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Yoga, health, wellness, and recipes from YogaDownload.com


Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Hip-opener poses and asanas are some of the most popular and requested types. They bring release to areas of tightness that many people suffer from. As there are over 20 muscles that work across the hips, such as adductors in the inner thighs, abductors in the outer thighs, hip flexors and lateral rotators, it’s important to give these a good stretch. Any movement that stretches these muscles is a hip opener, but there are certain poses that give these a deeper release. If you have tight hips, it not only can affect your ability to get into certain yoga poses but can also affect your day to day life.

Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
This week, it’s time to unpack those saddlebags and release the heaviness and stress weighing you down and impeding your emotions. It takes a lot of work to create the tight hips many of us are experiencing these days. Almost everything we do in our daily lives create tension: from sedentary activities like sitting at a desk and driving to running or even simple everyday stress. We accumulate unprocessed emotions in our hips and we’ve all got one or maybe fifty of those, right? Let’s unpack them. When your hips are both open and strong, you have a balanced center of gravity and are able to maintain not just a healthy spine, but also a happy heart and mind. Physically, your pelvis houses several ligaments and muscles.

Warm Kale & Chickpea Salad
Warm Kale & Chickpea Salad
I have to admit that my love for kale is growing every day! It is delicious plain straight from the garden (did you know that you can even grow kale on your window sill!?), in salads, roasted to crispy deliciously healthy chips or sautéed – just bring it on and I love it. I did not imagine that I could love these dark green leaves so much as a kid, but I am fortunate to have a rather healthy palate these days. Of course, this also has a lot to do with habits. Somebody who is used to have a hot dog for breakfast, burger for lunch and pizza for dinner would most probably not love this salad immediately, but it is possible to train your taste buds to like healthier foods. Just start with a few healthier choices and soon you realize that salads are actually delicious and real food that you cooked yourself is always better for you than take-out! Cheaper too! Talking about this salad warm Kale & Chickpea Salad recipe here – this is a real 15-minute meal that doesn’t require any cooking skills or fancy equipment and the ingredient list is relatively short.

Everything You Need To Know About Vinyasa Yoga
Everything You Need To Know About Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga is one of the most practiced styles worldwide, indeed, according to a survey by the Yoga Journal, it is the most popular style amongst yogis. So, why is it that there seems to be some confusion about what Vinyasa is? Is it a style? A sequence? Or is it just a technique? And what exactly does it mean when a teacher says “take a Vinyasa”? Catch your breath before you keep reading, you’re going to need it to go with the Vinyasa Flow and clearly understand this unique style of yoga. To begin with, there are several definitions of the word itself. Some sources affirm it means “connection”; others translate it from Sanskrit as “to place in a special way”; and there are those who say it’s just “flow”. With this in mind, it’s not surprising the broad usage of the term Vinyasa.

10 Tips to Master Hard Yoga Poses at Home
10 Tips to Master Hard Yoga Poses at Home
Practicing yoga at home is a great way to get some exercise in if you can’t make it to a class. All you need is a mat! However, if you’re trying to master some tricky yoga poses and you just can’t get over that hurdle, being on your own can be a hindrance. Here’s our top 8 tips for practicing and mastering hard yoga poses at home. 1. Create the right space Having a dedicated space for yoga will make practicing at home so much easier. Try to find a space to unroll your matt that’s quiet and peaceful, with plenty of space around to move your body freely. Remove any obstacles if needed. Try to find an empty wall that you can use as a prop for poses that require a bit of extra support. Maybe you’d like to light a candle to make the atmosphere even more relaxing and inviting.

5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
Set Yourself Free! Take a moment to check in on how you’re feeling. Go ahead; take a quick scan from the crown of your beautiful head to the soles of your bare feet. If you are wearing shoes, go ahead and slip your feet out and wiggle your toes. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your feeling of personal freedom right now? Where are you physically, emotionally, and mentally today? If you are feeling restricted in any or all of these areas, rest assured that your yoga practice can help you shed the tightness in your muscles, soothe any discord in your emotions, and quiet your thoughts. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali teaches that learning to detach or let go is necessary in order to find freedom. But what does it mean to truly let go? And let go of what, exactly?

Easy Trail Mix: Eating Healthy While Traveling
Easy Trail Mix: Eating Healthy While Traveling
Spring Break is this week for us in Colorado, so we were thinking about how difficult it can be to find healthy eating options when you’re traveling. Whether you’re driving or flying to your vacation destination, it can be difficult to find the clean-eating options in a sea of fast food joints. So we’ve put together a guide for all our tried and true tips and tricks for staying healthy while on the road, including our favorite recipe for on-the-go snacking: Easy Trail Mix! Here are our top 3 tips for healthy traveling: Plan Ahead: Plan, plan, plan.

