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


Mindfulness in Motion: Yoga's Impact on Cognitive Function
Mindfulness in Motion: Yoga's Impact on Cognitive Function
Unlike other forms of exercise, yoga has existed for centuries. It’s not difficult to see why. With regular application, even short yoga sessions can impact holistic wellness. This makes it perfect to incorporate into a busy lifestyle. For a lot of people, yoga’s primary benefits relate to physical or psychological health. Its focused poses can boost aerobic ability, while its promotion of a sense of calm can reduce stress. However, one of the perhaps under-explored benefits of yoga is that it can positively impact cognitive functioning.

Yoga that HIITs
Yoga that HIITs
Ready to feel revitalized? One of the best ways to reach peak physical, mental, and emotional health is with HIIT workouts. We live busy lives and on the days when you need both a workout and your yoga practice, fusion classes allow you to have it all. This week, we’ve got four energy packed Yoga + HIIT Fusion practices to help you feel your best. If you’re not familiar with HIIT, it is one of the most time-efficient calorie burning and muscle building workouts around. High-intensity Interval Training is composed of short periods of high intensity exercise to increase your heart rate alternated with low resistance exercise to allow your heart rate to recover.

Hello Hammys!
Hello Hammys!
What yoga class would be complete without giving your hamstrings some love and attention? While most practices contain hamstring stretches, this week’s classes are specially designed to focus on creating strong, supple hamstrings. First, a quick anatomy review: Your hamstrings are comprised of three muscles running down the back of your legs from the hip to the knee joint. They are the biceps femoris, the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus. The biceps femoris is located on the lateral/outer part of your leg and extends your hip joint and helps bend your knee. The semimembranosus is the middle hamstring and flexes your knee joint, extends your hip joint, and medially rotates your hip and lower leg. The semitendinosus is located between the other two muscles with similar duties to the semimembranosus.

A Beginners Guide to Meditation with 5 Easy Steps
A Beginners Guide to Meditation with 5 Easy Steps
Mind-body practices that have been around for centuries are becoming more modern day, accessible tools to elicit greater health and harmony in life. Current research shows the numerous benefits of consistent mindful meditation practices, such as increasing emotional intelligence, the body’s resilience to stress and improving positive states of mind. Our physical health, productivity and longevity are directly affected by our mental and emotional well being.

Body and Mind Connection
Body and Mind Connection
Do you know that feeling, the one when your mind and body are working in perfect synergy? It’s in those moments you’re living fully in the present moment. Your thoughts and your actions are aligned and you’re the strongest version of yourself. This state of being is ideal but it takes practice and discipline to settle your busy brain. You’ve probably heard the expression “quiet the monkey mind” in yoga. Visualize your mind as a windowless room with a troop of wild monkeys in play mode––zooming around, bouncing off the walls, babbling and distracting you from finding a sense of calm. If you allow the mindless chatter to take over, you’ll have a tough time finding your mind body connection.

Yintastic Yoga
Yintastic Yoga
Who is ready to create a little bliss from the inside out? Sometimes creating a sense of Santosha or contentment is as simple as slowing down for some self-care. Life is all about balance and Yin yoga is the perfect practice to soothe your soul, create more mobility in your joints, and balance your internal organs. This quieter style of yoga will help you feel fantastic emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Full Body Yoga!
Full Body Yoga!
Some days you feel like focusing on backbends, some days you want to open your hips, and some days you want a step-by-step class to master your handstand. Plenty of specialty yoga classes will help you narrow your focus and pursue specific goals. Some days, however, you want a practice that’s going to address your head to toe health: enter Full Body Yoga! While there are numerous benefits to focusing on a single body part or seeking a particular feeling like serenity or vitality, one of yoga’s magical benefits comes from its ability to be a complete solution to feeling your best. A well-rounded yoga practice focuses on flexibility, balance, and strength––inside and out.

Hips Don’t Lie!
Hips Don’t Lie!
Who has tight hips? Or maybe the better question is who doesn’t have tight hips? Everything from sitting to running to handling emotional stress contributes to stiffness in the pelvic area. No matter why your hips are tight, yoga can help. And what’s so powerful about hip openers is that when you create an opening in your body, you also create an emotional release. On the physical level, hips include connective tissue and some of our biggest muscles––the glutes––and the psoas muscles in the front of the pelvis. The psoas is the only muscle that starts in the front of the body and finishes in the back body.

Mobility Matters!
Mobility Matters!
Often when people think of yoga, they automatically assume it is all about flexibility or simple stretching. But yoga is also an excellent modality to improve joint mobility. It's important to work on mobility and flexibility and a well-balanced yoga program provides both. Dynamic movement is one of the best ways to maintain or increase mobility in your joints. Mobility takes strength and requires your muscles and joints to work together. A couple examples of poses that are excellent for mobility are Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog) and Utkatasana (Chair Pose). Both poses emphasize the posterior chain of the body as well as shoulder, hip, and ankle mobility.

