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


Banana Peel Cupcakes
Banana Peel Cupcakes
If you have been following my posts for a while, you probably know that I really do not like food waste. And yet people do waste a lot of food. I can’t say I’m completely free from this sin. Still, whenever possible, I always try to use up everything I have and plan my weekly menu around the things I already have in the fridge before ordering anything new. One thing that people usually don’t consider food waste is everything we remove from produce before eating - vegetable peels, the outer leaves of cauliflower, carrot tops, banana peels etc. It all makes up a lot of food that we feel is completely normal just throw away. However, this is food waste too! For all kinds of veggie scraps (as long as they are not dirty), a good recommendation is to keep a separate box of them in the freezer and if the container is full, make vegetable broth. It saves you the money you would otherwise spend on buying the broth, and you will get all the goodness out of the veggies. Out of carrot tops, you can make pesto (I will share the recipe with you soon), and you can even use banana peels in some recipes! Don’t get me wrong – I usually also throw away the banana peels. As I typically eat at least one banana every day, it would not be possible to use up all of the banana peels, but even using a few of them now and then helps to reduce waste. And, nobody would guess that you also used up the peels in addition to the bananas. Besides reducing food waste, the banana peels are also rich in many nutrients as potassium and fiber. If you decide to give using banana peels in a recipe a try, choose organic bananas.

8 Yoga Poses That Improve Digestion
8 Yoga Poses That Improve Digestion
Some of the consequences of unhealthy habits and lifestyles are low energy, weak digestion, and depression. To prevent these challenges from developing in your body, it is better to take care of yourself and do things every day to restore your body in simple, yet effective ways. In yoga, there are specific poses that help your digestive system work optimally. Certain of asanas are aimed at improving the functioning of the digestive organs: the liver, pancreas, stomach, and intestines, to eliminate excess tension that interferes with proper blood circulation. Regular practice of these exercises will improve digestion and eliminate intestinal dysfunctions and have your digestive system operating in harmony.

New Moon Astrology Forecast: February 11, 2021
New Moon Astrology Forecast: February 11, 2021
This New Moon will bring the lessons of the last Full Moon into action. We have a rare and incredibly impactful 6 planet conjunction in Capricorn, with 5 planets (Venus, Moon, Mercury, Saturn, and Jupiter) in one Nakshatra (lunar house). It’s time to unveil the wisdom that lies within your heart and raise the power of your gifts to build an unlimited future. The theme of this moon will carry you to higher objectives. It will call for a calm mind and tempered emotions to serve the higher ideals. There is a lot of energy stirring my loves, all of these planets in a tight conjunction are playing by Saturn’s rules and will require humbleness in order to unfold their wealth stream. Humbleness continues forward. Remember this is the year of Saturnian energy and since January 20th, humility will be paramount to individual evolution and collective unity.

Stand Up & Stretch: Yoga to Counteract Prolonged Sitting
Stand Up & Stretch: Yoga to Counteract Prolonged Sitting
Raise your hand if you’ve sat more in the last year than ever before? With stay-at-home orders around the world, many of us have adapted to a new way of life: working from home, Zoom calls instead of going out with friends, and a whole lot of Netflix on the sofa. Even if you’re staying true to your yoga practice, the additional hours on your bum instead of your feet can take its toll. Never fear––we’ve got the antidote to all that couch dwelling. This week’s classes are designed to help you squeeze in more standing and more quick yoga sessions throughout your day. But first, let’s delve a little deeper into why all that sitting can leave you feeling not just physically stiff, but also mentally cloudy and emotionally stagnant. We store unprocessed emotion in our hips, so it is vital for our hips to be open and healthy, not just for the physical body, but also for emotional well-being.

Vegan Solyanka Soup
Vegan Solyanka Soup
Solyanka is an old Russian soup that, in its original form, always contains a lot of meat. The most classical version includes 7 different types of meat, including kidneys. So the recipe I am sharing with you is definitely not an authentic one, but it sure is delicious. I promise you that the taste is still very similar to the original one and is so much better for the body. If you have a meat addict in the house, feel free to let them add some meat products (leftover roast, frankfurters, salami, whatever they like) to the soup after it is ready. I do eat meat sometimes, but I don’t feel it is necessary to use it in this recipe, and I definitely would never add 7 different types of meat in my soup. Who would even have so many various meat products just lying around in the fridge? Anyway, meat or not – the essential things in this recipe are onions, pickles, black pepper, tomato paste, and olives.

