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


Transmutation
Transmutation
This week I looked up the word transmute again – just to see if that theme actually vibrated with what I have been feeling into. Because you see, when I “pick” a theme, I actually allow it to come to me. I look to see what’s happening in the planets and I feel into what’s “hot” out there. And then I see how and if it relates, so things make sense.

Leaping Forward
Leaping Forward
A grasshopper leaps only forward…it never leaps backward! When you think about it, that really makes so much sense.

Riddle Me Some Reality
Riddle Me Some Reality
Expanding the definition of reality beyond the usual time, money and politics is generally considered naive or delusional. Aspects of life that are immeasurable or defy explanation are relegated to the realm of hearsay and mysticism. But from a purely pragmatic standpoint, magic is undeniable.

On the Close of Practice
On the Close of Practice
How I close my yoga practice I don’t ‘om.’ It’s not that I have anything against it; it’s just not part of my secular world view or self-practice. I also don’t say ‘namaste’ – I’m from Florida and grew up saying “hi,” “bye,” and “thank you”, and for me it just doesn’t seem genuine (to me! for other teachers of course it can come from their heart and soul) to adopt someone else’s greeting. But I do treat the close of practice pretty seriously and over the years have refined how I close the practice for myself and for my students in class. This is where it stands lately.

Intuition - Dana Damara
Intuition - Dana Damara
All week I have been playing in the realm of intuitive guidance. In fact, one of my phrases for the year is intuitive guidance. Being open to it, as always, but more than that, actually following it. Really dropping in and listening … intently. Not questioning, not wondering, but actually following through.

How Meditation Improved My ADD
How Meditation Improved My ADD
Although I have never been tested for Attention Deficit Disorder, I’m confident I would have fallen into that category.

Superfood Probiotic Vegetarian Protein Salad
Superfood Probiotic Vegetarian Protein Salad
It’s sort of totally amazing and fabulous. Loads of FLAVOR – FIBER – PROTEIN – PROBIOTICS – NUTRIENTS – HEALTHY FATS.

Yoga and Your Hips, Part III
Yoga and Your Hips, Part III
These are, hands down, my favorite 15 poses for opening the hips. Creating a balanced, effective hip-opening sequence is simple if you know how the hip muscles are laid out. When you don’t have for a map for their hips, you’re at a higher risk for overstretching your hamstrings and external rotators compared to your hip flexors and adductors. Teachers make this mistake in their sequencing regularly and, as a result, hamstring insertion injuries are one of the most prevalent injuries in modern yoga

Yoga and Your Hips, Part II
Yoga and Your Hips, Part II
For more than a decade, I’ve quivered at the thought of attending a hip-opening workshop. Having played ice hockey and been a skateboarder for more 15 years, my hips were molten lead that no amount of Pigeon Pose could crack open. Now, 20 years in, I’ve chipped away and breathed steadily enough to be halfway comfortable and mobile in these joints.

Improve Your Chaturanga
Improve Your Chaturanga
Chaturanga Dandasana is hugely common in vinyasa flow classes and often vilified or blamed for all sorts of injuries. Some of that may be true, especially if done quickly, forcefully, and without any concern for alignment. I prefer to think positively about what chaturanga delivers, although extolling its virtues may fall on deaf ears and tired arms. With sincerity, I believe it is an efficient and effective transition from plank into upward-facing dog, priming the strength of the arms and shoulders to deliver the backbend energetically as well as giving an opportunity for rhythmic breath and movement.

Discernment
Discernment
How can we possibly discern what is true for us and beneficial for the evolution of our soul when we are bombarded by life? And by bombarded I don’t mean that we’ve lost control some how. I just mean, sometimes life moves at the speed of light and honestly, we start to move at that speed without knowing it and that’s not always the best thing.

Polish Your Gem: Samskara
Polish Your Gem: Samskara
Samskaras are impressions imprinted in the mind, created by our life experiences. They form together and create habitual patterns that can be experienced physically, mentally, or emotionally.

I Am Not This Phone
I Am Not This Phone
Now that the information superhighway is such a ubiquitous part of our lives, repercussions must be reckoned with. In this time of smartphones and big data, the ancient yogic practice of questioning our identifications needs to include the technologies that have become appendages to our minds and bodies.

