What Does Health Look Like?

What Does Health Look Like?

5 Principles of Holistic Health 

Inspired By “The Sivananda Companion to Yoga”
  1. Proper Exercise
  2. Proper Breathing
  3. Proper Diet
  4. Proper Relaxation
  5. Meditation & Positive Thinking
 [insert graphic]
  • Proper heat (coolness/hotness)
  • Enthusiasm for life (proper life philosophy, growth mindset)
  • Good energy (natural, exposure to nature)
  • Good sleep
  • optimistic mood
  • Doing your duty happily

The body needs movement
(remember: lymphatic system has no pump)

Lymphatic drainage - comes from movement

  • Proper elimination (digestion)

Remember real health involves:

1. Proper exercise

Best exercise routine: What to train?

cardio - strength - balance - endurance - flexibility

  • Cardio - heart rate variability - ability to adjust hearts beating speed
  • Strength - use it or lose it (bones and muscles)
  • Balance  - test it and keep it sharp
You should not feel exhausted after exercise
In yoga you go at your own pace and be able to prevent injuries because going slow
  • Should be progressive, see results, increase in your capacity over time
  • Does not overwork or underwork certain muscles groups
  • Is it sustainable - can you do this for your entire life?


Yoga gives us all of these things,
it helps to compensate for how we use our
body in daily life (balance out the body).

Yoga also balances your emotions and your mind too, directly!

In Yoga you can meditate and exercise at the same time (conscious breathing - is itself healing). Want to do a type of yoga that balances us.
Not all yoga practices are the same.

Different body types require different yoga practice to bring them to balance:
3 body types(as per Ayurveda and element that is predominant)

  • Vata (air) 
  • Pitta (fire) 
  • Kapha (earth)


Yoga they tend to like:

  • Vata (vinyasa flow, dance yoga)
  • Pitta (hot yoga - look in the mirror compare themselves,
    Bikram Yoga, Ashtanga (challenging), Iyengar (details, thinking)
  • Kapha (restorative, Iyengar)


What they actually need:

  • Vata require grounding and slow
    - Iyengar, Integral, hatha
  • Pitta require challenging, but not competitive
    - Integral, hatha, Asthanga (short term)
  • Kapha require more movement
    - go for a run, vinyasa flow, Integral with lots of sun salutations


Aerobic Vs Anaerobi

(not enough oxygen
getting into the system)
 vs Aerobic Exercise
(when you’re breathing at an
even pace with the demand) 
  • Anaerobic can lead excessive acidity in the system, lactic acid buildup, causing soreness, dehydration (not as common after a yoga session)

  • Yoga is only aerobic (gentle on the system, thus sustainable)

Yogi is interested in living a good life, simple. It is a pleasant form of exercise and leaves you feeling great in mind, body and spirit.

Helps with our range of motion and supports our lifestyle.

The exercises are to maintain the body and to prepare for meditation which leads to self realization (deepen mindfulness, self knowledge)

Yoga is a counter poses for daily life! It is a practice you can do into old age and causes less injuries and strain on the body.

You only have one body and you want to keep it all your life, best for avoiding injuries and repetitive stress that some sports or high impact exercises entail. 


2. Proper Breathing

Don’t breathe through your mouth, nose is for breathing!

Before the air gets into the lungs it equilibrates with body temperature

Nose hairs also create a shield against bacteria and other pollutants

Mouth breathing causes dehydration

Nitrogen monoxide produced by nose breathing: https://www.lviglobal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/NitricOxideMouthBreathing.pdf

As a vasodilator it decreases blood pressure and improves blood flow to the organs; Anti-inflammatory action in the arteries; Prevents blood clotting and obstructions in the arteries Immune defense: destruction of viruses and parasitic organisms; Plays a role in respiration; Enables erectile function; Enhances memory and learning; Protects the skin from harmful ionizing radiation; Promotes a healthy digestive tract by regulating the secretion of digestive hormones and enzymes; Hormonal effects: influences secretion of hormones from several glands; Regulates bladder function Acts as a signaling molecule to maintain normal bodily functions; Regulation of binding/ release of O2 to hemoglobin

Average person breaths only to 1/7 of lung capacity- shallow breaths

Pranayama practices, especially alternate nostril breathing, help to regulate and deepen the breath --  yogi take in 7x more Oxygen in each breath!

Some yogis take only 1 breath a minute!

Average person takes 14 breaths

Dog or Turtle?

Which breaths faster? Dog

Which one moves faster? Dog

Which one dies faster? Dog

Alternate nostril breathing is the best and good for everyone (all mind/body types).

