1. Proper Physical Labor
In the past people had to use their physical bodies in the course of their normal work. But today someone may get up, go to work in a car, then sit down, get up to go home in the car and when arriving at home, sit down again for the rest of the day. In such a life there is no physical labor. This physical inactivity is one of the main reasons for a host of diseases. Sport, running. walking and other things must be added to our life if our normal work does not require us to exert ourselves physically. In yoga there are some special exercises which are also prescribed and we will discuss them more fully below.
2. Going to sleep when one feels sleepy
This may sound simple, but many people stay up late even when their body is telling them that it is time to sleep. Yoga and Ayurvedic doctors also say that it is better to sleep in the night and be active during the day. However, people such as students will take coffee and stimulants to study late into the night. Others develop the habit of remaining active at night and sleeping during the day. While we can do this, it eventually takes a toll on health. Yoga says that this kind of unnatural living is one of the contributing factors in the causation of cancer.
3. Eating when one feels hungry
This is also a simple idea, but once again we often go against the messages of the body. If one eats out of habit or due to social pressure at certain time of the day, even when one has no real appetite, then there will not be proper digestion of food. Acidity and indigestion begin and this contributes to the likelihood of other more complex diseases taking root. Having an appetite is actually a sign of good health, but if there is no appetite one should wait a bit and then eat. (If one has no appetite even after awaiting a reasonable amount of time, then a doctor should be consulted because something is wrong.)
4. Regular fasting
If would ask any person to work 365 days per year without any rest, they would complain and say that they must have some rest or else they will break down. But we have never bothered to ask or to think about our digestive organs which we compel to work day after day without a rest. They cannot protest the way a person would to his boss, but they do give us signals that they cannot work non-stop. When we ignore those signals and still compel them to work, those organs break down. That is why yoga is say that on a periodic basis it is good to refrain from eating for one complete day. This gives a rest to the digestive organs and also help in the elimination of wastes from the body. Regular fasting allows a person to use the fasting days for intellectual or spiritual pursuits. Fasting is not for hermits in a cave, but is a sensible practice that anyone can practice.
5. Ablution before sleep
As mentioned above, proper sleep is essential for the maintenance of health. If one washes important motor and sensory organs (hands, arms, eyes, legs, mouth, genitals) before sleep using cool water this relaxes the body and prepares it for deep sleep.
6. Regular performance of meditation
The body is linked to the mind. Many of the diseases of this era are psychosomatic. Stress and anxiety take their toll on our physical health. Meditation is a mental exercise which, among other things, allows a person to detach him or herself from the worries of life.
Just as we take vacations and go to the mountains or the sea to "get away from it all" and to get mental peace. Meditation enables a person to do this on a daily basis without expensive travel costs. In a subsequent article the role of meditation in the achievement mental well-being will be fully discussed. In this discussion about the physical aspect of yoga, it is important to remember that meditation has a direct influence on our physical body and helps for example to lower blood pressure. Thus, meditation is one of the keys to a long and productive life.