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


Cancer Full Moon: Bringing the Feminine to Life
Cancer Full Moon: Bringing the Feminine to Life
An auspicious full moon graces us on New Year’s Day with encouragement to start 2018 in alignment with your highest ideals. The Cancer full moon’s energy increases our unconscious and emotional activity, putting our hearts in touch with our minds. The past year (2017) as been rife with imbalances between masculine and feminine. Whether it be global imbalances of women’s rights and equality, national imbalances of the increased awareness around sexual assault, or earthly imbalances of natural disasters and global warming, or any other personal imbalances you encountered…it is clear that a shift and a focus on the feminine is necessary now. The zodiac sign of cancer is ruled by the moon, so to find our New Year’s moon in the sign it rules bodes well for the feminine, especially as Cancer is the “mother” symbol of the zodiac. The moon itself finds close alignment with the great goddess of the sky, Venus, improving our odds of a close alignment with feminine forces inside and outside of us. There is also a powerful relationship with Pluto, suggesting a powerful transformation in our perceptions of balance between masculine and feminine.

Stress or Peace? Our Role In Health
Stress or Peace? Our Role In Health
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a field of research that deals with the interaction of the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system, and how these systems can be altered through behavior and stress. The immune, nervous, and endocrine systems communicate to maintain health. All of the systems are interconnected. The interest in PNI is the effects of thought and emotion on our health. Stress affects the entire Be-ing, nerves, cells, tissues, and systems of the body (individual and global). Stress if held, can disrupt nervous, endocrine, and immune system functioning resulting in “dis-ease." What is our body communicating to us? Controlling stress begins with taking control of the feelings we hold in our mind, because our feelings determine our thoughts we hold in the mind. Thoughts are profound. Scientific research is showing that thought actually travels faster than light. The challenge is bringing the thoughts/feelings from the subconscious into the conscious mind. Once conscious we can cognitively work in shifting perception and behavior. Are the thoughts/feelings true? Feelings, conscious or not, are causing your thoughts and beliefs, influencing your behaviors, and the effects you are now living. It is possible, to live what you truly desire in your life. This is good news. When we venture into the journey of healing we create the space for others to heal as well. We have the capacity to heal all relationships, all contacts just through mindfulness and single pointed focus.

How to Create a Personalized Diet Plan
How to Create a Personalized Diet Plan
If you're looking at losing weight, then creating a personalized diet plan can be the way to go. It's easy, free, and puts you in control of your own diet journey. This guide has everything you need to know about creating a plan, and helping you stick with it. Why use a personalized diet plan? There's several different reasons why you might want to create a diet plan. Everyone's weight loss journey is different, and everyone has different needs. For example, you may be very active so need more calories than most dieters. You could have dietary restrictions that regular diet plans don't address. Whatever the reason, a personalized diet plan can fit you just right. They're easy to put together, and you can see exactly what you should be eating every day. Unlike regular diet programs, you can ensure that you're eating enough to feel satisfied, and you won't miss out on everything that you love. As you can see, it's the best way to diet.

Decompress from the Holidays
Decompress from the Holidays
Happy Holidays from YogaDownload.com! We hope you’re enjoying the last days of 2017, and are filled with positive energy and peaceful light. Sometimes, however, the holidays can feel more stressful than joyful. On one end of the spectrum, you can take the celebrations too far and overindulge with cookies and pie, wine and cocktails, and too many family obligations. On the flip side, the holidays could stir up mixed emotions and even sadness. Whether you love the holidays or hate them, we’re here to help you navigate the last week of the year with four new classes designed to make you sweat, smile, and shed lingering stress. Sometimes you simply need to take some time for yourself to maintain your equilibrium. A vigorous asana practice can snap you right out of your thoughts and launch you into a place where you’re tuned into your physical body. By stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself physically, you can quiet your mind and refill your emotional well.

