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


6 Ways To Practice Native American Spirituality Everyday
6 Ways To Practice Native American Spirituality Everyday
Lately I’ve seen a growing trend in wearing feathers, headdresses, tribal prints and tattoos. However, as these things become more chic, I hope no one loses sight of the true heritage behind them. Although it may be nonsensical to compare ourselves here and now to how we were as a species hundreds or thousands of years ago in some places, there is an important essence of acknowledging where we have been, and those who came before us, to understand where we are going, especially for those living on lands previously by an ancient culture. We have the power to admire, implement, and benefit from the traditions and spirituality of Native Americans (and other indigenous cultures from around the world). For many tribes, their deep and spiritual connection with the land in which they lived, is profound, and can teach us a great deal about our own connection with the earth.

Vegan "Kimchi"
Vegan
By now you’ve probably heard that gut health is an important part of the overall picture of what it means to live in a healthy, disease-free body. With more research coming out every day, we’re just scratching the surface in terms of what we know about the depth and complexity of the gut biome. What we do know is that it’s important to build up the healthy bacteria in your gut. And today’s recipe will help you do just that! Most people see the word ‘bacteria’ and run. We’ve been taught that bacteria is bad and that we should kill it, sanitize it, and get rid of it at all cost. But, hold onto your horses – healthy bacteria is a completely different story! And having a healthy gut biome is key to vibrant health. According to Dr. Mark Hyman, “Optimal gut health has become a prominent focus in 21st century health. Having too many bad critters hanging out in the gut has been linked to numerous problems – including autism, obesity, diabetes, allergies, autoimmunity, depression, cancer, heart disease, fibromyalgia, eczema, and asthma. The links between chronic illness and an imbalanced microbiome (or gut bacteria) keep growing every day.” There are many ways you can improve your gut health, which will also promote a stronger immune system since so much of the immune system is actually found in the gut.

Quick Morning Yoga Poses for an Energized & Productive Day
Quick Morning Yoga Poses for an Energized & Productive Day
Trying to jump-start your day with a vigor and energy? You must be thinking of coffee or tea, right? If not caffeine, you may be wondering then what else could work! An energizing morning yoga practice can work as a natural stimulant, and set you up for a whole productive day. Yoga, especially some backbending sequences and the strong breathing practices in the morning, will help refresh your body and give you energy. It is a common for people to sleep with their spine and hips rounded in a position similar to the fetal position. This can feel calming while they rest and contemplate, but can also leave lingering tightness upon awaking. Sun salutations, backbends, and even forward bends, stretch and extend the hips and spine, nicely, and provide a counterpose of sorts to this sleeping position. Simply put, yoga can take you from a posture of sleepiness, to one of openness, energy and alertness, by waking up your body. This will also bring clarity and focus to your mind to prepare for a productive day. You can take just 10, 20 or 30 minutes, (whichever time span you like and have time for) and start preparing for the day full of vigor with yoga to start your morning.

Stretch Yourself to Sleep: 5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Stretch Yourself to Sleep: 5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
We all know how the next day feels when we don’t sleep well. Missing out on the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep nightly does more than just make you grouchy, it can affect your physical and mental health. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Practicing Yoga before bed to wind down is a better option than stimulating the mind with your computer, television or smartphone. There are different types of yoga for different goals. The best option to promote sleep is a sequence of gentle, basic postures at a slow pace. Bedtime is not the time for an energizing practice, save that for morning, afternoon, or early evening. *It is not unusual to fall asleep in the final pose, Savasna, so you might want to set your alarm before you start the sequence! Try these 5 Yoga Poses tonight for better sleep (they can all be done in bed):