Wake Up & Stretch: 3 Reasons to Practice Yoga First!
Wake Up & Stretch: 3 Reasons to Practice Yoga First!
Whether you leap out of bed without the assistance of an alarm clock or you hit snooze five times before you consider throwing off the sheets, morning yoga may be the game-changer you need. Stepping onto your yoga mat first thing can set the tone for your day and start your it on a positive note. Here are three of our favorite reasons to wake up and stretch. Starting your day with even a short yoga class is a natural way to create a positive perspective for your entire day. Yoga is a practice of learning to control your busy mind and direct your attention where you want it to go and elevating your “feel good” hormones can help. Who doesn’t want to feel happier?

The Benefits of Yoga in Stress Management
The Benefits of Yoga in Stress Management
We can all count on stress to make a constant appearance in our lives. Anything that threatens our physical, mental, or emotional health can trigger our body’s sympathetic nervous system and the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Then, we go into fight or flight mode to escape the danger. We can’t escape stress completely. But stress management is crucial because chronic stress can lead to serious issues like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Symptoms of various mental health conditions can worsen. Isolation and low-self esteem are common. And it can lead to destructive behaviors like substance abuse. With the harm stress can do to your mental and physical health in mind, combating it is crucial. That’s where yoga can help.

Flow to Flourish
Flow to Flourish
According to Yoga Sutra 2.33: Vitarka-badhane pratipaksha-bhavanam, When disturbed by negative thoughts, cultivate the opposite mental attitude. This practice of actively working to shift your perspective is key to creating a life where you’re flourishing and living your fullest life. When we flow on our yoga mat, we don’t simply impact our physical bodies, we release fear and negative blocks holding us back from experiencing more love, happiness, and peace. Sometimes manifesting your dreams begins with something as simple as sweating it out. Yoga is a practice of self-discovery. Whether you’re interested in learning how to stop getting in your own way, releasing past trauma and stress, or motivating yourself to take action, a mindful practice can fuel your journey. Vinyasa is a flowing style of yoga linking breath to movement and is derived from Ashtanga Yoga. It’s like one long dance with your breath where you create a moving meditation. A strong, dynamic yoga practice can dislodge and set free emotions trapped in your physical body.

How Yoga Retreats Cultivate Contentment
How Yoga Retreats Cultivate Contentment
Yoga retreats are an opportunity to literally turn off the buzz of Smart phones, television, computers, traffic and the rest of those modern conveniences that over-stimulate us and keep us stuck in “fight or flight” mode. The profound relaxation and joy established while disconnected from “real life” helps us tune in to how we’re feeling and appreciate the present moment. When you arrive to your retreat, external noise is silenced, and profound peace is accessible. Unlike when you’re home focused on all life’s daily responsibilities, you can get quiet enough to hear your thoughts, experience your feelings, savor delicious food (prepared by someone else), and lose yourself in new surroundings. A great retreat is one where you have the freedom to listen to your inner voice.

In Tune with Moon
In Tune with Moon
Are you harnessing the power of the world around you to connect to your truest self? This week’s classes dive into how aligning yourself with the cycles of the moon can help you connect more deeply with your own light. While it’s vital to turn your focus inward during yoga and meditation, it’s also essential to connect with universal energy. Everything is connected. A powerful way to align with the cycles of nature is to tune in to the cycles of the Moon. Yoga helps us find balance––inside and out. Hatha yoga’s name derives from Ha-tha, which means Sun and Moon in Sanskrit. Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon. The solar channel of the body encompasses the sympathetic nervous system, masculine energy, and the right side of the body. The lunar channel is the left side of the body and encompasses the parasympathetic nervous system and the divine feminine. We’re all made up of masculine and feminine, light and dark, and active and passive. Yoga can help us learn to balance these forces out and aligning with the moon’s phases is a powerful way to do so.

Good Evening
Good Evening
It’s true––sleep is a form of nourishment and necessary to wake up refreshed. Or put another way, rest is just as important as work. If all you do is work, you’ll burn out and be less able to live a well-balanced, healthy happy life. And if all you do is sleep or lay around on the couch, you’re missing out on the world around you. Many of us live busy lives, so it’s important to quiet your mind and tap into your parasympathetic nervous system. Life is all about balancing active, “fight or flight” energy and passive “rest and digest” energy. If you’re a chronic insomniac or only suffer sleepless nights occasionally, an evening yoga practice is a great way to get ready for bed.

Want to Be a Fitness Influencer? Here's What You Should Know
Want to Be a Fitness Influencer? Here's What You Should Know
Influencers have become a familiar part of the fitness industry. They tend to be considered some of the most important marketing tools for businesses in a landscape dominated by social media. Not to mention that this can also be a viable career choice for talented content creators with fresh perspectives on physical, mental, or holistic wellness. This isn’t the same as saying that success as a fitness influencer is necessarily guaranteed. If you choose to follow this path, you will in effect be setting up your own fitness marketing business. There are also a variety of challenges to navigate if you’re to break through in a healthy, successful, and sustainable way.