Yoga & Alternative Medicine: A Perfect Combination for Vitality
Yoga & Alternative Medicine: A Perfect Combination for Vitality
You can do this without the use of potentially harmful pharmaceutical drugs or invasive treatments. By combining your regular yoga sessions with alternative medicine, you can get even more benefit from your yoga practice. Here are three forms of alernative medicine that can increase quality of health and vitality for brand new and experienced yogi's! Acupuncture & Yoga

8 Easy and Powerful Self-Care Tips
8 Easy and Powerful Self-Care Tips
With our modern busy lives, it’s easy to let even the simplest self-care go out the window. It can be tough to find the time to look after ourselves when we’re juggling lots of different priorities. This can leave our own needs at the bottom of the list, and we all know it's hard to get around to those items last on the to-do list. And we’re talking about the regular, day to day self-care, not the lavish ‘treat-yourself’ social outings, appointments and pamper days that come to mind when you think self-care. If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, you can start to feel very stressed and unfulfilled as well as overwhelmed. But to improve ourselves we must take care of our minds and bodies. Here’s our tips to create a self-care routine, and ways you can stick to it! 1. Do self-care that works for you

Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Self-care is a priority, not an after-thought. Yes, you come first. When was the last time you were on a plane? If you were actually paying attention to the safety presentation before take off, you’d recall that the flight attendant always advises each passenger to place their own oxygen mask on first, even before their child’s. The message here, like our theme this week, is that taking care of yourself first is key before you can help anyone else. Do you ever feel guilty if you take time to go get a massage or put off a work call until after you’ve practiced yoga or worked out? Or how about feeling somehow naughty that you took a nap in the middle of the day instead of going to get your car washed? As yogis, we often consider ourselves experts in self-care when often, we are the ones focused on caring for others, and our own needs are at the bottom of the list. We get it: we are all busy and juggling responsibilities. Problems arise when obligations to your work, your family, your cat or your dog, supersede your obligations to your own health and well-being. It’s time to put yourself first before you burn out and can’t show up in your life at your best. Shifting your perspective to view self-care as a necessity and not a luxury is all you need to do for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Coconut Glazed Halibut with Butternut Curry Sauce
Coconut Glazed Halibut with Butternut Curry Sauce
Winter is (finally) coming to an end, and if you’re like us, you might be looking for new recipes to get out of a meal-planning rut. This time of year, it can be easy to fall into a routine of go-to meals and start craving some variety in your diet. We’ve got a perfect recipe for you! This dish is warming, nourishing, full of flavor, and stars a fish high in nutritional value – Halibut! Halibut is high in brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, plus it’s a great source of essential vitamins and minerals including magnesium, selenium, phosphorous, and vitamin B. As for taste, halibut is a tender and neutral white fish that is delicious when paired with this flavorful, warming sauce. You can pair this dish with roasted vegetables like carrots or cauliflower or over an abundant pile of fresh or sautéed greens (our personal favorite!). Because we keep winter squash off our plates during the cleanse, this recipe is part of our 80:20 Lifestyle Program. To learn more about the 80:20 and how to get access to exclusive recipes and more healthy lifestyle content, click here.

6 Impressive Ways to Enhance (Female) Sexuality While Aging
6 Impressive Ways to Enhance (Female) Sexuality While Aging
Many things change as you grow old, your sexuality being one of them. The sexual drive you had in your 20s is not the same as when you have in your 30s, 40s, and 50s. In your 30s and 40s, you are usually busy with raising the kids and working to secure your financial future that you hardly have any time to concentrate on your sex life. You might not prioritize your sex life at these stages and might not notice the changes until it hits you in the face. In your 50s and beyond, with your kids most likely being out of the house, you can now focus on yourself, and that's when most women recognize the changes in their sex drive. Causes of low sex drive and how to enhance your sexuality There are lots of reasons why your sex desire declines as you age including fluctuations in your hormone levels, illnesses, job stress, and relationship issues.