4 Ways to a Good Night's Sleep: Yoga for Better Sleep
4 Ways to a Good Night's Sleep: Yoga for Better Sleep
“Yo-yo”ing between little to no sleep can be frustrating, unproductive and draining both physically and mentally. We’ve all been there at some point, making it worse with the anxiety of knowing we’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Whether your sleep is hit by insomnia, children or pressure at work, here are sure shot ways to take back your night and sleep soundly. 1. No Really, Cut Your Caffeine This is not new, but maybe you thought you were immune from this rule because you don’t feel jittery before bed. Well, the caffeine from your afternoon cup of coffee or tea is staying with you longer than you might think. Everyone’s cut off time is different, so say no to caffeine after noon and when hit by the urge for something warm try herbal tea. What’s even better at helping you stay awake and focused is meditation. Try Keith Allen’s 15-minute Meditate and Cultivate Calm. The happy hormones released during meditation will set you up for a goodnight's sleep later.

One Year without Alcohol: Month 3
One Year without Alcohol: Month 3
Month three of sobriety and I find myself back in NYC, in the last hurrah of winter. The bitter cold hasn’t broken yet and my warm blooded skin is so ready for spring. My relationship to alcohol is tepid. I go out with friends and feel comfortable not drinking, but I do notice this desire to give to myself not only alcohol, but other indulgences that don’t necessarily serve my best self, not to mention my waistline. So this month I decided to explore what my alternatives are for treats, self care, and ways to give to myself. This month it was in the form of a fairly expensive facial, which I haven’t given to myself in 8 years.

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
We’re excited to share a new 80:20 recipe with you! One of Jules’ family's all-time favorite candy is the special chocolate peanut butter eggs that Reese’s makes. So good. So addicting. So full of sugar and other crap. To help us all avoid the candy, and subsequent sugar hangover, we whipped up these delicious Chocolate Almond Butter Cups. They’re as decadent (without being too sweet) as they are cute. Be sure to Amazon Prime this little silicone baking mold if you don’t already have one.

5 Ways Yoga & Creative Writing Go Together
5 Ways Yoga & Creative Writing Go Together
I have been an avid yoga enthusiast for several years now. I started when I saw an insane post on Instagram of a guy pouring a cup of tea with his leg behind his head while standing reading a magazine. I couldn’t even touch my toes. I’ve also loved writing for as long as I can remember, so much so, that I’ve made a career out of it. I used to write stories, create fantasy worlds or make up imaginary characters. Creative writing brought my imagination to life. Creative writing and yoga can both take your mind to a state of presence and fuel the imagination. Here are five ways that yoga and creative writing, two seemingly different activities, can complement each other.

Get in the Flow
Get in the Flow
When is the last time you were “in the flow?” You know, when you were doing something you love, like surfing with the sun warming your face and the water glistening around you? Or, when you were dancing to your favorite band and responsibilities disappeared or when you were running with the breeze kissing your skin? When you’re so immersed in the activity, you aren’t conscious of the doing; you are simply doing. We’ve all slipped into involuntary Dhyana and often believe we need a certain activity to find that beautiful sense of being in the moment, free from external distractions. What if you could achieve that state voluntarily without the ocean, concert hall, or running shoes? You can. Yoga can help you discover this place. Roll out your yoga mat because you can get into your zone right now. We bring you four new flow classes this week, all focusing on different aspects of finding your flow state through breath and movement. "Flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity."

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Brain
5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Brain
It’s no secret that yoga is great for your body. It helps build strength, flexibility and overall body awareness. However, did you know yoga is also great for your brain and has an array of benefits to arguably your most important organ? Here are 5 ways doing yoga can bring benefits to your brain and why! 1. Stay in the Present The practice of yoga, is really the practice of being present on the mat. Yoga has the power the bring back into the present, a mind that is off in the future trying to plan dinner for the rest of the week or worrying about an important phone call with your boss. By learning to be present during your yoga practice, you’re actually retraining your brain. You’re teaching it to stop worrying about the future and to concentrate instead on the present more in life. This results in less stress and an increased ability to think things through logically instead of defaulting to your typical stress reactions. Presence is powerful, can help our minds recognize the present moment.