Nearly Raw Coco Nutty Pumpkin Pie
Nearly Raw Coco Nutty Pumpkin Pie
It’s time to start planning holiday meals! While pumpkin pie is usually a Thanksgiving thing, people love it for celebrations any time of year, so I decided to do a healthy twist on this classic favorite. I must admit, I’m not much of a pumpkin pie girl, I much prefer chocolate, but this nearly raw variation is heavenly. It’s an amazing 80:20 dessert. It’s silky, creamy, rich and decadent, free from sugar, dairy, eggs and gluten. And best of all, it tastes just like the real thing! Enjoy and be sure to whip up some homemade vegan coconut whipped cream to go on top.

The Power of Gemstones & Mala Beads
The Power of Gemstones & Mala Beads
You’ve probably seen mala beads being worn by your meditation friends—they are beaded necklaces or bracelets with a tassel at the end. While mala beads are worn as beautiful spiritual jewelry, they can also be used as a powerful aid in meditation. Most places and companies that supply mala beads, have a wide selection of gemstone, wood and seed malas to choose from. We’ve come up with three ways why mala beads benefit those who wear them and the significance of different gemstones on malas.

The Sun, Moon, & Stars: Yoga & Astrology
The Sun, Moon, & Stars: Yoga & Astrology
Let’s put on our party hats and howl at the moon because it’s time to celebrate the solstice. Whether you’re in the southern hemisphere and enjoying the longest day of summer or in the northern hemisphere savoring the longest night of winter, now is an opportune time to align yourself with the natural cycles of the universe. On December 21, 2017, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth and appears to be motionless before reversing its path. In Latin, solstice literally means “sun” sol “stands still” sistere. Celebrating the change of seasons on the solstice reminds us we are anchored to the earth, and are merely a tiny speck floating in a vast, mysterious universe filled with other suns, moons, planets, and galaxies. Yoga is our time to connect not only with ourselves, but also with the world around us. We can capitalize on this universal pivot point in our solar system and adjust our perspective to the subtle changes and cycles both outside of and within us. Ancient yogis recognized our bodies’ connection with the Sun and Moon. Hatha yoga’s name derives from Ha-tha, which means Sun and Moon in Sanskrit. Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon. Astrology is the study of how we are influenced by the stars, sun, and moon. By aligning the practice of yoga with astrology, we are empowered to become more attuned to the universe and achieve a deeper state of wellness and fulfillment.

The Most Important Holiday Gift of All
The Most Important Holiday Gift of All
Throughout my 9 years as a Counselor, I have realized that the holidays are truly a very dark time for many, and it’s not just for the 15% of us in the population who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. For us, the literal dark and cold of the season itself is a big piece of the puzzle, and all of the stress of the holidays piles on top of an already depressing time. Stress and expectations run high, to-do lists become far too long, and the pressure slowly builds. Not gonna lie, it’s a big part of the reason I enjoy a warm life in Bali now! As the holidays draw closer, it seems like everyone is on the brink of explosion. Many feel the pressure of responsibility to hold family traditions together. Consumerist-driven comparison has us all in a tailspin. What is supposed to be the jolliest holiday turns into a disaster as we simply and impossibly try to keep everyone else happy. Somewhere along the way, we let ourselves slip through the cracks. What about YOUR needs? Where is the time to take care of the most important person of all? Your very own self. It’s an easy time to crack; to break; to give into the darkness. I get it. I see you. I’m here for you.

