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


6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
Backbends are exceptionally and uniquely beneficial yoga postures. This family of poses have impactful physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Understanding and practicing these poses can allow one to access these benefits and experience real-life breakthroughs and improvements to their well-being. Here are the 6 best benefits of yoga backbends! 1. Get Happy. Backbends bring strong emotional benefits. Iyengar and other yoga teachers recommend backbends as to cure for depression. These shapes have the potential to relieve heavy sadness, and you can see it in their form. When one is sad, their posture and body language is often hunched forwards, with their head hanging down. Backbends are the opposite, and reverse this pattern, giving an uplifting improvement to one's posture and a boost to their mood.

Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
We all have that friend who seems naturally confident and fearless about being exactly who they are, regardless of the situation. Or, perhaps you are the confident one and have learned to tap into your true self and exhibit your personal power. A healthy amount of ego can be a good thing—a strong sense of self-confidence drives success and helps us live an authentic life. True confidence comes from within and self-assurance is a quality that can be cultivated, practiced, and strengthened. It's not just something that comes naturally to some people, and not to others, with nothing we can do to improve our sense of self-confidence. Utilizing yogic techniques of asana, pranayama, and meditation, we can uncover and address the layers of insecurity obscuring our inner strength and practice improving our own self-confidence. Sound good? How can yoga work to help you feel more self-assured in public or be able to speak your truth in a difficult relationship? Yoga can help balance your Manipura chakra, which is associated with the ego, self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and fire.

Quick Morning Yoga Poses for an Energized & Productive Day
Quick Morning Yoga Poses for an Energized & Productive Day
Trying to jump-start your day with a vigor and energy? You must be thinking of coffee or tea, right? If not caffeine, you may be wondering then what else could work! An energizing morning yoga practice can work as a natural stimulant, and set you up for a whole productive day. Yoga, especially some backbending sequences and the strong breathing practices in the morning, will help refresh your body and give you energy. It is a common for people to sleep with their spine and hips rounded in a position similar to the fetal position. This can feel calming while they rest and contemplate, but can also leave lingering tightness upon awaking. Sun salutations, backbends, and even forward bends, stretch and extend the hips and spine, nicely, and provide a counterpose of sorts to this sleeping position. Simply put, yoga can take you from a posture of sleepiness, to one of openness, energy and alertness, by waking up your body. This will also bring clarity and focus to your mind to prepare for a productive day. You can take just 10, 20 or 30 minutes, (whichever time span you like and have time for) and start preparing for the day full of vigor with yoga to start your morning.

Stretch Yourself to Sleep: 5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
Stretch Yourself to Sleep: 5 Yoga Poses for Better Sleep
We all know how the next day feels when we don’t sleep well. Missing out on the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep nightly does more than just make you grouchy, it can affect your physical and mental health. During sleep, your body heals itself and restores its chemical balance. Practicing Yoga before bed to wind down is a better option than stimulating the mind with your computer, television or smartphone. There are different types of yoga for different goals. The best option to promote sleep is a sequence of gentle, basic postures at a slow pace. Bedtime is not the time for an energizing practice, save that for morning, afternoon, or early evening. *It is not unusual to fall asleep in the final pose, Savasna, so you might want to set your alarm before you start the sequence! Try these 5 Yoga Poses tonight for better sleep (they can all be done in bed):

5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
Does seeing #yogaeverydamnday make you wonder how do people do it? Because you for one, are struggling to find the time to do yoga ANY damn day? We know why we should practice, sometimes we just need help with the when, and how. The old adage ‘you don’t have time, you make time,’ is not very helpful. We know you’re busy, we’re all (insanely) busy. And if by some miracle we do find the much needed ‘me time,’ it’s hard not to sink into the familiar urge to relax into Netflix. But the truth is, the busier you are, the more you need a daily practice (which is way healthier than binging Black Mirror). Practice takes practice, so we’ve put together our 5 favorite tips to get busy yogis on the mat every day, for both, a quick and instant pick-me-up, and the long term benefits of yoga.