Yoga for Detox, Cleansing, & Vitality
Yoga for Detox, Cleansing, & Vitality
Our bodies are incredible. In our natural state, we are designed to function perfectly, and our systems are formulated to eliminate toxins. When we eat whole, natural foods, stay active, and practice yoga, we shouldn’t need help to maintain digestion, circulation, and lymphatic flow. Environmental factors such as the air we breathe, the soil where our food is grown, and the water we drink, however, are often out of our control. Even if we are doing our best to take care of ourselves, external influences accumulate and can leave us feeling heavy inside and out.

5 Tips for Cleansing on a Budget
5 Tips for Cleansing on a Budget
If you happen to be new to cleansing, it’s easy to find yourself spending extra time in the kitchen as well as the grocery store filling your cart with all the new ingredients and healthy alternatives. At first glance, eating healthy may seem to be more costly, but today we’re gonna show you how to cleanse on a budget and save yourself some cash. For years, I ate almost every meal out. I bought prepackaged convenience snacks, indulged in specialty coffee and tea drinks and only shopped at “Whole Paycheck.” The Thai food takeout driver and I were on a first name basis. My thinking was, “since I’m just one person, it’s cheaper for me to eat out and not waste money and/or food by cooking for just myself.” Turns out, just the opposite was true, not to mention not as healthy. Over the last five years, I’ve learned that in order to make a quantum leap in my health I would have focus on fresh whole foods and prepare most, if not all of my meals at home. These practices not only make me feel good, but they’ve also made my bank account much happier too.

Rethinking Clean: 5 Ways to Detox your Household Cleaners
Rethinking Clean: 5 Ways to Detox your Household Cleaners
The inevitable urge to clean up their home, car or closet will soon emerge for people doing a food and/or yoga cleanse.. We call this the natural spillover effect. When you cleanse yourself on the inside and your mind isn’t running wild on caffeine and sugar, you start to think more clearly. When you’re thinking more clearly, you start to connect more deeply with your surroundings, oftentimes producing a spontaneous desire to clean out the junk drawer, reorganize your closet or donate the growing pile of stuff in the basement. [lemon rosemary cleaner] Tackling some of these big projects can feel quite liberating, especially if they’ve been energetically weighing you down (in come cases for years!). I had one cleanser tell me this week that she cleaned out her basement and now she keeps going back downstairs just to look at it because it makes her feel so happy and light. Sounds good, doesn’t? How would you like to feel this way about your entire life? While this might sound like a grand idea in theory, the reality is oftentimes much different. It can feel daunting and even downright overwhelming to think about all the ways in which you want to detox or change your space. For many of us, we can’t even keep up with the mail and the recycling, let alone all the other “should dos.”

Dandelion Root Coffee
Dandelion Root Coffee
In a recent recipe and blog post, I dropped the “caffeine bomb”. Many of you reading are saying, “Ugh, I’d rather not talk about that anymore.” But just in case you missed it, here are some reasons to consider giving up your beloved coffee drink! This week we’re here to offer an alternative, to soften the blow of going sans coffee with a “too good to be true” coffee alternative. Enter, Dandelion Root Coffee. Dandelion root, often associated with the pesky dandelion weed, has been used for centuries to treat depression, scurvy and even diabetes. It’s difficult to find dandelion root in most health food stores, so you’re best bet is to buy it online. We bought our dandelion root and chicory from Frontier Natural Products and Starwest Botanicals. A great liver detoxifier, dandelion root, it is also known for aiding in digestion and weight loss. The other magic ingredient in this nutty warm elixir is chicory, which gives this drink its rich coffee flavor. Chicory is full of antioxidants and helps to reduce inflammation in the body to boot.