Discipline
Discipline
Discipline is defined as a branch of knowledge or the practice of training people. I find this interesting as a yoga “teacher,” for a few reasons. One is that that while I am a teacher, I am also only a student. And honestly, the only person I am ever really training is myself.

Work Smarter: Office Breaks For Your Brain and Body
Work Smarter: Office Breaks For Your Brain and Body
It’s 3pm. You’re brain is fuzzy. It’s getting harder and harder to focus. Your body is sore from sitting. And you just want to make that final push to get that last bit done and then you’ll take a break.

The Year Yoga Came Home to Roost
The Year Yoga Came Home to Roost
For the modern yoga world, 2015 was a time of reckoning. The veneer of yoga lifestyle branding dulled further and the un-photoshopped belly continued to garner greater market appeal. Both grassroots and corporate entities that staked claims in the once vast frontier are now scrambling to stay ahead of the digital winds that are shaping the new paradigm.

Non-Negotiable Brilliance
Non-Negotiable Brilliance
This past year has provided big shifts for me, and I know (from personal connection) for a lot of you as well. I have witnessed shakedowns, breakdowns, breakthroughs, breakups, epiphanies, and big page-turners. But really, it’s not any different than any other year, now is it?

Vegan Pumpkin Chai Smoothie
Vegan Pumpkin Chai Smoothie
If you ask me, it’s always pumpkin season. Thank goodness for canned pumpkin! To avoid all the extra stuff in the store bought or coffee shop smoothies or pumpkin lattes – I like to whip something up at home and know exactly what is in one of my favorite pumpkin treats.

Sankalpa - Spiritually Aligning for the New Year
Sankalpa - Spiritually Aligning for the New Year
In the latter part of December, I found myself completely underwhelmed in yoga class as another teacher themed on the trials and tribulations of holiday stress. I'm talking about the self-induced stress from busyness, not true emotional strife due to current or past, uncontrollable circumstances magnified around this time of year. We bowed our heads in child’s pose commiserating over our burdened schedules, practiced twisting postures to detox from the holiday parties the weekend prior, and were asked to put our “to-do” Christmas lists aside for the hour.

Winter Solstice Reflection
Winter Solstice Reflection
Happy Winter Solstice! I love celebrating the solstices and equinoxes as they represent light and new beginnings. There is innate wisdom in nature and I think we human beings can look to nature to find more peace and happiness in our lives.

On the Daily Slog
On the Daily Slog
You are not one big backbend away from enlightenment. I hate to break it to you, but it is really the unglamorous work of getting up a bit earlier to do a daily practice, most of which probably isn’t instagram-worthy, that will keep you sane and healthy. It’s the accumulation of consistent practice over months and years that puts you on a path towards joy and freedom and not just one rockin’ class with a Coldplay soundtrack. If the experience of subtle energetics is part of your practice, then of course big poses have the possibility to connect you to transcendental states. But they can equally throw you off balance and out of the continual practice of balancing the energies that compose your physical, emotional, and spiritual states.

BBQ Pork Chili and Baked Sweet Potato + Real Life Meal Planning Madness
BBQ Pork Chili and Baked Sweet Potato + Real Life Meal Planning Madness
I wish I was a better meal planner. I’m great at food prep, but I must admit that I never do it with specific meals and menus in mind. I go to the farmers market or the supermarket and purchase what is in season or on sale. Then I build meals on the fly around those foods.

YES
YES
Winter Solstice I love this time of the year. Which seems off because I am, by nature, a very fiery, sand-loving, ocean-adoring, sun-bathing type of woman. I enjoy wearing flip-flops, bathing suits, and barely enough clothes to cover my body. Truth be told, in the midst of the cold weather months, I have yearned for the Southern Hemisphere.

My Holistic Healing Go-Tos
My Holistic Healing Go-Tos
I woke up on Sunday with a sore throat. The last time I was sick was when I lived in Texas back in 2012. Naturally, I was annoyed. I thought it might just go away. It did not.

Yoga Anatomy of the Hips
Yoga Anatomy of the Hips
Yoga has made me curious about my body for more than 20 years. When I feel restriction in my outer hips during Pigeon Pose, I wonder what exactly is holding me back—is it my gluteus maximus, my piriformis and external rotators, my posterior capsule… or my questionable karma? Hey, I’m a Virgo, I don’t like surprises, and teaching yoga is my passion, so I like to understand these things. That’s fair, right?