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


An Overview of The Niyamas: Yoga Philosophy 101
An Overview of The Niyamas: Yoga Philosophy 101
The second limb of Patanjali’s eight-limbed yoga system are the Niyamas, which are five internal practices. These practices extend the ethical codes of conduct provided in his first limb, the Yamas and look more within. The practice of Niyama helps us maintain a positive environment in which to grow, and gives us the self-discipline and inner-strength necessary to progress along the path of yoga. Similar to the Yamas, the five Niyamas, while ancient in their origins, are very applicable to everyday modern life. These concepts can help you self-reflect and live a more peaceful life.

Take Your Time: Yoga Classes that Hold Each Pose
Take Your Time: Yoga Classes that Hold Each Pose
Sometimes when you are seeking more clarity, the best move you can make is to hit the pause button and slow down. This week’s classes help you do that with a mix of Hatha and Iyengar practices designed to help you reach a deeper level in your mind, body, and spirit. Sequences vary in each class, with poses held for several breaths instead of flowing breath to movement. Quieter styles of yoga give you the opportunity to savor the feelings that arises in each asana (pose). Hatha yoga is the umbrella under which all physical styles of yoga reside. A Hatha Yoga class combines asanas and pranayama, usually at a slower pace than some other practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa.

Healthy Watermelon & Strawberry Slushie
Healthy Watermelon & Strawberry Slushie
This is the easiest recipe ever and I usually don’t even bother writing down recipes this simple, but this drink has been on my menu almost every day this summer, so I figured it makes sense to jot this one down. In Estonia, where I live, we usually have a few weeks of real summer if we are lucky. Estonian summer means something around 70°F for days and 50-60°F during nights, so rather chilly. But this year has surprised us with a real heatwave and we have had the temperatures around and even over 80°F for almost 6 weeks already. This also means that the temperature inside my apartment is constantly around 80°F and this is not so nice anymore... At one point I seriously considered just sleeping in a hammock on my terrace where there is at least a little wind. But generally, I am rather happy with the hot weather.

An Overview of The Yamas: Yoga Philosophy 101
An Overview of The Yamas: Yoga Philosophy 101
The first of Patanjali’s eight-fold path of yoga are the Yamas. They are moral, ethical and societal guidelines. These guidelines are all expressed in the positive and can be interpreted as descriptions of how a yogi behaves and relates to their world. The Yamas are applicable to modern life, and a good guidance system on how to lead an honest, ethical, and conscious life. Patanjali teaches that Yamas are meant to be practiced in our actions, thoughts, and words. The Yamas are applicable to everyone regardless of socioeconomic class, gender, or ethnicity. The Yamas are something that can make life more peaceful for people who observe them. It’s possible that observing the Yamas will lead to a life of less conflict, deceit, and even stress. Here is brief overview of each Yama, followed by a journaling activity to give you time to reflect on how these Yamas show up in your life and how you can live them more.

How to Deal with Pandemic Anxiety
How to Deal with Pandemic Anxiety
Around the world, COVID-19 restrictions are lifting in various stages, and in some places, they're getting tighter again as the pandemic continues. In some parts of the world, people are coming out of lockdown and recent months have been a time of being allowed to see family again, to go out for dinner, and even festivals and nightclubs. This can be quite overwhelming after months of restrictions in place. While you might be excited for some sense of normalcy, feeling uncertain and anxious is a normal reaction to the world changing once again.

Pranayama: Just Breathe
Pranayama: Just Breathe
Are you ready to go deeper into your yoga practice? This week the focus is on Pranayama, which is a vital component of a complete yoga practice. We’ve got new short classes dedicated to different techniques which will impact your state of mind and your body––fast! Pranayama is the practice of extending and regulating your prana or life force. The way we breathe changes the way we feel. Yoga luminary T.K.V. Desikachar stated: “In order to influence our prana, we must be able to influence the mind. Our actions often disturb the mind, causing prana to exude the body. Through daily pranayama practice, we reverse this process, as a change in the breathing pattern influences the mind.”

Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Vegan Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
We’ve officially entered the dog days of summer in Colorado, which according to Wikipedia is an expression that “refers to the hot, sultry days of summer especially in the Northern Hemisphere.” Today we’ve got the antidote to the dog days of summer – Chocolate Ice Cream! Check out the decadent summery sweet treat recipe below featuring frozen bananas and raw cacao. This ice cream is 100% vegan and dairy-free, making it truly 100% guilt free! And it’s so rich and chocolatey that you’ll never miss the real thing. Guilt-free ice cream? Sign us up!