The Bright Side of Anger
The Bright Side of Anger
Do you label your feelings as good vs bad? Do you push away the painful and only welcome the pleasant? Do you offer each of your emotions and experiences the same amount of energy? Do you ever feel grateful for your anger? Most of us, the answer is a simple no. We prefer the feel good over the fear based. It can be said it's better to be in a state of positive emotional health, more than in despair and suffering. Still, a full range of feelings is an inevitable part of the human experience and each unique emotion has the potential to teach us something worthwhile. For many, we welcome positive emotions with open arms, and kick and scream when negative emotions such as anger, disappointment, and sadness, are felt. If the end goal is one of acceptance and self-love, shouldn’t we have as much acceptance for our perceived weaknesses and uncomfortable emotions, as we do in our celebrated emotional triumphs and perceived strengths? We can only truly be at peace with ourselves, when we are able to experience peace even in the midst of uncomfortable emotions.

Strong to the Core
Strong to the Core
What if we told you that by strengthening your core, you could not only reap physical benefits like improved posture, a healthy back, toned abdominals, better digestion and organ health, but also fire up your self-confidence and inner radiance? This week we’ve got four new classes to power up every aspect of your center from the outside in and the inside out. Your core houses the Manipura or navel chakra, which is considered the source of your identity and the center of your ego and personal power. Self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and fire are all qualities associated with the third of seven main chakras or energy centers. By employing asana, pranayama, mantras and guided meditation to stoke the fire in your belly you can burn through any layers of self-doubt and trust in your self. Look at it this way: You aren’t simply working to create toned abdominals.

The Joys of Doing: Fitness, Yoga, & Meditation
The Joys of Doing: Fitness, Yoga, & Meditation
Most modern yogis agree it is a huge relief to focus on the simple “be”-ing of life, and that keeps us coming back to our mats every day. It really is easy to understand, considering how busy most everyone is in the Western world. However, the westernization of yoga through hatha yoga doesn’t change what yoga is except in that it evolves the practice. The word “hatha” in Sanskrit means “force”, and hatha yoga was established in hopes of “forcing” the benefits of the practice, as well as the practice itself, upon the individual. This branch of yoga is where we see a driven focus on the asanas. A contemporary twist to yoga offered by the western world are more fitness and sculpt based styles of yoga. As this trend continues to sweep North America, it has evolved quickly over the past five years alone. Many classes teach it as “yoga with weights” while others incorporate less yoga and more body-weight exercises, modeled as “fitness-style yoga”.

Green Goddess Soup
Green Goddess Soup
Purification is all about slowing down and tuning in. Take a brisk walk to soak up the elusive sunshine with your favorite pup, go to the yin yoga class you’ve been thinking about all week, or spend some quality downtime with friends and family. We have come up with a bright, tasty, and creative soup. It’s full of phytonutrients, minerals, and fiber. All of these contribute to overall nervous system health while being comforting and a little classy too! The gremolata puts to use the zest of the lemon and reminds us that spring is just around the corner. Use your creativity to swirl and twirl the Coconut Crema on top of the soup. Like a mini art class! Enjoy! And Happy Purification!

5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
Does seeing #yogaeverydamnday make you wonder how do people do it? Because you for one, are struggling to find the time to do yoga ANY damn day? We know why we should practice, sometimes we just need help with the when, and how. The old adage ‘you don’t have time, you make time,’ is not very helpful. We know you’re busy, we’re all (insanely) busy. And if by some miracle we do find the much needed ‘me time,’ it’s hard not to sink into the familiar urge to relax into Netflix. But the truth is, the busier you are, the more you need a daily practice (which is way healthier than binging Black Mirror). Practice takes practice, so we’ve put together our 5 favorite tips to get busy yogis on the mat every day, for both, a quick and instant pick-me-up, and the long term benefits of yoga.

7 Yoga Benefits for Students
7 Yoga Benefits for Students
Are you stressed out and sleep-deprived? If you’re a student, you probably answered yes. You’re constantly looking for a way to relax. You’re trying to be more focused on the lectures, but you’re too tired to understand what the professors say. It’s okay. You shouldn’t feel guilty about facing challenges that all other students are dealing with. The only question is: what can you do to reduce your stress? Have you been thinking about trying yoga, but haven’t found the trigger yet? You’ve been admiring those popular Instagram yogis, but you were probably thinking: “I could never do this.” Guess what: you can. Plus, yoga is much more than just the poses. Under the surface you see on Instagram, there’s peace, focus, and success.