It is like its own meditation practice (creates space and balances/settles/simplifies the mind). Gives people something to do (move your hands, focus on the breath)

Breath is closely linked to the emotions.
Regulate Breath, Regulate Mind, Harmonize Emotions.

Ida/Pingala nadi balance - opens sushumna nadi
When Ida and Pingala are balanced, sushumna channel opens

This is The State of Balance.


Tell people to just try 1-5 minutes of alt. nostril breathing before bedtime to process the impressions and thoughts of the day (causes better dreams!)

Kapalbhati maybe not good for vata types - lose “groundedness”

Prana is the main healer in Yoga, healing happens through prana

Another reason why we do it after asana practice (asanas are formations of prana, energy circuits and they prepare the body for stillness and increased pranic intake).

Nature has the highest store of prana in it. More time in nature more healing energy


3. Proper Diet

Different body types need different foods.

Eat according to your type (find  “_____ pacifying diet”)

We get energy (prana) from food, water, air, and sunlight

To get the best, most clean burning energy, eat organic, raw foods (more life force) have more energy than cooked, fresh not reheated food (re-heating kills nutrients),

Vegetarian food is easier to digest. The less complex the food the cleaner the digestion.

Give digestion rest, then more energy for healing and repairing the body.

Drinks should be room temperature or body heat (tea is good). No ice-cold drinks - cold drinks diminish the jatharagni (digestive fire/capacity - enzyme and stomach acid concentration)


In general, it is best to drink water 30 minutes before meals and 2 hours after a meal. Better to not drink with meals (dilutes the enzymes and acid in the stomach)

Water - drink water first thing in the morning and whenever you can.

Before bed is good, but not too much if you have a weak bladder

How/When to eat

Eat when you are actually hungry vs emotional eating (intermittent fasting - only eating in a 8 hour window, 16 hours of no food (from dinner to lunch next day)

Calorie restriction (eating a little less - mouse studies show increased longevity - obesity diminishes lifespan and so does over-taxing the system)

Eat not for fun but for nutrients and energy

Eat consciously and with purpose; Yogis pay attention and think about the benefits of what they are eating (vitamins, fiber, etc)

  • ¼ (liquid)
  • ½ food in the stomach
  • ¼ space (need room for stomach to churn the food)

Do not overload your stomach; eat less than you think you need and wait. It takes 20 minutes for the signal of satiety to arise.

Biggest meal should be at 11-2pm … noon is when the sun is at its greatest heat (your digestion and body is a microcosm of the nature around you)

  • When you’re fasting in morning, you can drink tea…
    (tea is like a soup, it has minerals and vitamins)
  • When you have real hunger, you will really enjoy your
    food and it will burn clean (digest completely)
  • Simpler foods or eating less leaves more energy (prana)
    for maintenance, recycling, and healing for the body.


Fruit moves through the stomach the fastest, then carbs, then proteins/fats and requires the least amount of prana to get digested/ assimilated into the system.

Fasting - cut down on food, or don’t eat for some time.

Juice, water, mono-diet, master cleanse,

Food also has Gunas and effect on mind
[graph of foods]


Yogic lifestyle is about cultivating sattva guna

  • Onion and garlic are rajasic/tamasic so not helpful for meditation (also aphrodisiacs and make food too addictive because they are very tasty :)
  • Bland food (low in hot spices) is most sattvic
  • In Hatha Yoga, we are going from tamas (heaviness, sadness) to rajas (movement) and arrive at end to sattva (meditation).

Kicheri is the ideal yogi food (moog daal and basmati rice). Light and easy to digest, used especially in Ayurvedic healing. It has the perfect combo of protein and carbohydrates.

Kicheri cleanse - eat only kicheri for 5-10 days.


  • Eating when you are not hungry or after 1-2 hours of already
    eating leads to, indigestion, malabsorption, and bad breath.
  • For yogis, no snacks (light fruit is okay, maybe light juice)
  • The body does not know the difference between a snack and a full meal, releases all digestive juices even with small snack; this weakens the digestive fire.


Coating in the tongue is a sign of ama (undigested food essence) in the system.



  • Best to eat the biggest meal at noon, go to sleep no later than 10pm and to wake up before the sun comes up.
  • In the morning there is more ozone in the atmosphere, this is good for the body morning exercise and pranayama.
  • The more relaxed you are, the less sleep you need.

Swami Satchidananda says:

Yogi eats                                    1x /day

Bhogi (enjoyment)                      2x/day

Rogi  (sickness)                         3x/day

Nogi (death)                               4x/day


Food can be medicine or it can be poison (cause disease)

Complicated foods complicate the digestion


When you’re sick do you want to eat a steak or soup?

