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


Prison Yoga from San Quentin:
Free Your Mind, Body and Spirit
Prison Yoga from San Quentin: <br> Free Your Mind, Body and Spirit
Eric Paskel teaches yoga to inmates at San Quentin, creating a “prison break” without ever leaving the prison. It was not a hard sell when my teacher, Swami Parthasarathy, told me during one of our first meetings, “The whole world is a prison, and your only job in life is to get the hell out.”

Anxiety Taught Me These Life Lessons
Anxiety Taught Me These Life Lessons
I’ve had anxiety since college and have been lucky enough to use therapy as a tool for managing it. As such, I’ve learned a lot about how anxiety manifests in my life and how to recognize as well as soothe it.

Intentional Practice: A Guide to Discovering What You Really Want from Yoga
Intentional Practice: A Guide to Discovering What You Really Want from Yoga
In our day-to-day lives, it’s all too easy to get caught up in what others want for us. Well-meaning or not, these “other voices” can stick in your head, and if you’re not careful, you won’t be able to recognize your own, at least not as readily. By now you probably know that yoga is about the process of listening to your wisest self. It starts by hearing our bodies— hearing the knee that is out of alignment, stopping yourself from forcing a joint that just won’t bend that way. But eventually, that act gives way to a deeper listening, one where you can hear your own, deepest wants.

Essential Sequence: Quick Hip Openers
Essential Sequence: Quick Hip Openers
This sequence focuses on stretching the muscles around the whole circumference of the hip joint. It’s great for relieving tension that can accumulate from long periods of sitting or standing and it’s also incredibly grounding. I like to do it after traveling or just at the end of a long, intense day. Spend 5-10 breaths in each pose (or longer if you’d like) and do both sides before moving to the next pose.

5 Ways to a Drama-Free Life
5 Ways to a Drama-Free Life
Do you know that peaceful feeling you get from being around someone who is calm and isn’t bothered by a thing? Who doesn’t sweat the small stuff? I love me some drama-free people. People who don’t take themselves too seriously, stay calm, don’t freak out, who speak less, reflect more, and use some good ol’ common sense. If you know what I’m taking about, You have experienced the drama free-zone.

The New Discipline of Yoga
The New Discipline of Yoga
What is discipline, really? Discipline is a tricky little devil. Ideally, it can be the fire that gets us on the mat so that we can strip away the illusions and misidentifications that cause us to suffer. As Iyengar explains, “wood must be heated to ignite it and bring out the hidden fire within.” Not so ideally, it can also be a confusing agent of self-hatred and punishment. When we commit ourselves to a disciplined daily practice (and since there is no need to preach to the converted, we know this has benefits) we can also be mistakenly committing ourselves to a desire to achieve aesthetically based fitness goals and an addiction to the ability to perform complicated party-trick asana. When I miss a practice or feel that I’ve just sort of lazily stretched for an hour, a niggle in the back of my mind warns that perhaps I’ll soon slip back into adolescent pudginess and its maelstrom of related emotional entanglements if I don’t step up and get myself back into shape. I have to remember that there is a balance of health to be maintained between body, mind, and heart – which of course are fundamentally intertwined – while on the sometimes difficult and circuitous path of yoga. A path that we hope leads us through a life liberated from cycles of suffering.

Curb Your Anxiety and Get Off that Couch
Curb Your Anxiety and Get Off that Couch
A sedentary person also termed a couch potato, is someone that leads a lifestyle with irregular or no physical activity. Couch potato's spend most of their day sitting watching TV, working on a computer, reading or playing video games. Excessive sitting contributes to many chronic health issues including anxiety and preventable causes of death.

Roasted Butternut Squash Mash
Roasted Butternut Squash Mash
So this recipe is freaking awesome. I totally don’t mean to toot my own horn here, but I was rather ambivalent when constructing it, and thus my mind was blown when I actually tasted it. Granted, I realize that I could be setting myself up for failure here, as you now have extremely high expectations, and when juxtaposed to my low expectations, who knows where your reaction will end up landing. It doesn’t matter though, because this recipe is yummy no matter your expectations, AND it’s the perfect intro to fall dish, AND it’s super easy, AND it can be sweet or savory. I’m calling this a win.

Pranayama Ninja
Pranayama Ninja
I’m going to share something straight-up and simple that’s transpiring for me lately. Here goes: As the working mom of a preschooler with a husband who travels constantly, I can say that unequivocally, it’s my practice that keeps me sane and balanced. (Can I get an “Amen!”)

Personal Essay: How Anxiety Made Me a Kinder Person
Personal Essay: How Anxiety Made Me a Kinder Person
I recently received an e-mail for a personal essays project. I was so excited that I responded with my pitch: “I was thinking about writing about how my anxiety has made me a kinder person. While I can't always control how I feel, It makes me think twice about other people and the struggles they might be going through.” I was so glad when I heard back that I would be able to share my experience, but now comes the tough part, writing this. So here goes nothing.

Essential Sequence: Wake Up And Flow
Essential Sequence: Wake Up And Flow
Full disclaimer: when it comes to the morning, I’m a coffee first kind of guy. Yoga is a close second. But, it’s second nonetheless. It wasn’t always this way, but nothing is permanent. So, if you’re like me and you prefer some liquid inspiration to get yourself on the mat first thing, don’t judge yourself. Once you’re ready, here’s a solid, get-up-and-go practice.