Chickpea Miso Soup
Chickpea Miso Soup
As many of us in the northern hemisphere approach the coldest weather of the year and flu season, I thought I would share with you my new favorite go-to soup when I feel under the weather. Over the years, as I’ve slowly worked to better my health with a plant-based diet, I’m usually a little puzzled as to what to eat when I get sick. When it comes down to surviving the flu, I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, saltines, toast and jelly. And even though I haven’t had any of that stuff for a few decades (or the flu for that matter!), they’re still ingrained in my mind as flu comfort foods. What I know and live by, most importantly when I’m sick, is that whatever I’m going to eat has to be nourishing and healing, and not simply comforting – although all of the above would be nice. Aside from homemade chicken noodle soup, which isn’t going to happen when you’re sick unless mom lives nearby, none of the previously mentioned foods are going to support your immune system with any extra love. When you’re sick, boosting your immune system’s fighting power with nourishing, vitamin and mineral-filled food will help you feel better faster. As a veg-head who hasn’t eaten chicken noodle soup since high school, over the years I’ve turned to miso (pronounced mee-so) soup. Miso, which has its origins in Japan, is traditionally referred to as fermented soy. It’s known as an all-purpose, high-protein seasoning that’s most often used in soups, salad dressings and veggie dishes. It’s rich in vitamins, minerals and contains all eight essential amino acids. It also has quite a few healing benefits now back by scientific research – reduces the risk of heart disease, hypertension and breast cancer, to name a few.

Sagittarius New Moon: Mining the Darkness to Give Birth to the Light
Sagittarius New Moon: Mining the Darkness to Give Birth to the Light
The new moon in Sagittarius on December 18, 2017 gives us plenty of opportunity to let go of what no longer serves us in preparation for the coming new year. This new moon happens just a few days before the winter solstice on December 21st, and the darkness of the new moon combined with the yearly celebration of the darkest day of the year signifies a cosmic urge to turn inward, look carefully at our shadow, and surrender whatever we deem no longer of use.

Yoga for Solid Sleep & Happy Mornings
Yoga for Solid Sleep & Happy Mornings
This week we bring you four new classes to help fall asleep, have wonderful dreams, and awake recharged and clear for lovely days. When you were a little kid, you probably battled your parents to stay up as late as possible and avoid an early bedtime. As you transitioned into adulthood, sleep still seemed optional: there can always be so much to do! And, once upon a time, when you were ready to go to sleep, you could lay your head on the pillow and drift off to dreamland. If you are lucky, falling asleep still comes naturally. For many of us, insomnia is an occasional or chronic issue. Our world is zooming at warp-speed and keeping up can launch our nervous systems into overdrive or the “fight or flight response.” Despite physical and mental exhaustion, the minute we try to go to sleep, an endless reel begins playing through our brains. We’re unable to shut off the movie documenting every detail of our day or the issues we’re contending with at any given moment. Sleep is essential for us to rejuvenate and heal our physical, mental, and emotional health. Yoga to the rescue! With the appropriate yoga practice, you can learn to not only tire out your body, but also quiet your mind and calm your heart for a solid night’s sleep.

Use your Imagination
Use your Imagination
Patanjali, author of The Yoga Sutras, shares that there are five states of mental activity; understanding, misunderstanding, memory, sleeping, and imagination. Imagination seems to be a challenging mental activity for those of us raised and living in our current cultural, social, educational, and economic system. Or so we remember. How often do we as adults imagine, like we did as a child? I remember my childhood imagination explorations including faeries, castles, mythical creatures, dances, romances, flying, time traveling, body swapping, etc. Why and when did we agree with what we were told, by elders of authority, such as to stop day dreaming in the make believe? Why is it that socially we were threatened out of our imaginations to avoid the risks of being labeled as strange, childish, or unacceptable?

What Types of Music are Best During Yoga?
What Types of Music are Best During Yoga?
The beauty of music is that it can drive you to do ‘things’. They say that music often has a positive impact on the mind, though the genre and the selection of music are important for that kind of effect. There are many medical studies that have endorsed the usage of music for restorative as well as curative purposes. Doing yoga is an activity where you have to apply your body and mind—sometimes, you feel out of the zone to put yourself in that crucible and need an inspiration or a driving factor. For some, good music or a song can provide the inspirational energy to engage in the activity. Many yoga centers incorporate music into a routine during their practices and teaching sessions. It becomes imperative to know what kind of music is conducive to yoga. Is there any subtle connection between sound and the way our body and mind responds to it?