Most of our physical problems are caused by the food we eat

Know when, how and what to eat (proper food combinations)

  • When: noon, when actually hungry
  • How: in a calm mood, sitting on the floor (not standing), with focus and appreciation, not while multitasking (CEOs with stomach issues), not while driving!
  • What: you should avoid foods that are Ayurvedically inappropriate (food for your type)

Pitta - less hot spicy foods

Vata - less salad and rice cakes

Kapha - less sugar and processed carbs

Incompatible Food Combinations

4. Proper Relaxation

Need to “decompress” sometimes (in a healthy way)

Do nothing sometimes, enjoy your life (spend time with family, friends, leisure things are good too), not constantly trying to upgrade or advance your career (or spiritual state)

Sometimes can get more done by doing less (or waiting for the right timing)

Rest gives you perspective and gives your subconscious mind room to process and to find solutions.

Take a vacation at least 1x/year

Taking a power nap (20 minutes), daydream

Try Yoga Nidra - yogic sleep (20 minutes)


Savasana - corpse pose (dead man’s pose) (staying awake while body/mind sleeps)

  • Practice dying, being dead to the world
  • Is very rejuvenating.
  • Conserve energy and want energy to be easy flowing, no tension in the body and mind.
  • 10 minutes of savasana is like 4 hours of sleep!
  • Complete relaxation of all muscles and the nervous system
  • Best power nap is in savasana (you can do it before lunch, or anytime you need it)
  • Savasana is also like “lazy man/woman’s meditation” it is a good segway and introduction to meditation, can even start your yoga practice from savasana.

Sympathetic NS - fight or flight (hyper aware, stress)

Parasympthetic - rest and digest (relaxed)

Parasympathetic dominance - better to be “rest and digest” than “fight or flight” all day.

Taking a bath, candles, aroma therapy, massage, watching a movie/cartoons, going for a walk, gardening, playing with your pet  (relaxation response), Korean Spa

5. Meditation and Positive Thinking

Meditation is the direct form of stress management and psychological healing

Helps us to digest unprocessed thoughts and emotions

When you do yoga and meditation, you reconnect to positive and constructive states of mind.

Your natural state is peaceful, happy and positive (optimistic), intrinsic joy (childlike)

It's also important to get positive impressions and uplifting media

The mind takes the shape of whatever it focuses on.

  • focus on money, then mind is money
  • Focus on violence, mind becomes violent
  • Focus on space, the mind is space
  • Focus on healing, mind is healing

Detox the mind; purify and stabilize it:

  • Visualize something pleasant
  • Focus on sensations in the body
  • Focus on the breath (when mind wanders return to noticing the breath)
  • Focus on a mantra
  • Just sit still (the mind will settle on its own)

If you make the body still, then the mind will follow. Like in Yoga class!

  • Listen to the sounds around you
  • Observe your thoughts, emotions and body sensations, but don’t react (learn to be less impulsive and reactionary) Meditation creates a buffer in the mind (space between thoughts and actions)

Meditation helps us regulate our choices and become more responsible for the results of our actions.

Meditation cultivates the buddhi (discriminative discernment) - making the right choices (conscience)

If you are not ready to meditation at least spend some time in nature (spontaneous meditation in nature - healing life force is high), go for a walk in the park/beach, listen to calm music/media

It’s always good to do some stretching or breathing before meditating.

Journal before meditation also helps. Get the thoughts out of your mind.

Taking a bath/shower - cleans the aura, resets your mind.




 5 aspects of health

  • https://sivanandayogafarm.org/teachings/5-points-of-yoga/


Yogic Diet

  • Read Frawley pg. 182-184


[Ram's notes on metabolism/eating and weight loss]

  • https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9ZXGmoquutPTmVMaFBoUmpQZkk/view?usp=sharing

[Yoga diet: What to eat and when]

  • https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/photo-stories/yoga-diet-what-to-eat-and-when/photostory/64664321.cms

[Food and Yoga]

  • https://www.ashtangayoga.nyc/yoga-sadhana/food-and-yoga)


[How to do a kitchari cleanse: Benefits and Recipes]

  • http://healthline.com/health/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse


[On agni (jhatar agni - digestive fire)

  • https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/health-guides/understanding-agni/the-importance-of-agni/
  • https://healthyayurveda.com/ama-the-root-cause-of-disease-according-to-ayurveda/


**Motivation of eating is to serve (Karma Yoga)**

**Breathing through the nose**

**45 minute long Yoga Nidra
(try before lunch, see if you can stay awake)**


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