespective of age and gender, can practice it. There are various forms of yoga. Yoga focuses on the body, mind, and spirit, which helps in the healing process of the body and mind. Yoga usually includes postures or asanas, breathing techniques, and meditation. The yoga postures can be modified for people to practice yoga with comfort. There are certain rules and principles through which yoga should be practiced.

Article Resources

Last reviewed at:
22 Mar 2023  -  4 min read




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