Back to the Basics
Back to the Basics
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. -Shunryu Suzuki Do you remember your first yoga class? Or maybe you’ve never stepped onto a mat and something intangible is holding you back from beginning a yoga practice. Wherever you are on your yoga journey, pause and take a moment to let go of all you think you know about yoga, whether you’ve been practicing for a decade or a day. It’s great to go back to the beginning and remind yourself of how far you've come and that there isn’t only one way. A certain freedom exists when you come from a place of curiosity and openness. If you’ve been practicing for a while, you might have your favorite teachers, classes, and regular practice schedule. While that’s great, there’s a thin line between continuing to grow and sinking into a rut. This week, return to that place where you are open to hearing, processing, and accepting new information. You know, before you knew it all? Be open and step outside your comfort zone.

Heal Your Back Pain Program
Heal Your Back Pain Program
If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, be it a fleeting twinge or a long-term debilitating condition, you know how much it can impact your life. A healthy spine and strong core are essential for feeling your best physically, emotionally, and mentally. Luckily, yoga can help. This week we’re excited to bring you four classes specifically designed to alleviate back pain and techniques to prevent it in the future. Often we think of back pain as a purely physical issue, but it’s not so simple. Back pain often doesn’t have a physical cause, but instead is caused by the manifestation of mental or emotional stress. Yes, injuries to your spinal discs, spraining or straining muscles and ligaments, or suffering a specific injury to your back or neck is physical. In yoga, we address not just the physical body, but also the subtle body, which is a blueprint of the physical one.

Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana, as the name suggests is a cumulative of three Sanskrit words, ‘downward, face and dog’. Hence, it is also known as the ‘downward dog pose’ due to its resemblance with the downward facing position of a dog. The pose is one of the most traditional postures, and is practiced in both Hatha and Ashtanga yoga styles. With that being said, Adho Mukha Svanasana pose is one of the most widely acclaimed poses in yoga due to its multiple benefits. It can an accessible pose for most, regardless of their yogic expertise and skills, or age. While most people experience benefits in downward facing dog, there are certain contraindications and precautions that need to be kept in mind before performing this wonderful pose and some of them are mentioned at the end of this blog post. Here are some amazing Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits:

Surya Namaskar: Connect with the Sun
Surya Namaskar: Connect with the Sun
Even if you’re brand new to yoga, you’ve probably heard about Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskars. Why do yogis honor the sun with physical postures and often accompanying mantras? This sequence of physical postures or asanas is a way of expressing gratitude to the sun for the energy and life it bestows upon us. It emphasizes our connection to the Universe and our profound need for the warmth and light the sun provides. The Gayatri Mantra, a beautiful ancient Vedic prayer often chanted before or after practice, calls the sun, “the one who illuminates our minds.” Honoring the sun has profound power and infuses the body with solar energy. Our inner vitality is composed of fire and we need to nourish ourselves in order to brighten our Shakti to it’s fullest potential. The practice of sun salutations transform darkness and stagnation to fire and light. We want to burn as bright as we can and Surya Namaskar is a great place to begin.

Be Vigorous : Strong, Healthy, & Full of Energy
Be Vigorous : Strong, Healthy, & Full of Energy
How is 2018 treating you so far? Are you brimming with energy and excitement and making the most of each day? If you need a boost so you can feel like the strongest, most vigorous version of yourself, we’re thrilled to offer four new classes and five tips to motivate you. We step onto the yoga mat for different reasons at different times in our lives. Sometimes our needs center on a spiritual practice, sometimes we need to release mental stress and tension, and sometimes we simply seek the physical benefits of strength, flexibility, and balance. The beautiful thing about yoga is with all the various styles; you can find classes suitable for whatever you need. This week, our focus is on practicing yoga to cultivate a sense of vigor, which is defined as being strong, healthy, and full of energy. When you feel strong physically, there’s a direct correlation to how you feel emotionally and mentally as well. It’s all connected. Building strength takes tapas or discipline, dedication, and inner fire. Here are the top five reasons focusing on your asana practice pays off for your overall health and well-being:

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.

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.

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?

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).

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.

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.

