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


4 Reasons Yoga is More Than Just a Workout
4 Reasons Yoga is More Than Just a Workout
Yoga is a lifestyle, and it teaches us to look within, rather than look for answers outside of ourselves. Many people practice yoga for physical reasons – yes, it’s a good stretching exercise, a great workout, and can be a powerful tool for weight loss; but is that all that yoga is? What other benefits of yoga exist that set it apart from other forms of exercise and fitness? The history of yoga begins 5,000 years ago, in the Indian culture. At it's origins, yoga philosophy has very little to do with the body and a physical practice. Sacred communities would practice rituals for spiritual development for centuries to come. Later, the practice spread around the globe and other cultures began practicing. As yoga evolved and developed, different ideas and beliefs were merged, and it was realized that spiritual awakening is as a sum of cumulative factors put together like puzzle pieces. It’s not only one idea or focus that matters; it’s a multitude of ideas. The physical piece of yoga is an important piece, but it's merely one of several puzzle pieces. So, why is yoga more than just a workout?

Challenge Yourself!
Challenge Yourself!
You’ve built a regular yoga practice and step onto your mat several times a week. Congratulations on your commitment and your positive healthy lifestyle. Consistency and dedication are key elements in creating a strong yoga practice you love. Wait one second––hit the pause button right now and check in with where you are today. Are you challenging yourself or have you settled into a nice comfortable routine? Have you had any ‘aha’ moments lately on the mat, like when you noticed your concentration was laser focused or you managed to hold Tree Pose effortlessly? Or perhaps you are just going through the motions and have lost a little of your yoga high. We all have our favorite styles, teachers, and classes, but sometimes in order to develop, you need to get uncomfortable. We aren’t suggesting you toss out all your favorites and start over, but what about adding in a challenge every week? In order to grow and progress on your yoga mat and in your daily life, you have to push beyond your boundaries and try something new or different.

5 Mood Boosting Foods
5 Mood Boosting Foods
We all need an occasional boost in mood and energy! Try these 5 foods for an almost instant energizer to your mind, body, and soul!

Chewy Cacao Bars
Chewy Cacao Bars
Summertime is right around the corner, and we are looking forward to a season full of cookouts, outdoor gatherings, and family trips. Coming up with treats that are healthy but also easy to eat on the go can be hard, so we’ve come up with a recipe that hits the spot! Our Chewy Cacao Bars are a great treat for picnics, outdoor parties, road trips – you name it! And they totally blow away those overly-processed and sugar-filled snack bars. This is one of many recipes that are included in our 80:20 Lifestyle Program. We’ve developed this program to help you maintain your post-Cleanse vibrancy, but still have room to indulge every once in a while, so you can live life to the fullest (and healthiest)!

One Year Without Alcohol: Month 4
One Year Without Alcohol: Month 4
So by now I’m starting to get really clear on what’s going on, and not surprisingly it is related to all of the yoga teaching I preach on a daily basis. I suppose we all have a slightly different reason and inspiration for teaching or practicing yoga, but for me a focus of my classes are often what we learn when we come up against our edge. The past few months have been about more than just abstaining from alcohol, or shifting the need for comfort onto other things. I’m starting to realize it’s actually about me not wanting to get uncomfortable. More specifically, not moving out of my comfort zone. So I numb myself, and it doesn’t really matter if it’s alcohol, or shopping, or staying super busy, or gossiping to put the focus on other people and not me.

Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
We all have our favorite yoga asanas or postures and most yogis agree that twists are awesome. This week, we’re focusing on twists and how beneficial they are for your spine, your digestive organs, and your general sense of well-being. Of course, like all physical practices, it’s important to make sure you are using proper form and breathing techniques to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. Twists help nourish your entire spine, help maintain spinal health and prevent back pain. Twisting is one of the major directions in which your spine moves, but how often do you twist throughout the day? Most of us move primarily in the sagittal (front to back) and frontal planes (lateral) which can lead to compression. Without balanced movement for our vertebrae, muscles, and connective tissues, our spine can grow stiff and tight.

Sweet Potato Toast (3 Ways)!
Sweet Potato Toast (3 Ways)!
‘Tis the season…for brunch! Chances are, you may be planning a Mother’s Day brunch gathering this weekend or next, and we have the perfect healthy entree that will look amazing on any brunch spread. The best part? It’s super easy to make! Presenting…Sweet Potato Toast (3 Ways)! Everyone is going nuts for avocado toast these days, so we’ve given it a healthy makeover by serving it on toasted slices of sweet potato! For those who are sensitive to avocado or aren’t as fond of it as we are, we’ve also topped our sweet potato slices with our fan-favorite Beet Hummus. And for those who are craving a sweeter snack, we’ve made a version topped with almond butter, banana, and cinnamon. Is your mouth watering yet?

Break These 10 Habits to Maintain Good Hair
Break These 10 Habits to Maintain Good Hair
Who doesn’t love the sight of beautiful, lustrous hair? Don’t you want it to shine like those in the commercials? I bet you do. It might be possible to relate to some bad hair habits we have inculcated in our routined life. Getting rid of these can help you maintain your hair’s beauty and glow. Improper hair care habits such as over usage of chemical products and careless handling of wet hair can negatively impact your hair. Many people often fail to realize the importance of maintaining hair until the moment they start to realize it’s beginning to fall off. Here is a list of 10 different things you’ve been doing wrong the whole time, that you can prevent to maintain good hair!