A 2-Step Guide to Holiday Bliss: Yin Yoga & Meditation
A 2-Step Guide to Holiday Bliss: Yin Yoga & Meditation
You’re probably multitasking right now while you read this. Our lives today are so much about getting things done and going through the never ending to-do list that we forget to pause, reset and rejuvenate. Plus, with the holidays near, we may find ourselves being pulled in a hundred different directions. There has to be a Yin to all the Yang created by travel planning, gift shopping, meals, celebrations (and recovery). ‘Tis the season to be merry and nothing should dampen that spirit. Spare a little time to journey inward and focus on just being. This will surely multiply the joy of your celebrations and help in getting things done faster and more efficiently. Wondering how to put this in motion? We have a simple recipe for it - Follow our 2-step guide of Yin Yoga and Meditation, to Holiday Bliss and witness heaps of love coming your way:

Roasted Curry Chickpeas
Roasted Curry Chickpeas
Lately I’ve been hungry for more veggie protein options, so I’ve been gravitating toward eating more beans. Chickpeas, AKA garbanzo beans, are part of the legume family. They’re touted for their high levels of insoluble fiber, so naturally they’re an amazingly cleanse-friendly food. In just 1 cup of chickpeas you’ll get over 15 grams of protein, so they’re a fantastic veggie-based protein source. Chickpeas boast a wide array of phytonutrients both in the seed coat and inner bean. My favorite inflammation fighting phytonutrient, quercetin, is plentiful in this little bean, which makes it a healthy food to be eating during any allergy season. Chickpeas are extremely versatile. You can flavor them with a variety of spices, add them to soups, salads, and salad dressings. You can even eat them by the handful for a healthy and filling snack. Not only will this recipe delight your taste buds, but it will also help to satisfy your cravings for junk food and sweets. In a recent study, people who ate chickpeas were shown to eat fewer processed foods. Equally exciting, participants who ate garbanzo beans for just 1 week were able to control their blood sugar and insulin levels.

5 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
5 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
Whether you already like to meditate, are thinking about trying it, or are unsure of why it's useful, here are 5 reasons that taking the time to practice meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can have a profound impact on your quality of life and benefit your well-being.

5 Reasons Online Yoga Classes Enrich Your Yoga Practice
5 Reasons Online Yoga Classes Enrich Your Yoga Practice
Online classes are not always given the respect they deserve. While they have plenty of differences than in-person classes, they nonetheless offer room for growth. My first experience with yoga did not happen in a studio or group setting. It happened with a Power Yoga DVD that I picked up from the store. Eventually I started going to a studio, but practicing yoga by myself with a DVD was my first step. Since then, I have enjoyed the wide variety of online classes available to explore other yoga styles and teachers. In every yoga class, online or in person, you learn something new. It ranges from the external, such as a pose cued by the instructor, to the internal, such as building self-awareness. I have been practicing yoga for nine years, and continue to learn new things from every teacher and class I attend. Online platforms bring the teachers, classes and learning experiences to you- you just need to be ready for them. Here are 5 of the ways online classes enrich you’re your yoga practice (in ways in-person classes do not).

Cilantro Detox Juice
Cilantro Detox Juice
Today I want share with you my new favorite green juice! Hydrating and refreshing – it’s just perfect for detoxifying. Cilantro Detox Juice is an incredibly healing juice. Created by our friend and fellow wellness warrior, Elana Amsterdam, this juice features an entire bunch of cilantro (stems and leaves), which is known to be highly effective at helping chelate heavy metals from the body. As someone who has a family history with Alzheimer’s, detoxing heavy metals is of particular interest to me. If you don’t have a juicer at home, this would probably taste just as good blended up in your high speed blender, but you’ll have to report back and let me know. Alternatively, you might like our Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie.