The Inspiration Download: Interview with German Yoga Teacher Sandra Bracy-Toscani
The Inspiration Download: Interview with German Yoga Teacher Sandra Bracy-Toscani
The Inspiration Download interview series features different people who are bringing ideas to life and sharing something with the world that they are passionate about, whether it's through teaching yoga, creating a business, doing work in their community, creating art, hosting events, bringing to life new wellness products, or more. These interviews highlight real people who have brought ideas to life and give real-life insight and inspiration on their processes and journey. This session is with Sandra Bracy-Toscani, a Berlin, Germany based yoga teacher. Sandra's Bio: My journey began in chaos. I was insecure with talking in front of people, I oftentimes had panic attacks & not to mention, an issue with self-love and self-esteem. Better to say I never experienced high self-esteem and self-love. I, always being attached to men, subconsciously put them in front of me. A position I should have held for myself. Until one day I decided I wanted more from my life, and so my story began. I began to stand up for ME. I began to connect with ME.

6 Tips to Stay Positive This Year
6 Tips to Stay Positive This Year
Now that 2020 is behind us and we're settling into 2021, it’s time to start looking ahead to the future, even though we're still living in a pandemic. Given how difficult the past year has been for all of us around the world, if you’re having a hard time thinking positively, you’re not alone. There’s no guarantee 2021 will be perfect, but with the right attitude, you can still make the most of the year ahead. Here are 6 simple tips to foster and maintain a positive outlook throughout the year: 1. Commit to Positivity Life is full of challenges and the only thing that really matters is how you respond to them. Instead of reacting to difficult situations with negativity or fear, embrace the opportunity to rise above.

Yoga for Strength & Grace
Yoga for Strength & Grace
How are you handling conflict and challenges these days? Is there adequate space in your reaction time or has the stress of the last year amplified to a point where you aren’t quite as patient and kind as you could be? If you’ve experienced more fear and edginess and anger, you aren’t alone. This week, we’re focusing on cultivating your own unique sense of grace and strength in your yoga practice. The word grace derives from Old French and means “pleasing quality” or simply a pleasing way of moving or behaving. A graceful person is one with poise, decency, honor, and elegance. Sometimes if you’re being pushed to your limits by the events of the world and personal circumstances, it can be difficult to react gracefully. Developing grace under pressure is one of the greatest gifts yoga can impart.

Herbed Turkey Stuffed Squash
Herbed Turkey Stuffed Squash
We’re entering mid-winter here in Colorado, and if you’re like us, the cold weather and extended time inside might be starting to get you down. To counter those wintertime blues, we like to cozy up at home and make healthy comfort food – like today’s recipe: Herbed Turkey Stuffed Squash! This is a recipe that I (Jo) and my husband, Adam developed together for our family. Cooking is one of our favorite things to do together – we’ve developed several recipes from our new cookbook, Conscious Cleanse Cookbook together, including the Squashie Pancakes and Curry Chicken Salad. Cooking nourishing, healthy, delicious meals for ourselves and for our 6-year-old and 8-month-old kiddos brings us connection as a family and a lot of joy, and we want to share some of that joy with you today with this recipe. This is one of our go-to healthy comfort meals – it’s warming and filling, perfect for a cozy meal by the fire.

Alone Together. Re-Defining Friendship in a Pandemic
Alone Together. Re-Defining Friendship in a Pandemic
The yoga sutras say “Through transgression of the original rules there is non-attainment of the goal.” So what are the rules—or even the goals-- in life as we know it and live it now in the midst of a pandemic? Many of us are still looking back at how it was a year ago, putting everything in our lives on lockdown as we wait, and wish and hope life will be ours again in three months, six months, or a year. Even our friendships are affected and changed. Suddenly they feel distant, uncertain—practically unknowable.

Full Moon Astrology Forecast: January 28, 2021
Full Moon Astrology Forecast: January 28, 2021
The full moon on January 28th is all about learning, unveiling universal truths, and how to manifest a thriving life through universal laws and through the upliftment of humanity. This moon will ignite a new beginning of Saturnian energy that will influence the remainder of the year and will work to unfold new heights within consciousness, the collective, and the individual. This unfolding will occur within the mind, but will also play out in experiences with our fellow man. It will show a new level of healing, learning, and attainment through interpersonal relationships.

Branch Out with More Uncommon Styles of Yoga
Branch Out with More Uncommon Styles of Yoga
It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and the seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. Alan Cohen Change is good! We know it’s a wonderful feeling to step onto your yoga mat and practice with your favorite teachers. We all have our preferred types of practice, whether it’s a range from Ashtanga to Vinyasa to Power to Yin. Mixing it up helps us stay fresh mentally and emotionally and also ensures we don’t physically injure ourselves through too much repetition. So be adventurous this week and try something new.