Yoga is Not Immune to Consumer Culture
Yoga is Not Immune to Consumer Culture
Yes, yogis can be susceptible to materialism too! I subscribe to numerous yoga mailing lists and it’s nice to have at least one email every day that I know will engage and excite me in a way that all that lovely spam just can’t seem to do. Lately, though, I’ve started to realize a trend about my beloved yoga newsletters and publications: I’m enticed to buy a product every time I open an email. Maybe I’m especially susceptible to marketing ploys, as, after all, I’ll freely admit how much I love to shop. I realize this isn’t exactly a yogic quality and I have a long way to go to really be able to observe Santosha (the yoga Niyama of contentment), but at least I can recognize it.

How Yoga Can Help Things Fall into Place
How Yoga Can Help Things Fall into Place
Yoga can be a magnet for you to attract the things you dream of. Unfortunately, it is not a fairy dust you can sprinkle on your mat. The shifts do not come overnight. And, you cannot simply mutter a Sanskrit mantra for your hopes to manifest. It is a journey of work, of love, and of intense self-reflection. It takes tapas - the yogic ethical concept of discipline and austerity. For many people yoga is nothing more than a fancy workout, or maybe a few calm moments of de-stressing or elaborate stretching. However, yoga is much more. It is a science, a wellness system, a lifestyle, a philosophy, and more than anything a path to clarity and joy. The beauty of yoga is that is flexible to your life and needs. There is an infinite number of ways to practice as there is to interpret the meaning of the word. The word yoga is derived from a word meaning to yoke or to unite. One encompassing way to conceptualize this is to think of uniting the self with all - to connect with the source of all possibilities. The true magic of yoga can happen with the sincere realization of the concept "Namaste" - the light in me recognizes and honors the light within you."

Ahimsa: Practice Kindness
Ahimsa: Practice Kindness
Kindness is the reason! A universal thread in all yoga practices is learning to embody loving kindness. How you treat yourself has an effect on you and how you treat others has an effect on you. When you are kind, your behavior impacts others around you in a positive manner and helps them feel more content. Learning to be compassionate and kind regardless of circumstances is one of the key principles of the eight-limbed yoga path, as expressed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ahimsa, the first of five Yamas contained in the first limb of yoga is at its root is all about kindness. Ahimsa translates to the absence of, or the freedom from violence, killing, judging, or harming. Ahimsa is avoiding all forms of violence to yourself or to others. It is less about physical violence and more about thoughts and feelings.

Farm Fresh Peach Tart
Farm Fresh Peach Tart
Labor Day weekend is not too far away in the United States and it’s known to be the last big hurrah of the summer. With that in mind, we wanted to make certain that we “cooked” up the very best recipes for your barbecue weekend. Ditch the pies, cookies, and other sugary treats and opt for this Farm Fresh Raw Peach Tart, which is truly a slice of heaven. The key to this recipe is the ripe succulent peaches that are overflowing at the supermarket and local farmstands. I sourced the peaches for this recipe from Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss, Colorado, and boy can you tell that these peaches didn’t travel very far! Whether buying peaches from your farmer or grocery store, the key is knowing which ones to choose. A quick tip for picking peaches is to use your schnoz. Yes, your sniffer! A peach is ripe and ready to be eaten when you can smell it’s sweet ripe fragrance.

Full Moon Astrology Forecast: July 23, 2021
Full Moon Astrology Forecast: July 23, 2021
For the Audio Reading & Full Moon Resources This Full Moon marks the fulfillment, and nurturance of the ‘I AM’ through a new conscious evolution. At this pinnacle point, we have reached a monumental aspect within the collective consciousness. The Full Moon lights up in Abhijit a ‘lost’ nakshatra (lunar mansion) which marks the return to higher consciousness. The theme of this lunation will shower down nurturing cosmic prana and work to expand the sense of being into greater conscious ownership of one's divine plan. Saturn and Jupiter continue to play a prominent role through this Full Moon. They are working to reshape self-aware consciousness through subject and object. The subject/object shift is how one sees self within reality. It is duality into creation. The mental shifts have reached a level in which the individual mind is more settled, more reassured, more aware of boundaries, and even aware of dislikes. This is a part of redirection. The energies are strengthening one’s own inner guru. These forces will work to expand the mind so one can take on who they are becoming. This ownership and consciousness shift will unite ‘I AM’ into a new state of understanding and embodiment. It will work to shift the restraints one believes is possible.

The Joy of Practicing Yoga for Longevity
The Joy of Practicing Yoga for Longevity
With curiosity, I applied a new lens to my Yoga practice — is it good for my longevity? It’s a wonderful puzzle to consider the arcs of Now, the Future and the possibility of an Elder Future and how every moment I am planting seeds, or making choices, that impact all three of these stages of life. What does a yoga practice look like that is an offering to all three of these versions of me? Before I share what I’ve found to be true for me, let me share a bit about my existing framework.

