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


Meditation to Get Your Mind Right
Meditation to Get Your Mind Right
Quick check in: does your mind feel laser-focused and steady? Ready to handle any challenges in a reasonable, calm manner? If your answer, like ours, was to throw your head back and roar with laughter because you’ve got countless distractions bouncing around your brain, we’re here to help. This week, we’ve got four meditation classes to help you feel clearer and more grounded. If you are new to meditation or it has been a while since you meditated, read on for some insight into why it can have such a profound impact on your life. Meditation is the practice of learning to quiet the monkey mind or as Patanjali delineated in Yoga Sutra 1.2: citta vritti nirodhah: Yoga is learning to direct the attention of your mind where you wish it to go. Meditation encourages you to quiet the distractions in order to create space for clarity. It is the art of letting go and bringing the mind to the present moment. Meditation is a practice that takes time and effort, but it is worth every minute.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake
Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake
Chocolate and cherries are a match made in heaven. I made this cake a few months back when it was still freezing outside, so my choice of cherries here were frozen sour cherries. Using frozen cherries instead of fresh ones might even be a good idea if you do have the fresh ones available as it saves you time on taking out the pits! But using fresh cherries for decoration makes a lot of sense if you happen to have cherries – sweet or sour, available. The cake has three layers but even so, it is not a difficult cake to prepare. The most difficult part of this cake is waiting for it to set. In a perfect world, it would be good to leave it in the fridge to set for 2 hours. If your guests are already waiting, feel free to just pop the cake in the freezer to speed up the waiting time. Another thing that needs to set is the glaze, but as we use agar-agar as a setting agent, and agar-agar starts to set around 110F, this does not take long at all.

9 Ways to Increase Your Confidence During Your Weight Loss Journey
9 Ways to Increase Your Confidence During Your Weight Loss Journey
If you’re trying to get healthier and improve your body image by losing weight, you might know that the struggle of weight loss needs you to stay motivated and confident across a long period of time. But if you’re trying to lose weight, it can be hard to keep confident and feel happy about yourself if you’re not happy with your body image. It’s really important to give yourself confidence boosts along the way of your weight loss journey. We all know that you’ll feel better about yourself when you meet your weight goals, but if you feel more confident while you’re losing weight, you might find yourself more motivated to stick to it, and finally reach those goals. Here’s some ways to boost your self confidence when you’re losing weight.

New Moon Astrology Forecast: May 11, 2021
New Moon Astrology Forecast: May 11, 2021
Listen to the audio reading This New Moon will create a new shift in desires and ask for clarity. She is shifting the way life moves through you. The moon goes into apogee at an archetypal point on the 11th. She will carry forward 4 archetypal positions from Venus, Sun, and Mars in addition to her own. This is a strong moon and her message will carry much into our external world. The last Full Moon marked ‘go time’ a lot of forward moving energies, with the forward surge of energy this lunation is about refinement and will show what we want is always what serves. It’s important to see that the chase isn’t fruitful, it’s the dance that is fulfilling. The planetary energies will shake up inner creation, inner realization of creative powers, and yes shake away the chase. Be mindful of your play in the worldly. The moon will highlight disillusionment, wasted energy, and for many of you lead you to fulfillment by the way of dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction being the causation to pivot to what matters most.

Celebrate the Skin You’re In: Yoga for Weight Loss & Confidence
Celebrate the Skin You’re In: Yoga for Weight Loss & Confidence
If you have a consistent yoga practice, you’re aware of the myriad of internal and external benefits you receive, like balance, strength, flexibility, and equanimity. But did you know yoga can also help you feel more confident and lose weight? We’re not talking treating yoga like an exercise regimen to burn calories. Instead, yoga can help you cultivate a powerful mind-body connection that supports weight loss or any other physical goals you might have. When you move through a physical yoga practice, whether it is a vigorous Vinyasa flow or a mellow restorative practice, you focus on how you are feeling. Is your breath deep and steady or shallow and erratic? Are you angry, depressed, or at peace? Do you feel stagnant and heavy or light and vibrant? By taking the time to become more aware of your feelings, you can begin to process them fully instead of burying them. Emotional eating is common and many of us have made unhealthy choices like consuming fast food or too much sugar, which only masks the underlying issues for a short time.

Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Green Peas
Pasta with Arugula Pesto and Green Peas
I seem to have a thing with green food in the springtime. It just calls for me and so most of my food has been green for the past few weeks already. I already have many little plants growing on my windowsill and wishing to be planted outside soon, but it is still slightly too early for them. Luckily, my windows face south, so they have plenty of light to enjoy. So, the greens for today’s recipe are still store-bought, but very soon I hope to use my own herbs and salads! The pasta today is green too. Or, to be precise, the sauce is green and you can choose whatever your pasta preference is for the actual pasta part. My choice is usually whole wheat, but there are so many different gluten-free varieties out there as well – lentil pasta, quinoa pasta, oat pasta, and even a buckwheat one.

5 Quick and Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude
5 Quick and Easy Ways to Practice Gratitude
Adopting a mindset of gratitude and infusing this energy into your daily life is a simple and amazing way to improve your mental and physical health. Gratitude is essentially giving thanks for all that you have in your life, whether it is small or big. But besides simply expressing thanks, there are many other fun and unique ways to practice gratitude on a daily basis as well. Here are 5 simple ways to feel more grateful, right now. Make a Gratitude List

Healing the Throat (Vishuddha) Chakra by Journaling
Healing the Throat (Vishuddha) Chakra by Journaling
Clearing and opening the throat chakra solves issues related to the inability to find and speak any truth. The results of the healed throat chakra are authentic and vivid self-expression. You naturally stand in your highest self, and your speech expresses the real need of your whole being. When this cycle is broken, you will talk through your head and not from the core of your existence. Your speech may be weak, crooked, or you may verbally dominate others when your Visshuda chakra is out of balance. The defensive debate is a common symptom of an unclear throat cycle. Being able to connect with your heart is essential to know your truth, and a clear Vishuddha chakra will help you express yourself in a smooth, beautiful, flowing speech. Here is how to open it with daily writing practices. Here is how to open your throat chakra using a pen and paper:

Why Morning Rituals are a Powerful Start to your Day
Why Morning Rituals are a Powerful Start to your Day
Depending on your schedule and your natural rhythm, practicing yoga first thing in the morning might already be part of your routine. If you’re on the other end of the spectrum and the idea of pairing your yoga practice with the rising of the sun makes you roll over and hit the snooze button, please hear us out and consider trying something new. We promise everyone will love this five-part series of quick Vinyasa classes from expert yoga teacher Jackie Casal Mahrou. Here’s why a morning ritual is a powerful way to start your day! Set a Positive Intention for Your Day

Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken with Asparagus
Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken with Asparagus
One of the most important skills we’ve developed is how to modify a recipe to make it “cleaner” or cleanse-friendly, so today we wanted to share some of our processes with you to make it easier for you to makeover your favorite recipes! I (Jo) and my husband found this recipe for Turmeric Black Pepper Chicken with Asparagus online and wanted to make it for our family, but before we could, we had to make some modifications to fit our dietary needs.

Everything About Yoga Twists
Everything About Yoga Twists
If you’ve done even one yoga class, you’ve probably already done at least one twisting pose in your practice, probably more. Twisting has a large number of benefits to the body, however, it’s important to do them safely for the best yoga experience. Here’s some of the benefits of yoga twists, and how to master them. Back Health When we do twists in yoga we rotate the spine and stretch the back muscles, which in turn helps to restore and keep the spine’s range of motion. Not having a strong range of motion can run the risk of our joints becoming hard and inflexible, and the supportive muscles surrounding the spine can shrink. Stretching the muscles regularly with twists can prevent this. Boosting Energy

4 Excellent Reasons to Renew Yourself with Twists!
4 Excellent Reasons to Renew Yourself with Twists!
Are you ready to refresh and rejuvenate physically, emotionally, and mentally? A well-rounded yoga practice emphasizing twists will leave you feeling your best on every level. Here are 4 ways twists help clear out your system and create the space to welcome in fresh energy and light. Keeps Spine Healthy: Twists help restore and maintain your spine’s range of motion, improve flexibility and mobility, and encourage proper posture. Most of us aren’t consistently moving our spines through the three ranges of motion necessary to keep the spine in ultimate condition.