Homemade Mustard
Homemade Mustard
Mustard is a common ingredient in many cuisines and widely available all over the world. But I still felt that I need to spend time to make a condiment from mustard seeds from scratch. It started as an idea to add to Christmas presents – homemade cookies, sourdough rye crispbread, vegan Nutella truffles, and pickled mustard seeds – all packed up in nice little jars. Add a (vegan) cheese to this, and I am sure that most people would be happy to get this kind of present! Since preparing the mustard seeds this way for the first time, I am adding them everywhere. They are relatively mild in taste but add a wonderful zing to many dishes. The texture slightly reminds caviar bursting in the mouth, adding a wonderfully gentle and warm spiciness.

Balance Your Solar Plexus Center: The 3rd Chakra, Manipura
Balance Your Solar Plexus Center: The 3rd Chakra, Manipura
The Third Chakra, Solar Plexus (also called Manipura Chakra), relates to the region of the body that goes from the navel to the lower third of the rib cage. If the physical body were a cell, the third chakra would be the mitochondria. The solar plexus creates our relationship with what we are physically able to achieve. The third chakra may also correspond with our to-do list and the expectations we have on ourselves for what we want, or may not want to get done on a physical level. While anxiety and burn-out may have a way of creeping into any chakra, I often see those frequencies manifest within this region of the body. We can do energy work on “burn out” until the cows come home, but often the body desires much more than meditation to refresh, restore, and transform the body’s longing for relief, space, and nourishment.

Best 9 Yoga Poses To Do At Your Desk
Best 9 Yoga Poses To Do At Your Desk
Getting up and on the yoga mat regularly is great for your health and mind, but if you work at a busy desk job, your regular practice still might not be enough to combat the stress and pressure you are putting on your body - and your posture! However, there are many ways to alleviate this pressure, but the easiest ones don’t even involve getting up from your chair - perfect for those days when you’ve just got too much work to do. There are many yoga poses you can practice at your desk, and we’ve put together some of the best to help the areas that get the most strain sitting down, to reduce back pain, posture issues and stress. Seated Crescent Moon

Quick Yoga Breaks at Your Desk: 16-Class Package
Quick Yoga Breaks at Your Desk: 16-Class Package
We’ve all been living in a time of major global stress and transition. A consistent yoga practice is vital to stay balanced and manage the shifts occurring around us on a daily basis. We’ve got good news––even on the days where you’re really busy, you can sneak in a ten-to-fifteen-minute yoga break. A consistent daily practice can keep you grounded––just remember quality over quantity. Many of us used to head into an office, but now work from home. While you’re saving time because you don’t have to commute any longer, somehow it still feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to practice yoga. Distractions abound at home, right? Everything from dishes, to walking the dog, to family demands, to the temptation of a catnap can pull you out of your resolve to move and breathe and meditate.

Marinated Veggie Medley
Marinated Veggie Medley
Have you ever had the thought “I don’t have time to do a cleanse because it takes too much time to prepare healthy food”? If so, please read on! I’m a big fan of easy when it comes to food prep. Mostly because I have two small children, work full time running a business, health coaching and teaching yoga, and try to maintain some resemblance of balance when it comes to practicing what I preach. I admit it does take extra time and some planning ahead (I could do better here) to eat healthy and feed my family nourishing meals, but to me, it’s totally worth it! And, it doesn’t have to take nearly as much time as we think it does with a few tips and tricks. Below is one of my secret weapons.

10 Ways to Stay Positive During the Pandemic
10 Ways to Stay Positive During the Pandemic
Around the world, the current global pandemic has changed our lives. Although we might be getting used to this new normal way of living, we are all still affected in 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation, social distancing, and ill-health can all be tough on our mental health, and many of us might be feeling anxious, scared, and lonely. It’s important to have some ways to manage any negative mental health effects the pandemic might be having on you, to help keep feeling positive when things get tough. Here are some ways you can try to keep your head afloat during the pandemic, to give you a boost of positivity. Allow Yourself to Feel Anxious

New Moon Astrology Forecast: January 13, 2021
New Moon Astrology Forecast: January 13, 2021
This new moon is another planetary packed lunation. The moon will sit at 29*04’ of Sagittarius with the Sun resting at 29*03’ of Sagittarius, both creating a bridge into the Capricornius constellation. This new moon is bringing a clean slate for the conjunction (multiple planets sitting together) to shine through. There is a lot going on, but it’s all moving you to take greater ownership of this precious life you are creating. These conjunctive energies will show how to sharpen new tools to cut away karma, how to dispel karmic debts, and how to rise into our dharma through devotion, and ownership. Anything that is a distraction, a delusion, or a habit that displaces one's power and dharma will come to light. You are being asked to rise in all levels of the self: spiritual, mental, and physical. Align with your heart and you will feel dissonance and misalignment on all levels if you are not following your heart. This is stronger guidance for your purpose and personal evolution.