Yoga for Longevity: 7-Class Program with Caitlin Rose Kenney
Yoga for Longevity: 7-Class Program with Caitlin Rose Kenney
If we asked you to share your number one reason to practice yoga, what would your response be? Answers run the gamut from spiritual enlightenment (Samadhi) to physical mastery of asanas like handstand or Hanumanasana, to mental health benefits like stress relief. Whether you step onto the mat for the spiritual, physical, or mental aspects of yoga, you are receiving all the benefits. What if we suggested you regard yoga as life insurance? Consider your yoga practice through the lens of preventative healthcare, a tool to ensure you’ll continue enjoying a long life to the fullest. Yoga helps keep our bodies strong and supple, our minds alert and open, and our hearts softer and more compassionate. To sustain a lifelong yoga practice, check in with yourself. Are you doing the same things out of habit, but it no longer gives you the same joy or energy?

Simple & Sunny Yellow Smoothie
Simple & Sunny Yellow Smoothie
Enjoy this simple and delicious yellow smoothie. Tropical flavors are great for waking you up in the morning. The use of Greek yogurt provides you with much-needed protein that you require to keep you going for the rest of the day. Bananas are the most important ingredients in most healthy smoothies, as they are loaded with potassium, magnesium and create a thick lining in your stomach which protects your digestive system. Make yourself this smoothie in the mornings and you have your healthy breakfast in a mug! Ingredients:

Easy Guide to Balancing Your Root Chakra (Muladhara)
Easy Guide to Balancing Your Root Chakra (Muladhara)
We can feel at home, anywhere. By nature, I am not the most settled person. I travel constantly and I haven't really had a home base that I would confidently call my own. Over the last few years, I’ve changed locations dozens of times across multiple countries. I’ve lived in places for no more than 6 weeks at a time. It’s been an exciting adventure and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Through my experience, I have learned to bring my sense of “home” with me wherever I go. A master nester, if you will. I have become accustomed to picking my life up, putting it on my shoulders, and moving to the next destination. Kind of like a turtle, my home is always with me. Lately, the idea of continuing to travel drains me more than it inspires me. It’s clear that I’m craving stability. I’m craving security. I’m craving a home base. I recognize all of these as Root Chakra needs. We all have them.

10 Things To Do Every Day To Boost Your Mood
10 Things To Do Every Day To Boost Your Mood
Bad days can happen to anyone, even the most positive of us. Anything from a stressful day at work, something you love breaking, getting caught up in traffic - somethings, things go wrong and we feel like life just well, sucks. While we can’t manage absolutely everything in the world to ensure we never have a bad day, we can do some small things everyday to boost our mood, no matter what life throws at us. Start the Morning Right If you don’t start you first 20 minutes of the day by getting up and doing something, it’s been said it can have an impact on the entire rest of your day. To avoid your whole morning, afternoon and evening being an uphill battle, try and do something productive in those first 20 minutes, if its meditation, going for a walk, making a healthy breakfast, or catching up on some positive news, it will boost your mood and start you right for the rest of the day. Drink Water Drinking water can help to energise your body, support healthy weight, improve your brain function and also improve your sleep. Sounds great! Try and drink between 2-3 litres of water a day, and try and drink some first thing in the morning - yes this means before your morning coffee! Top tip - try to drink room temperature water to help it be absorbed more quickly to rehydrate you faster.

Yoga For A Happy & Healthy Mind
Yoga For A Happy & Healthy Mind
One of yoga’s greatest benefits is the process of tuning into your thoughts and emotions and understanding your own personal truth. When we utilize the tools of a consistent yoga practice, we learn to tune out distractions and external influences and listen to our internal voice. Avidya or mistaken perception is ignorance––the fundamental inability to see things as they are. The practice of yoga is moving away from these misperceptions toward Viveka, the ability to discern and see clearly. The physical practice aids us in relaxing our muscles and begins the process of delving deeper into our psyche. Yoga teaches us that all we need is within us, we simply need to pay attention. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras include the eight-limbed path of yoga. The Niyamas, or moral observances, are tangible steps to achieve a calm and peaceful mind.

Soy-Glazed King Oyster Mushrooms
Soy-Glazed King Oyster Mushrooms
Mushrooms are good! One of my favorite things to forage, but of course, spring is not the high season for mushrooms (at least not in Estonia), so today I used king oyster mushrooms. I have made the same recipe with button mushrooms and while still delicious, king oysters work the best here. I like that they are not too watery and of course, the fact that 2 mushrooms are enough to make up dinner for one person helps as they are so simple to prepare. The mushroom recipe itself is very simple too, and I usually always have all the ingredients waiting in my fridge or cupboard.