Common Causes of Bad Posture (& Easy Ways to Fix Them)
Common Causes of Bad Posture (& Easy Ways to Fix Them)
We all know that a good posture gives us a taller and more elegant look, but standing straight can also do wonders for your health. Did you know your posture affects your digestion, breathing and how well we move? That’s not to mention the ways it can boost your confidence. However many of us lack a good posture. It can be easy to slip into bad posture habits, through weakness, pain, and routine. There’s many ways you can be adding to bad posture without knowing it. Here’s some of the common causes of bad posture, as well as some tips to counter them. 1. Slouching While you may be comfortable slouching in a chair, over time this can strain your muscles and lead to bad posture. This can also increase tension and cause pain. Try to get in the habit of not slouching and sitting up correctly. Sitting on the edge of your chair will help to fix this, as it will cause your core muscles to activate, keeping you straight. While this might be uncomfy at first, this is because your muscles need to be conditioned to support you. Exercises like planks and bridges that strengthen your core and your glutes will help you to stop slouching.

Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga’s benefits are all-encompassing. This ancient practice affects our entire body, mind, and heart. Yoga can be approached in hundreds of different ways and can be utilized for specific areas of focus. This week, we’ll focus on how yoga benefits the upper body and that includes not just muscles and bones, but your four higher chakras or seats of higher consciousness. Many of us sit at the computer, drive a lot, stare at our smartphones, and as a result, our shoulders begin to round forward, proper posture disintegrates and we can actually become more closed off in our emotional expression. By focusing on asanas that open up the heart, shoulders, throat, and neck, we not only improve our posture, but we learn to keep the heart open and to communicate with truth and kindness. So yes, you can loosen up the physical tension and tightness that plagues you, improve your posture, and get rid of aches and pains. But the benefits go deeper by balancing out your Anahata or heart chakra, Vishudda or throat chakra, Ajna or third eye chakra, and Sahasrara or crown chakra.

Lentil & Jackfruit Enchiladas
Lentil & Jackfruit Enchiladas
My recipes are usually very straightforward and quick, only containing a few ingredients and not many steps. For me, the current recipe categorizes under simple recipes too, but it does require quite many steps, especially if you also decide to prepare your own sauce and haven’t precooked the lentils in advance. I usually cook a large batch of lentils, chickpeas or beans over the weekend and then use them during the week in different recipes – it is an excellent way to save time during the busy working week and always prefer cooking my own legumes over the canned versions. Talking about the canned versions, this recipe uses quite an unusual ingredient that is canned because it is difficult if not even impossible to get fresh one outside of Asia. I am talking about the king of fruits – jackfruit! Jackfruit is a huge fruit mostly grown in South-East Asia, and I fell in love with it in Asia.

The Idea of "Should" & How to Stop Feeling Guilty
The Idea of
should / verb 1.used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions. ”he should have been careful” It’s just an idea, right? A concept? A word in the dictionary? I’m not sure what sparked my interest in how “should” or “shouldn’t” plays a role in my life, but it crosses my mind daily now.

8 Tips to Form New Habits (& How Long it Takes)
8 Tips to Form New Habits (& How Long it Takes)
If you look at the lifestyles of highly successful people, you’ll realise that they’re not that way by accident, or by luck. They’ve learnt to make all those successful, proactive and useful behaviours a habit. Whether it’s waking up early to have more hours in the day, getting a work out in each day, taking the time to focus on self improvement, reading more, drinking less… the list can go on, but the one thing all these healthy habits have in common, is that it takes time for them to become a daily aspect in your life. If you’re thinking of making a small change to take on a healthy habit, or you’re thinking of something a little more life changing, hard work, effort and dedication are the things you need to achieve your goal. But just how long does it take to form a new habit - or stop a bad one? A quick internet search, will tell you it takes 21 days to form a habit. This is a popular myth that still rings in people’s brains today.

Your Seasonal Wellness Makeover: A 2-Week Yoga Challenge for Body & Mind
Your Seasonal Wellness Makeover: A 2-Week Yoga Challenge for Body & Mind
After last week’s celebration of the Equinox and official change of seasons, we figured it was the perfect time for a two week Yoga Challenge. Why not harness the power of Mother Nature to boost your motivation and discipline? Whether you already practice yoga daily or if this is a big change to your routine, participating with yogis around the globe in a supportive environment will help you feel healthier and happier. You’ll even receive inspiration, structure, and goal setting techniques with life coach and YogaDownload teacher Elise Fabricant. Transformation isn’t easy, but we do have the power to make shifts in our thoughts, emotions, and physical strength and flexibility. Change doesn’t happen overnight, which is why we’ve carefully chosen two weeks of yoga classes to keep you engaged, excited, and on track.