Yoga for Detox: Overindulgence + Unleash Your Inner Power
 Yoga for Detox: Overindulgence + Unleash Your Inner Power
As 2017 comes to a close, ask yourself how are you feeling? Do you feel strong? Powerful? Are you shining your inner light to the world at one hundred percent or do you feel weighed down physically, emotionally, or mentally? We’re thrilled to offer a brand new package: Yoga for Detox from Overindulgence to help you release any extra baggage AND four new classes designed to fuel your inner power. The end of the year is an excellent time to check in and connect to your center. In order to find clarity and truly see yourself, it’s necessary to shed whatever excess may be concealing your true sense of self. First, burn off the layers that are hindering you with our new program designed for detoxification, just in time to balance out the holiday season.

What is Power?
What is Power?
When we think of power, we tend to think of domination or control. A few years ago, though, I heard of a healthier and more yogic definition of power which resonated with me: power can be measured by how quickly you can make your desire into a reality. When we are in our personal power, we get what we want so easily, as if in the blink of an eye. To access the kind of personal power that allows us to quickly transform what we want into what we have, we must have a clear vision of which possibilities we actually desire. Visualization and goal setting can be a helpful practice to turn the gaze inward and initiate this kind of alchemy.

5 Easy Healthy Recipes to Boost Immunity
5 Easy Healthy Recipes to Boost Immunity
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ―Hippocrates Did you know that the immune system’s army is in the stomach? And to keep the army healthy, you need to feed it good nourishment. Our immune system does an incredible job at protecting us from all those pesky germs that want to invade our body. But sometimes, germs pass by it and we get sick. Thankfully, it is possible to intervene and give the immune system a helping hand. In this article, I share you easy recipes to boost immunity and help you fight those nasty germs and colds.

8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Travelling regularly for work or pleasure can be extremely fun, but often isn’t particularly good on your body. Gaining weight is all too easy, sitting for long periods of time on trains or planes and being forced to make rush food decisions or generally unhealthier options along the way can mean adding a few pounds around the waist in a short amount of time. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is a lot simpler when you can home cook and exercise at home or nearby, but while travelling these luxuries are gone; eating healthy and exercising become even more of a challenge. At the very least, staying well rested and hydrated as possible should be your two major concerns.

Focus on Gratitude!
Focus on Gratitude!
Quick exercise: Name three things you’re grateful for right now. Can you do it? Were you able to list three? Ten? Or, did you have a tough time feeling thankful because you’re in a challenging phase of life and your focus is simply on surviving whatever is difficult right now? We’re here to remind you that if you shift your attention, you’ll change your perspective. Two of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras provide direction and wisdom.

6 Recipes for a Healthy & Happy Thanksgiving
6 Recipes for a Healthy & Happy Thanksgiving
Turkey, stuffing, pie, oh my! Thanksgiving is a holiday about abundance, or for many us, overabundance! So to make sure you don’t feel like slithering out of your chair only to fall asleep under the table, we’ve pulled together six of our favorite healthy recipes that will leave you feeling energized and not stuffed to the gills. Using fresh herbs, seasonal farm fresh produce, and nutrient dense ingredients, we’ve put a healthy spin on some of our traditional favorites. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do and feel our love as you make them! As you plan your Thanksgiving menu, remember that this time of year is not just about the food you put on your table, it’s also about the connection and time spent with your loved ones. Enjoy every moment!

Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
I can almost still taste last weekend. Tacos, tequila, BBQ, sausages, mimosas, ceviché, beer, benedicts, ice cream…Two of my best girlfriends and I spent the weekend eating around Austin, TX. Sure, we caught a little bit of live music, did some window shopping, and took a walk around Lady Bird Lake — but mostly we just ate and drank, and ate some more. This week I decided it was time for a cleanse. Yep, time to clean out the ol’ intestines with a reset elimination diet. For the past 7 days I’ve ousted wheat, meat, booze, dairy, sugar, caffeine, most grains, legumes and nightshades. Side-effects of this elimination experiment have been a heightened sensitivity to flavor – good morning, tastebuds! – and an awareness of my tendency to comfort eat. It’s now clear to me that most of the time I put food in my mouth it’s for a reason other than true hunger. Maybe I’m bored, lonely, or feel that I need a reward or entertainment. And stopping at 80% full as recommended? Rarely.