5 Best Yoga Poses in a Timecrunch
5 Best Yoga Poses in a Timecrunch
Top 5 Poses in a Time Crunch If you're like me, your yoga practice and it's consistency move in waves. I practice yoga multiple times every week usually. That said, some weeks I make it to class and my mat five times, and on other weeks, it's closer to two. It is important to remember, on days when we don't create the time for a full hour-long practice, there are great benefits for fitting in even a single pose into your day, even for 1-minute or less. So which poses will give you your best bang for your buck in terms of time investment and a return of benefits. Here are five that can reset your mood in a matter of moments. 1. Paschimotanasana 2. Seated Twist 3. Salabasana 4. Shoulderstand 5. Headstand (or handstand)

Shift Your Perspective: The Benefits of Inversions
Shift Your Perspective: The Benefits of Inversions
Do you need a change of pace? Are you ready to tap into your inner child and become more playful in your yoga practice, yet desire to shift your physical, mental, and emotional viewpoint too? This week, we’re thrilled to offer four new classes focused on how inversions and going upside down benefits you. Technically, an inversion in yoga is anything that brings your hips above your heart and your heart above your head. Downward-facing dog and standing forward bends can be considered inversions. Some inversions build heat and energy, like handstands and forearm stands. Others like headstands and shoulder stand act to calm the nervous system. Assuming you are physically healthy and aren’t dealing with injuries to your neck or shoulders, low blood pressure, or glaucoma, there’s an inversion to benefit you.

5 Yoga Poses for Moms and Kids To Do Together
5 Yoga Poses for Moms and Kids To Do Together
Kids love yoga! It’s true. They don’t perceive it as the challenging practice that makes you bend your body in all directions or need to focus on staying calm while doing it. That’s you. For kids, yoga is a fun experience. They get to explore new movements and imitate nature, animals, and warriors. Of course, yoga is not just a game. It’s a practice that sets the foundation for a resilient, strong character. Researchers found that yoga helps children cope with symptoms of ADHD, such as hyperactivity, inattentiveness, and impulsiveness. Yoga helps them focus and boost their performance in physical and intellectual activities.

Six Benefits of Sun Salutations
Six Benefits of Sun Salutations
Sun Salutations are about worshipping the sun and activating the solar energy in the body. Consisting of 12 yoga poses (Hatha Yoga) requiring the practitioner to move from one pose to another in a rhythmic fashion in order to reap the benefits. Although this series can be practiced at any time of the day, the benefits of Sun Salutations increase when practiced in the morning in front of the sun.

Yoga for Transition & Transformation
Yoga for Transition & Transformation
Transitions are part of life and the change of seasons is a perfect time to focus on transitions and transform your life. When we tap into the essence of the season and align ourselves with nature, we can create lasting change. Now that you’re in week two of the YogaDownload.com Pre-Holiday Challenge, we hope you’re feeling stronger and determined to stay the course.

Understand Your Knees and 4 Poses to Keep them Healthy
Understand Your Knees and 4 Poses to Keep them Healthy
The mechanics of the knee is imposing! Its hinge structure and the performance it delivers will forever be difficult replicating. The knee joint is a typical synovial joint with the accompanying fluid for improved lubrication and protection of the adjoining parts. Here are 4 poses to also help strengthen your knees.

Types of Yoga: Which Style Fits You Best
Types of Yoga: Which Style Fits You Best
When someone completely new to yoga looks at Instagram photos, they might get confused. Is yoga all about handstands and backbends? There should be something more to it. When they do a brief research, they get even more confused. There are too many types of yoga, and all of them are quite different from one another. According to the Eastern approach to understanding human nature, each one of us has a unique personality and temperament. It’s no wonder why yoga has taken so many forms. It constantly evolves, and that’s a good thing. Since there are so many types of yoga, everyone can find a method that suits them. We’ll list few important types of yoga, so you’ll distinguish them and decide: which one suits you best?

The Importance of Alignment & Technique
The Importance of Alignment & Technique
“Stack your spine”, “Square your hips”, “Rotate your shoulder blades”, “Engage your core” - Do these sounds familiar but hard to comprehend? You are definitely not alone. Go deeper into this article to demystify and decode alignment cues used during your practice.

Stuck in your head? Work on your hips.
Stuck in your head? Work on your hips.
One of the greatest lessons of yoga is discovering the profound connection between your physical and emotional bodies. The physical benefits like looser hamstrings and stronger shoulders appear more quickly, but the benefits to your subtle body and emotional health are more profound. Shift your focus inside to attain the full benefits of yoga.