Yoga to Open Your Mind
Yoga to Open Your Mind
Students come to yoga for a variety of reasons: physical, mental, and spiritual. Regardless of why you started practicing, your entire being benefits. It’s easy to focus on mastering the asanas or physical postures first. But traditionally, yoga’s primary intention is to gain control over your mind. The seminal text on yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, were compiled centuries ago and the wisdom proves true today. The Sutras are divided into 4 Padas or chapters which provide a pathway to journey toward Samadhi or enlightenment. The pillar of the entire text is stated in Sutra 1.2 Chitta vritti nirodaha. In a nutshell this means that yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. Yoga equals sustained attention.

Spinach & Mushroom Vegan Dumplings
Spinach & Mushroom Vegan Dumplings
In Estonia, we are big on foraging. Berries, mushrooms, some wild herbs – we have gathered them from the forest since we were kids. As this year has been exceptionally warm (in some years, we have snow in October already), you can still find mushrooms in the forest, and I used some chanterelles I picked myself. As I know that you can not go foraging all over the world, I substituted the mushrooms in this recipe for oyster mushrooms as they are easier to find from the stores. If you can’t find those, button mushrooms are okay too. Dumplings of this style are not typical for Estonian cuisine at all, but I don’t think that everything should be traditional all the time. I love how the miso paste in this recipe rounds the whole filling up, the spinach and lemon give extra brightness, and ginger is just an excellent ingredient that also boosts the immune system. I am sure that we could all benefit from a healthy immune system in this bizarre year.

10 Tips to Detox from Social Media
10 Tips to Detox from Social Media
The irony of reading this on a screen and possibly linked from a social media post is obvious. Social media is not all bad, and in fact, allows us to access a vast array of useful information and connection with one another. However, many of us have become unknowingly addicted to social media, our devices, and endless browsing, to which there are real downsides. Like anything else, the key is balance. The purpose of these tips is not to villainize social media, or torture ourselves by abstaining from things we like or disconnecting people we love. It's about leaving room to be more present, and in the moment, versus always thinking ahead to how you're going to share something with your audience, being distracted by your phone all the time, or stuck in loops of comparison.

Love Your Body & Stop Obsessing Over Your Weight
Love Your Body & Stop Obsessing Over Your Weight
Here is a novel idea – What if we measured our weight by laughter and contentment instead of pounds and kilos? If we stopped obsessing about how much we weigh and lived more by our worth as a person. If the saying – you are worth your weight in gold became a marker of our potential to live to. Wouldn’t our world be a better place and wouldn’t we each live a brighter existence? In a morning conversation about how we did not value our bodies when we were younger, I was thinking how can we instill value to our youth, where they grow up loving and appreciating their bodies for what they do and feel, over how they look. How can we gift this to our sons and daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren?

Slow Down: Yoga to Relax and Recharge
Slow Down: Yoga to Relax and Recharge
Are you already leaping into a New Year’s Resolution type of mindset, but haven’t taken enough time to relax after the hectic holiday season? Fostering a balance between action and rest is essential. The “doing” pattern of life is helpful to fulfill our desires and achieve our goals, but if we aren’t mindful, it’s easy to slip into only doing and not being. Why not try a less is more attitude this week? One of yoga’s true gifts is teaching us how to be present––not anticipating the future and not fixating on the past. If we are too focused on what is happening next, we cannot be fully present in what is happening right now. Consider a few of your favorite activities where you’re simply in the flow––running, surfing, gardening, dancing, listening to music or whatever is your perfect state.

Plant-Based Chocolate Cake
Plant-Based Chocolate Cake
I will not say that the cake is exactly healthy, but it is definitely better for you compared to regular chocolate cakes. I have not used any white sugar or flour; also, I chose applesauce instead of a whole lot of fatty ingredients. Avocados, dark chocolate, and banana replace the regular sugar and fat packed filling. On top of all that, the cake is entirely plant-based—a complete winner in my book. As a disclaimer, I need to mention that for some people, used to a lot of sugar, this cake might taste too healthy. I have been practicing life without much white sugar for a long time, so if you are still a beginner, you might want to add more sugar. The cake is vegan, so feel free to taste the batter before baking and adjust the sweetness. I have made this cake at least 10 times, and I still can’t get over the fact that the base of this cake is so so soft and juicy without adding a ton of fat to the batter. Make sure not to overcook the cake.