5 Easy Ways To Transition to a Vegan Lifestyle
5 Easy Ways To Transition to a Vegan Lifestyle
Raw, vegetarian, 80/10/10, paleo, pescetarian- call it what you want, it seems there’s always a new diet to jump on board with that will ‘change your life.’ These innovative ways to eat have revolutionized the way that we live. From sourcing our ingredients locally, choosing organic or abstaining from meat, every day we make a choice about what to put in our bodies regardless of the label.

Guide For Your First Yoga Retreat (infographic)
Guide For Your First Yoga Retreat (infographic)
A yoga retreat provides the perfect health and wellness balance to travel the world, eat delicious food and deepen your yoga practice. 62% of 36 million of American practitioners of all levels have the desire to go on a yoga holiday, reports the 2016 Yoga Journal study.

Why You Don't Need a Guru
Why You Don't Need a Guru
For many years, the practice of yoga was learned by dedicated students taught by their guru. Students learned yoga from one teacher or lineage and then either taught those same teachings or continued to study and live life. Today, when we read texts about how to learn yoga, you will always find a statement about the importance of finding a teacher. Presented as fact, this statement leads aspiring yoga practitioners to believe they indeed need to find their “guru.” An ideal of the guru is romanticized and categorized in the minds of many as an “if-then” statement — if I find a guru, then I will become enlightened. The problem with this dichotomy is that the student becomes disempowered by the notion that she can never find success on her own. Students are unable to progress in the true practice of yoga when this idea of the guru guiding practice becomes all-encompassing.

Zucchini Noodles with Perfect Pesto
Zucchini Noodles with Perfect Pesto
I'm going to take you back to an Italian-American family on the east coast (mine) in the 1980s…those were the days when carbs where king and fat was the enemy. What did we eat back in those days? Do you remember the nation’s obsession with Snackwells and pasta? Well, we ate lots and lots of pasta.

Forget Your Habits! (The Power of Ritual)
Forget Your Habits! (The Power of Ritual)
Question for you: Do you have any healthy habits you are trying to create this year? Or maybe some you would rather not have by the end of the year? (Like eating an entire jar of almond butter because you forgot to eat lunch or just... because?)

New To Yoga? No Worries!
New To Yoga? No Worries!
My first yoga class was in the NYU gym. I was 18 and on the bagel, pizza and cereal diet of a student. Holistic wellness wasn't necessarily on my radar and I went to class mostly because I wanted a bohemian experience that would fuel my assumed New York artiste persona. That was the same year I pierced my ear, wore yellow tinted glasses, and sported a beret on occasion. Yoga was to be another fashionable accessory.

Curating Your Life: How Do You Want to Shine?
Curating Your Life: How Do You Want to Shine?
Your life… akin to a hands-on interactive museum with multi-sensory opportunities. A vast space with large walls ready to display and enjoy a life you choose. A potential challenge for many of us to curate our lives of desire when our DNA, upbringing, perceptions, and expectations seem to be locked into our current life’s mural seemingly unable to modify.

To Love vs. Be In Love With Your Body
To Love vs. Be In Love With Your Body
Is there a difference between loving your body and being in love with your body? We are presented with this notion that we need to love ourselves-- that our love must exist as this unquestionable force of worship, one that sustains and thus bestows wholeness upon us. This approach has always felt flat to me. As a surface stripped bare of footholds. A richly rough and complicated concept made smooth by the dogmatism of devotion. Love yourself.

Needing Less, Wanting More
Needing Less, Wanting More
Overbooking my schedule since returning to California has left me tired and overwhelmed. I can never turn down an opportunity, so now I never stop-- I leave the house at 8am and come back at 10pm. What have I done to myself?! It’s in these moments that I appeal to my yoga values. Yoga, in its non dogmatic form, is the only philosophy whose moral codes I was able to identify with and slowly make my own.

What Always Remains: A Meditation in Packing
What Always Remains: A Meditation in Packing
Over the past six months, due to personal and professional reasons, I found myself traveling and moving from one place to another— from point A to B then to B to C then C to A or B. And it feels like I’m still going and coming to unknown destinations.

Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries
Avocado Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries
We had amazing food at this year’s retreat to the Lumeria Maui. And when you’re on a yoga retreat, doing many hours of yoga each day you really need a great dessert. This Avocado Chocolate Mousse was, hands-down, the group’s favorite, because hello, chocolate?

Lavender Chia Seed Pudding
Lavender Chia Seed Pudding
No need to play off of false pretenses here. This is a safe place. I’m no dainty flower. I am, in a lot of ways, mostly talking about gluten and caffeine consumption. But in how I present myself - decidedly less dainty. And you know what, sometimes a lady wants to feel sophisticated and flowery and perhaps a hint of dainty. Hence why I love to add lavender to anything and everything.

The One Thing You Should Take Away From Your Yoga Practice
The One Thing You Should Take Away From Your Yoga Practice
I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years, and have learned an awful lot about myself through my practice. Mostly about parts of me that haven’t healed. It’s been a process of taking down the walls I have built around my heart during my life – most notably, emotions and fear.

Essential Sequence for Lower Back Pain
Essential Sequence for Lower Back Pain
I know back pain. I’ve dealt with varying degrees of back pain—from mild to severe—for more than 20 years. I’ve also worked with hundreds of students that have similar challenges. In fact, many students turn to yoga when they’re facing lower-back problems.