One Year Without Alcohol: Month 2
One Year Without Alcohol: Month 2
So my Dry 2018 has met the big Kahuna: a break-up! As I mentioned in Month 1, I’m not a huge drinker, but when this time of life comes around, your girlfriends (and sisters or guy friends, etc.) will no doubt hit you with “You need a drink” or “You can let that not drinking thing go now, right”? Well, not exactly. The advantage to being 36 and a yogi is that I don’t actually want to drown my sorrows. I actually want to feel them. I want to fully experience them and learn from them. I want to sit with them and see how I’ve helped create my current situation and how I can create something different next time. Mild drinking or smoking a joint or shopping or staying busy are all relatively acceptable forms of escapism in some yogi circles, but you reach a point in your life where you realize you either deal with it now, or deal with it later.

Raw Cacao Bites
Raw Cacao Bites
The other night we had our cleanse-friendly community dinner at Zeal and we met a young woman who had severe eczema. Allergy tests confirmed several food intolerances, chocolate being one of them. As diehard chocolate lovers, of course, we gasped. Allergic to chocolate? What could be worse? True to form, we started to dig deeper. This young woman, all of 13 years of age, wasn’t allergic to chocolate, she was allergic to dairy! So we asked her if she had ever tried cacao. Not to be confused with cocoa (or cocoa powder), cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can eat.

Back to the Basics
Back to the Basics
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. -Shunryu Suzuki Do you remember your first yoga class? Or maybe you’ve never stepped onto a mat and something intangible is holding you back from beginning a yoga practice. Wherever you are on your yoga journey, pause and take a moment to let go of all you think you know about yoga, whether you’ve been practicing for a decade or a day. It’s great to go back to the beginning and remind yourself of how far you've come and that there isn’t only one way. A certain freedom exists when you come from a place of curiosity and openness. If you’ve been practicing for a while, you might have your favorite teachers, classes, and regular practice schedule. While that’s great, there’s a thin line between continuing to grow and sinking into a rut. This week, return to that place where you are open to hearing, processing, and accepting new information. You know, before you knew it all? Be open and step outside your comfort zone.

5 Reasons to Make a Yoga & Meditation Retreat in India your Next Vacation
5 Reasons to Make a Yoga & Meditation Retreat in India your Next Vacation
Vacation on your mind, but yearning for something different? Let’s retreat with a cause in the yoga haven of India, where the ancient science of the Vedas has proliferated into a compelling alternative lifestyle which is sustainable, self-empowering, and enriched with deeply seated wisdom. The legacy of yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda ricochets in this birth land of ancient yogis and world peace leaders. In the far North, the Himalayas stand in all its majestic glory where yoga has been a way of life since long ago. And in the deep South, in the tropical stretches of Kerala, Ayurveda, the priceless medicine of the Vedic civilization is still maintained in lived practices. Where else can you spend your days off to get rejuvenated and feel the power surging within at a cellular level, but here in India! Here are reasons why you must experience this awesomeness as your next vacation.

How the Moon Influences Your Mind
How the Moon Influences Your Mind
"Moon is two, the duality that is the basis for the workings of the mind and emotion. It is relationship, balance, and interchange." -Dr. David Frawley We're all luna(r)tics. Isn't it wonderful to know the fluctuations of the mind are more cyclical than radical. You can better understand the aspects of the mind and subconscious by connecting to the energetic shifts within the lunar cycle. The right + left hemispheres of the mind are activated by specific lunar days. Each side alternating like a perfectly balanced symphony. Naturally conducted by the phases of the moon to bring balance between active/receptive, masculine/feminine. Actions and life force (Prana) are improved when aligned with the energetic phases of the moon. One is able to draw down the cosmic nourishing powers of the moon to strengthen the mind/body/spirit. A harmonic expansion of consciousness + vital energy (Prana) begins to unfold to evolve beyond conditioned karma.