Kid-Friendly Very Berry Green Smoothie
Kid-Friendly Very Berry Green Smoothie
There’s a reason that conventional wisdom says breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But let’s be real – mornings can be hectic, and that’s putting it nicely. Just like with our cleansers, we like to set our kids up right with a quick and easy meal that loads us up with dark leafy greens. Our favorite is this Kid-Friendly Very Berry Green Smoothie! Kids love it and parents can feel good knowing that whatever else happens with their kid’s diet today, at least they got in this serving of fruits and vegetables! Kid-Friendly Very Berry Green Smoothie

Full Moon Astrology Forecast: April 26, 2021
Full Moon Astrology Forecast: April 26, 2021
This Full Moon marks the movement of new energy into new life and new creations. It’s go time. The energy enshrouding this lunation is putting action and impulse forward. This moon has heavy Martian influence and those fiery impulses are fanned by North Node, Rahu. This is going to bring lifeforce, directive, and power into your higher desires and inner pursuits. The moon goes into full pedigree in Libra. It rises late on the 26th and into the 27th. The subtle energies acting behind the scenes are giving this Full Moon a unique personality. The aspects of Rahu and Mars will push the karmic wheel, in many ways. As my readings focus on the spiritual and personal use of the cosmic energies I want to note that there is a karmic retribution occurring during this month. Many of you will befall rewards, projects will move forward, new creative pursuits will be illuminated for your gifts and/or fulfill other aspects of desires and destiny. There will be a natural equalizing energy. Let it balance out, natural order is guiding this-no effort needed.

8 Ways to Give Back this Earth Day
8 Ways to Give Back this Earth Day
Earth Day found its beginnings in 1970, in the United States, and years later the environmental movement has gone global. Over a billion people worldwide get involved each year with Earth Day activities and trying to make the world a better place. Here are some small ways you can get involved and give back this earth day. Recycle One of the essential things we need to do to protect the Earth is simply recycling. An easy thing to do is try to reduce the amount of waste you produce by recycling and reusing materials that don’t need to go into the bin. Simple things like recycling cardboard and paper, reusing glass and plastic materials can help, and you can also do things like buying second-hand rather than new. Reduce Meat Consumption

Earth Day
Earth Day
On Earth Day 2021, let’s pause to appreciate this world that provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and serves as our home. In yoga, we naturally align ourselves with the rhythm of the seasons, the tides of the ocean, and the rising and setting of the sun. This week, we're celebrating Earth Day with four yoga classes designed to uplift, enliven, and support you, just like the planet does for us each and every day. When you show up to your yoga mat or your meditation cushion this week, close your eyes and focus on your connection to our planet. Offer gratitude for the support of the ground beneath you and the sky above you. Earth Day is an excellent time to center your practice around your relationship to the planet, connect with the global community, and commit to protecting our world. One of the primary tenets in yoga comes from Patanjali’s Eight-Limb yoga path, in particular, the first Yama, Ahimsa. The Yamas are moral attitudes or behaviors important to follow on your yogic journey and in life. Ahimsa means freedom from harm or violence. Ahimsa's practice is one of compassion, love, understanding, and patience in our interactions with ourselves, with others, and with the earth around us.

Healthy Orange and Carrot Smoothie
Healthy Orange and Carrot Smoothie
Not really sure if anybody needs a recipe for a smoothie, but rather take this one here as inspiration. Smoothies are good for you! They are delicious, nutritious, and healthy. And maybe not everybody puts vegetables to the smoothies, but I recommend giving it a try! For harder veggies in your smoothies to work, you do need a powerful high-speed blender as you want it to be smooth and carrot has quite a bit of texture to it. With a good blender, you will not feel any harder bits in your drink. I have always liked carrots and orange together.

Why to Practice Yoga Off The Mat
Why to Practice Yoga Off The Mat
We all know what yoga is on the mat – it’s the yoga asanas (poses) we throw ourselves into, creating shapes and movement on the mat, giving our body a physical workout. What, what is yoga off the mat? For me, it’s not quite as simple as the 8 limbs of yoga, which is what we are taught. Yoga is a very personal thing. It’s a different practice for everyone – some might like Ashtanga or Power yoga, some might prefer Kundalini or Yin. The 8 limbs of yoga philosophy, stemmed from Ashtanga (ashta = eight, anga = limb), are guidelines on how to live a life of more meaning and purpose, and act as a moral compass as we guide through this cray thing called life. The 8 limbs are as follows:

Simple Golden Sun Meditation for Emotional Strength
Simple Golden Sun Meditation for Emotional Strength
This meditation is a natural vitality booster. You can do this meditation anytime and anywhere. It’s nice to spend some time with it in your formal meditation practice, but you can also invite the energy of the golden sun with you at anytime, commuting, working, or even while eating or walking. To enjoy this simple meditation, simple do the following steps. It only takes a few minutes. 1. With eyes open or closed, visualize a bright, golden sun above your head.