Your Creative Force: Reflections on the Sacral (Svadhishthana) Chakra
Your Creative Force: Reflections on the Sacral (Svadhishthana) Chakra
A friend asked me what my most unusual job has been. After running down a few odd positions I’ve held in my past, (did you know I spent a year as a Glitter Fairy?) I landed on the rewarding work of being a doula, or birth assistant. This doula work was a natural culmination of my life-long gravitation to all things baby. I had spent the previous decade working as a nanny, mostly of newborns and infants, and had also started teaching Prenatal Yoga and practicing Prenatal Massage. Many of my girlfriends were on a journey of pregnancy and childbirth for the first time, and a few had asked for my help. Over the span of a few years I witnessed (and hopefully helped in some small way) twenty-six new, fresh baby beings enter into this world. Although every birth was its own messy, joyous and arduous event, after each I felt so extremely honored, to the point of tears, to have been there. Through the years of teaching pregnant women safe yoga techniques, holding hands and wiping brows during labor contractions, and changing poopy diapers of many little babes, I never once doubted that I would experience mamahood for myself. Being a mother was all I ever wanted since I was a little girl, my biological clock was all I could hear.

New Moon Astrology Blog: July 9th, 2021
New Moon Astrology Blog: July 9th, 2021
This New Moon marks the bridge of harmony between the mind, individual soul, and universal directive. It is regeneration of mental, emotional bodies through the guidance of higher self and divine plan. This evolution of the self within the mind is the culmination of the mental principle in its external manifestation. The soul, higher mind is leading the way as universal forces aid in awakening the individual self to their capacities and latent abilities through divine connection. These energies lead the self through calm waters while embracing inner guidance and outward realizations. The outer planets, Jupiter and Saturn play a key role in creating foresight and hindsight. They support the evolution of the self and work to create an open mind and non-duality realizations so the individual self can rise into the divine plan and become more impervious to external influences. This is a third level of conscious shake up.

Yoga for Stress Relief & Unwinding
Yoga for Stress Relief & Unwinding
Have you noticed that every time you step onto your yoga mat it’s a different experience? Sometimes we choose a fast-paced sweaty class and others we seek a more chilled out type of practice. While all yoga will help you relieve stress, taking the time to slow down and unwind can nourish your system on a deeper level. This week we’re bringing you slower classes designed specifically to help you shift your system back into balance. One of the most profound ways a slower yoga practice impacts us is by soothing our parasympathetic nervous system. Holding poses for longer periods of time, like in Yin Yoga, encourages our “fight or flight” adrenaline responses to quiet. When you’re in Sleeping Swan (half-pigeon) for several minutes on each side, not only do the tight muscles and connective tissue begin to relax, but the mind quiets and the heartrate slows. When you can slow down and leave the rest of the day behind for even a little while, you’re refilling your well and soothing your nervous system.

Carrot and White Bean Dip
Carrot and White Bean Dip
Snacks are meant to be simple! While I do love spending time in the kitchen and sometimes don’t mind spending hours and hours to make a few little snacks, sometimes it makes sense to just whip up a quick dip, serve it with colorful veggies and call it a day. This is exactly what I did today and as I had some roasted carrots leftover from yesterday's dinner these found their way into my little dip. I am sure the dip would also work with roasted beetroot or maybe even sweet potato – whatever you happen to have leftover.

The Benefits of Hot & Cold Contrast Showers (Hydrotherapy)
The Benefits of Hot & Cold Contrast Showers (Hydrotherapy)
Want to know my new secret to success and well-being? Hot and cold contrast showers! Yep! Contrast showers, or hydrotherapy, are actually not a new trend, but rather have been used around the world for centuries as a healing modality. This technique, generally used by athletes to improve recovery between training sessions or post-competition, involves alternating between hot and cold water multiple times. I always start my shower with warm water for a couple minutes, then switch to icy cold for a couple more minutes. I do about three intervals of switching back and forth between hot and cold, always ending with water as cold as I can stand. (And learning about what I can “stand” is a meditation in itself. Hint, it helps to breathe!)

12 Ways to Recharge & Reset
12 Ways to Recharge & Reset
For many of us, taking time and doing things that help to clear out the stress and tension is essential to feeling vibrant. Most of us carry a lot in our minds every day, more than we might realize or give ourselves credit for. Every single human is balancing some combination of work, relationships, finances, emotions, in their minds. It can be a lot of keep track of or feel relaxed about. It can be easy to forget that things can be simple, life can feel good and there is so much wonder and beauty in this temporary human experience. It's vital to have experiences and practices that help you embrace life more fully. If we don't give ourselves time to go inwards to recharge, reset, and clear things out, we can accumulate tension, burn out or not feel so excited about life.