Roasted Garlic & Herb Cashew Vegan “Cheese” Log
Roasted Garlic & Herb Cashew Vegan “Cheese” Log
While the pressure of the New Year can be needlessly intimidating, it’s still as good a time as any to make healthier choices. The sad fact is that we tend to associate healthy changes with deprivation and there’s really no need for that! At the Conscious Cleanse, we know that even a slight shift in perception is enough to help us embrace change, not with fear, but with excitement. And that’s where our featured recipe of the week comes in. Many of our cleansers absolutely L-O-V-E cheese and can’t imagine going a single day without it! That is before they found the Conscious Cleanse. Sound familiar?

5 Simple Tips for a Healthy & Happy Life
5 Simple Tips for a Healthy & Happy Life
Some people feel as if there is nothing that can be done when faced with certain difficulties. However, there are those of us that only search for solutions when the going gets tough, and, eventually emerge as winners to whatever obstacles life puts on their path. Modern life pushes us to fulfill different challenges. Things like creating a successful career, having a happy marriage, maintaining solid friendships, good health, and a positive outlook are things most of us would like to achieve and experience. Oftentimes however, we give priority to certain parts of life at the expense of others. The goal then, is finding balance and live in an energy of joy, regardless of the circumstances. The ones who are brave and persistent enough, can cope with the sometimes rapid rhythm of life, and compose a happy melody through which they dance throughout their lives.

8 Best Places to Visit to Watch the Season's Change
8 Best Places to Visit to Watch the Season's Change
Both the Spring and Autumn equinox signify great change. Our clocks change, the weather changes, and we’re getting prepared for summer or winter. While the equinox signifies the start of hot weather, or cold winters, don’t forget to take in the beauty of the season, rather than looking further ahead. There’s plenty of beautiful sights to take in around spring and autumn, especially in nature. We’ve put together a list of the best places to take in the seasonal changes this year, wherever you are in the world. Tokyo, Japan

Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and the seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But, there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. " - Alan Cohen Happy Equinox yogis! Whether you are celebrating the budding and blossoming of Spring in the Northern hemisphere or accepting the shedding of layers that personifies Autumn in the Southern hemisphere, we are all in the midst of powerful transition. When we align our own intentions and goals with nature’s rhythms and patterns, we strengthen our positions. We’re all living this one life on the planet together and the earth impacts everything we do, from how we feel physically to our thoughts and emotions. Why not harness these seasonal shifts to reflect, set intentions, and implement change?

Beet Hummus
Beet Hummus
Since it’s been so cold and snowy lately, we wanted to share a recipe bursting with color and flavor to remind you that spring is just around the corner! Our beet hummus not only looks like veggie vibrancy in a bowl, it’s also packed with health benefits! Beets are a great way to check in on how smoothly our digestive tract is running (for more on that topic see my post called “The Beetroot Test”), plus they’re also filled with many health-boosting nutrients like folate, vitamin C, and manganese. Beets have anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties, and they’re also known to boost stamina, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the immune system.

Why Yoga Helps You Trust Your Intuition
Why Yoga Helps You Trust Your Intuition
Have you ever gone against your own intuition? How did that work out for you? Have you ever felt so numb to your internal signals that you didn’t even sense what your intuition is communicating to you? Or have you ever consciously overthrown your own intuition and gut instincts for your desire to be loved and accepted? Maybe you overrode your intuition hoping to prove that you were a perfect match for a partner, a job, a community, rather than sensing and questioning if the relationship, job, or community was a good match for you. Please remember there is nothing to prove in love and acceptance, and that true love and acceptance must begin within. We must start with ourselves and trust our intution, which starts on the inside. Yoga reminds us that the actual external experience is a reflection of our inner resonance. Yoga states that we will continue to attract experiences to bring awareness to any unconscious patterns that keep us from true connection, trust and joy.

Ayurvedic Tips for a Deep and Restful Sleep
Ayurvedic Tips for a Deep and Restful Sleep
After a night of improper sleep, how do you feel in the morning? Groggy, tired, irritated and dazed? Well this comes as a no surprise since sleep is essential to recharge the mind and body after a hard day’s work. And when there is improper sleep, the mind and body both feel down and less eager to go about with the activities of the day. Ayurveda, the ancient medicinal practice that originated in India classifies sleep disorder based on the dosha types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each of the doshas has a significant impact on the sleep preferences and patterns of an individual. Similar to most of the things associated with Ayurveda, the present balance and body constitution of an individual influences sleep imbalances. In order to treat the issue of sleep imbalance effectively, it is important to know the present state of balance and the body constitution.