Better Backs
Better Backs
Back pain impacts millions of people at one time or another, whether from a specific injury or from long-term poor posture. Most of us sit too much and as a result, our spines become compressed, our muscles and connective tissue tighten, and then we are hurting. This week, we have six practices designed to give you a spinal tune-up and help prevent future pain. We tend to store emotions in our tissues and if we don’t create a release, physical tightness and strain can result. Whatever is causing your back pain is individual. How yoga helps is universal.

A Lil Yin with your Yang
A Lil Yin with your Yang
Without darkness, can we truly appreciate the light? Each one of us is composed of light and shadow. Masculine and feminine energy. Life is all about balance. The warmth from the sunshine on our skin. The cool gleam of a full moon’s rays. Yin and Yang. Just like the day is balanced out by the night, work is balanced out by rest. If you’re accustomed to a sweaty, vigorous Vinyasa class, learning to slow down is work.

Neck and Shoulder Nirvana
Neck and Shoulder Nirvana
Nirvana is defined as complete freedom from pain, worry, and the external world. In yoga, it’s considered the highest spiritual state. Used in a broader sense, nirvana can be defined as a state of bliss or a release from all suffering. This week, we’re sharing four practices designed to give you that sweet feeling in your neck and shoulders. Whether you woke up with a stiff neck or spend hours daily in front of a screen, tension in the shoulders and neck can prevent you from feeling your best. These classes will help loosen tight muscles, balance your Visshuda (throat) chakra, and clear your mind.

Yoga For Strong Glutes
Yoga For Strong Glutes
Maximizing the strength of your glute muscles isn’t just about looking great in your yoga pants. Having a powerful backside is incredibly important for hip stability and proper posture. Sitting causes the glute muscles to turn off completely, so if you spend most of your day in front of a computer, it’s time to make sure you dedicate time activating your glutes! Most people have heard of the gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle in the body. Two other gluteal muscles, the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus, are deeper than the gluteus maximus and play an important role in building and maintaining a powerful posterior.

Ways Yoga Can Increase Your Time in Nature
Ways Yoga Can Increase Your Time in Nature
Yoga continues to play an invaluable role in many people’s lives. It can present significant health benefits and tends to fit well into many routines. Not to mention that it can be adapted to fit into a range of spiritual and secular practices. One of the ways that yoga can have a positive influence in your life is by enhancing your relationship with the natural world. While it may not currently be a part of your regular routine, establishing a regular outdoor yoga practice can present significant holistic benefits.

Get Your Splits
Get Your Splits
Whether you can slide right into Hanumanasana or Monkey Pose like an Olympic gymnast or if the idea of dropping into this pose strikes fear in your heart, we’re here to persuade you to approach the splits with a fresh perspective. Of course, there are modified versions to accommodate injuries or physical limitations, but some version can work for you. And dedicating time to master something seemingly impossible results in deeper lessons than the simply finding the posture’s full expression.

Align Your Chakras
Align Your Chakras
Feeling out of balance? Maybe it’s time to turn your focus inward and create alignment from the inside out. We are all composed of energy or life force or as we call it in yoga, prana. Our energy fluctuates from minute to minute and sometimes maintaining our equilibrium is challenging. Yoga helps us align our energy through Nadis, which are energetic passageways carrying prana through our subtle body. Keeping energy flowing is important to feeling our best because when our prana is stuck, our mind, our body, and our emotions suffer imbalances. By aligning the Chakras from the Muladhara (Root) at the base of our spine through the Sushumna Nadi to the Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra, we are creating balance in our system.

Bendover Backwards
Bendover Backwards
When your yoga teacher moves into backbends, does it spark excitement or anxiety? Backbends have so many benefits for our body, our mind, and our heart but sometimes they can stoke fear, especially if you’ve had back injuries or issues. No surprise as the Anahata or Heart Chakra is the seat of courage, love, and fear. Let’s break down the benefits and the cautions to these enlivening poses because there’s a version for you! Physically, bending backwards strengthens your back, shoulders, and hips. Backbends improve your posture and increase mobility of your entire spine, while opening the chest, abdominals, and front of your pelvis and legs. Emotionally, these poses open your heart for more compassion and aid in letting go of fear. Mentally, backbends energize and awaken your brain, helping impart a sense of clarity and alertness.

The Easiest Ways to Show Yourself Compassion
The Easiest Ways to Show Yourself Compassion
As the old saying goes, you are your own worst enemy. When something in your life goes wrong, it’s easy to blame yourself, or drown yourself in sorrow. But, think about how you would treat a friend or loved one in the same situation. You wouldn’t berate them or be cold. Instead, you would show compassion and be empathetic to their feelings. When you adopt a more realistic, kinder view of the problems in your own life, it leads to self-compassion. That can be easier said than done for some people, but it’s not impossible for anyone. Self-compassion is essential. It doesn’t mean you never acknowledge your faults – just the opposite. It’s about acknowledging your failures and struggles, and being kind to yourself as you work through them without judging yourself along the way.