5-Part Metamorphosis Series: Transform & Evolve
5-Part Metamorphosis Series: Transform & Evolve
When we hear the word metamorphosis, often it conjures an image of the caterpillar pausing and withdrawing from the world for a period of time and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. One way to visualize it is an incubation period, where you focus on rest and renewal in order to become your best self. Metamorphosis doesn’t necessarily mean you are changing into someone different; rather it means you are transforming into the highest version of yourself. In other words, the butterfly was always inside you, but it may take time and effort to fly free. Renowned ParaYoga founder and Tantra Yoga scholar Rod Stryker teaches, “We’re not transforming into something we aspire to,” he says. “We’re transforming into the very thing that we are innately: our best self.”

New Moon Astrology Forecast: April 12, 2021
New Moon Astrology Forecast: April 12, 2021
This New Moon rises in full pedigree at 2:30 AM UTC in Revati (Pisces) it will cross the point into Aries, marking the beginning and ending of an evolutionary cycle. This marks a unique shift within the collective consciousness and within the individual self. As this moon progresses it will birth a new self, and bring forth new energies to support higher ideals. Many karmas will be laid to rest, especially for creation. New creation beyond generational aspects will begin to merge. The Sun and Moon are meeting at an archetypal degree within the cosmos. This point will emphasize their unique energies and will help in awakening higher self. Mercury is working to communicate lessons from previous karma. What needs to be carried forward to build stronger foundations, contentment, dedication. What is required and recreating specific lessons to strengthen the inner self is all being communicated. The moon is working through a highly spiritualized and idealistic point. This is awakening the same energies within the psyche.

Sunshine Bites
Sunshine Bites
Jo Schaalman and Jules Peláez are co-authors of two books The Conscious Cleanse: Lose Weight, Heal Your Body and Transform Your Life in 14 Days, a best-selling, step-by-step guide to help you live your most vibrant life and their brand new The Conscious Cleanse Cookbook! Together they’ve led thousands of people through their online supported cleanse through their accessible and light-hearted approach. They’ve been dubbed “the real deal” by founder and chief creative director Bobbi Brown, of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, beauty editor of the TODAY show. Daily Back Pain Relief with Kristin Gibowicz

What is Yoga Anyway?
What is Yoga Anyway?
I'm reflecting on my very first yoga class. As a college freshman, I somewhat arbitrarily signed up for yoga as a “physical education” elective. My beloved grandma had been practicing yoga for years, so I had a vague knowledge of what it was all about, but I had no idea how much that that one course would end up influencing my life. Since first walking into that college gym, I have gone on to study various styles of yoga with many wonderful teachers, taught yoga in different capacities for over ten years, and owned two yoga studios on opposite corners of Colorado. Twenty years after that first class, I embarked on another in-depth yoga teacher’s training; RootEd is a 230-hour “apprenticeship” with the inspiring Jessica Patterson out of Colorado Springs. For the RootEd application, I was asked to answer the question “What is Yoga?”

Yin Yoga to Relax More
Yin Yoga to Relax More
If you’re feeling the impact of more than a year of managing extreme stress levels, you aren’t alone. These days, we’re all working to establish a sense of equanimity. Life is about finding the balance between opposing forces which exist outside and inside of us. Yoga is a fluid dance between strength and softness, and yin and yang. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. This week, shift your focus to Yin yoga and give your mind the quiet time it needs and recharge your batteries. When we take the time to nourish ourselves, we renew our energy and become the strongest versions of ourselves. If you’re new to Yin yoga, you may not be familiar with all its wonderful benefits. A Yin practice targets the deeper layers in the body, specifically the connective tissue––fascia, tendons, and ligaments and the internal organs. Yin is based upon three main principles:

Celeriac and Barley Soup
Celeriac and Barley Soup
Over the last few weeks, I have made this soup several times. Soup, for me, is a perfect food for cold weather food and a few weeks ago in Estonia we still had thick snow covering all the streets and temperatures were frigid. Then we had a week of very rainy, windy, and cloudy weather, that melted almost all the snow, and it was still a good time for hot soup weather. And now for the last week, it has been colder again, but with a lot of sun and a real Spring feeling (even though there are still months to go until real Spring). I am almost sure I will make this soup at least once more before the weather gets warmer. And why shouldn’t I, it is delicious, healthy, full of winter veggies, and extremely nutritious being full of vitamins A and K, for example. I love all kinds of celery, but I know many people who don’t.