A Tribute to Yoga Mamas
A Tribute to Yoga Mamas
Ever noticed how the word Mom has OM in it? It’s no surprise then that moms across the globe consider yoga to be an antidote to the sacrifices that come with being a mom. Whether you are going through the thrills of your first pregnancy, finding your footing as a new mom, living in the grey zone of your child’s teen years or readjusting to an empty nest - doesn’t everything seem better with yoga? On Mother’s Day we thank you for showing us how yoga can double the joys of motherhood, no matter where you are in the process. To The New-Mom Yogi From guilt-free naps during Savasana to chanting a low “Ommmmmmmmmm” to pacify a crying baby, the New-Mom Yogi finds ways in which she can extend the lessons on the mat to her new life. New moms often don’t have time for a shower, let alone for a 75 minute yoga and meditation session. There’s no shame in spit-up stains or greasy hair, and whoever set the expectation that you can “snap back” to your old body in a couple months (or ever) has obviously never tried it themselves.

3 Reasons Why Yoga Can Make your Relationship Work Better
3 Reasons Why Yoga Can Make your Relationship Work Better
The ancient time-tested practice of yoga can assist one in sustaining healthy and dynamic intimate relationships. Developed and fine-tuned centuries past, yoga can help us to achieve the highest forms of intimacy with ourselves, which will make us more ripe to experience this in a relationship with another. Relationships sometimes take work, and sometimes working on ourselves is the most effective way to make your relationship work better. The yogic path advocates integrity and a kinder approach to life, both on and off the mat. These qualities are allies in having harmonious partnerships and meaningful friendships in life. Yoga increases one's consciousness, which can transform one into a better person in certain respects. Yoga encourages us to turn to our inner self and assume responsibility for who we are, the way we feel, and how we show up in the world. For many people, this translates into a lesser sense of entitlement and lesser need for drama in their lives. Our attitudes and mindset about conflict and handling disagreement, also have an opportunity to evolve as a result of yoga and meditation. When disagreements arise, which they always will in intimate relationships, the residue of one's yoga practice, can assist them in not succumbing to anger, or dwelling on what's not perfect about their partner.

Salad of Abundance with Sunflower Vinaigrette
Salad of Abundance with Sunflower Vinaigrette
Spring is here for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means the start of fresh veggie season! Yay! We love going to our local farmer’s market and seeing all the delicious fresh produce available. And what better way to use that fresh bounty of seasonal vegetables than to make a big, beautiful, meal-sized salad? Here at the Conscious Cleanse, meal-sized salads are not your average skimpy side salad, but a salad big and bountiful enough to leave you feeling full and satisfied. This salad is filled with fresh greens, colorful veggies, sprouts, a creamy salad dressing, and your favorite plant or animal protein. It truly looks and tastes like the definition of abundance! What’s your favorite spring salad ingredient? If you try this recipe, tag us on Facebook or Instagram, we LOVE seeing how our readers make our recipes their own.

6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
Backbends are exceptionally and uniquely beneficial yoga postures. This family of poses have impactful physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Understanding and practicing these poses can allow one to access these benefits and experience real-life breakthroughs and improvements to their well-being. Here are the 6 best benefits of yoga backbends! 1. Get Happy. Backbends bring strong emotional benefits. Iyengar and other yoga teachers recommend backbends as to cure for depression. These shapes have the potential to relieve heavy sadness, and you can see it in their form. When one is sad, their posture and body language is often hunched forwards, with their head hanging down. Backbends are the opposite, and reverse this pattern, giving an uplifting improvement to one's posture and a boost to their mood.

Body & Mind Connection
Body & Mind Connection
Why did you start practicing yoga? Many of us come to the mat for the physical benefits of flexibility, strength, balance, and equanimity. Some people start a yoga journey for the promised benefits of relieving stress and quieting the mind. Others seek spiritual enlightenment. No matter what path you travel, you’ll receive the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga. Yoga’s benefits are interconnected. According to T.K.V. Desikachar, the author of the Heart of Yoga, it all stems from Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga and his seminal text, the Yoga Sutras: “…the essence of Yoga, was formulated by the great Indian sage, Patanjali, more than two thousand years ago in this succinct definition: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.” -Yoga Sutra 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodhah We live in a busy world governed by multi-tasking, speed, and technology. Choosing to turn off your phone, and to leave work, relationships, and daily stress behind is the first step to creating a clear, peaceful mind.

Not Your Grandma's Three Bean Salad
Not Your Grandma's Three Bean Salad
Three. Bean. Salad. These three words can evoke childhood memories of a sweet and sour side salad often served at family cookouts. It seems as though you were either a big fan or completely disgusted by it. (Note: we were both the latter, but today’s recipes has changed everything!) ​Today we’ve taken a traditional recipe and turn it on its head, modernizing it with fresh flavors that will have you scratching your head saying, “I can’t believe this is a Three Bean Salad!” Welcome to the new millennium Three Bean Salad! Although we may not describe ourselves as regular bean eaters, they no doubt are a staple in many vegetarian and vegan diets. Filled with protein, fiber, and B vitamins, beans can be an important part of a healthy diet. Not Your Grandma’s Three Bean Salad makes a colorful, tasty, and healthy choice to bring to your next BBQ, summer potluck, or even camping! Plus, this recipe will take you less than 30 minutes to toss together. Bonus!

How to Take Action Toward Your Goals (and Why You Haven't Yet)
How to Take Action Toward Your Goals (and Why You Haven't Yet)
This is where meditation can be a great asset. Just taking time to pause and separate yourself from your own mind. Observe your thoughts as they come and go without attachment or judgement. Get curious, watch yourself think. It can also be extremely helpful to have a coach to help tease from your the deep, dank thoughts and beliefs that haven’t shone themselves to you in some time. When you start to clearly see your thoughts that drive your feelings that create your actions, you empower yourself to make the decision whether or not you actually want to change. Maybe, when push comes to shove, you actually don’t? But trying to change from the action level alone without this behind-the-scenes sleuthing will be most likely frustrating, and perhaps even futile. Instead, look into the big WHY you’re doing or not doing something. It may take a bit of reverse engineering.

Love Yourself & Choose You
Love Yourself & Choose You
Give some thought to the relationships in your life. Is there one that stands out? Is there a partnership you can pinpoint as the most important? Who has made an imprint on your heart and soul? Is it a partner? A parent? A best friend? A spiritual guide? It’s normal to forget about the relationship which you didn’t technically sign up for but the one that will last an entire lifetime. It is your relationship with yourself. It’s arguably the most important relationship to stay aware of, and put love into. You make a choice to stay committed to yourself, by getting out of bed each morning. But sometimes we are neglectful of this relationship to ourself, and can simply sleep walk or auto-pilot through our waking hours. But, you have an ability to go above and beyond the most basic commitments to yourself and merely going through the motions. You have the ability to put love, attention, nurture, and care, into how you treat and show up for yourself. Emphasis on this relationship with yourself, and cultivating healthy self-love, has the ability to change your life for the better.

Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
We all have that friend who seems naturally confident and fearless about being exactly who they are, regardless of the situation. Or, perhaps you are the confident one and have learned to tap into your true self and exhibit your personal power. A healthy amount of ego can be a good thing—a strong sense of self-confidence drives success and helps us live an authentic life. True confidence comes from within and self-assurance is a quality that can be cultivated, practiced, and strengthened. It's not just something that comes naturally to some people, and not to others, with nothing we can do to improve our sense of self-confidence. Utilizing yogic techniques of asana, pranayama, and meditation, we can uncover and address the layers of insecurity obscuring our inner strength and practice improving our own self-confidence. Sound good? How can yoga work to help you feel more self-assured in public or be able to speak your truth in a difficult relationship? Yoga can help balance your Manipura chakra, which is associated with the ego, self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and fire.

Frozen Avocado Margarita
Frozen Avocado Margarita
For many, spring is in the air and the weather is getting warmer. To celebrate, we’ve blended up a new Conscious Cocktail just for you! Our Frozen Avocado Margarita is the perfect detox-retox drink combining fresh avocado and cilantro with the tangy-lime tequila we love in a good margarita! Looking for more refreshing cocktails (or mocktails)? Check out some of our favorites here. Enjoy your margaritas and 80:20!

What is Karma? It's Importance in our Self-Realization
What is Karma? It's Importance in our Self-Realization
Yoga tells us that karma is certain. Every thought, word, and action has a vibrational energy that consciously, or unconsciously, creates our reality and experience. In simplest terms, this is karma. Einstein told us that the Universe is curved, supporting Newton’s Law and the Law of Karma, that everything will eventually, and inevitably come back to us. You don't have to believe in past lives or anything esoteric to understand karma. It's the idea that everything we do, or think, has a reaction and a result. It's a simple law of cause and effect. The lessons of karma have an important role for our evolution. It guides us like a treasure map to journey into the mysteries of who we are and what we desire. However, not all experiences of our karma feel good. The challenges we’ve faced like a “bad” relationship, job, illness, addiction, etc. are a result of our karma, and are actually guiding us. The guidance leads us to know with certainty what kind of relationship, job, lifestyle, or behavior we want. Karma can remind us that we deserve the best that we can imagine for ourselves, and if things aren’t going so good, it’s time to change.

5 Celebration Ideas for Earth Day
5 Celebration Ideas for Earth Day
Get Grounded. Celebrating Earth Day with 5 Rituals and 4 New Yoga Classes How will you thank Mother Earth and celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd? 193 countries around the globe hold events to celebrate Earth Day. To honor the planet that provides our home and sustains us with air, water, food and all our necessities, take the time to attend a local event or create your own ritual. This week, we’ve got five celebratory suggestions for you, in addition to four new classes that embody the qualities of our planet. Grounded, strong, reliable, and generous. Here are 5 celebration ideas to make give thanks to the Earth and make your Earth Day meaningful!

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.