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


One Year Without Alcohol: Month 2
One Year Without Alcohol: Month 2
So my Dry 2018 has met the big Kahuna: a break-up! As I mentioned in Month 1, I’m not a huge drinker, but when this time of life comes around, your girlfriends (and sisters or guy friends, etc.) will no doubt hit you with “You need a drink” or “You can let that not drinking thing go now, right”? Well, not exactly. The advantage to being 36 and a yogi is that I don’t actually want to drown my sorrows. I actually want to feel them. I want to fully experience them and learn from them. I want to sit with them and see how I’ve helped create my current situation and how I can create something different next time. Mild drinking or smoking a joint or shopping or staying busy are all relatively acceptable forms of escapism in some yogi circles, but you reach a point in your life where you realize you either deal with it now, or deal with it later.

5 Reasons to Make a Yoga & Meditation Retreat in India your Next Vacation
5 Reasons to Make a Yoga & Meditation Retreat in India your Next Vacation
Vacation on your mind, but yearning for something different? Let’s retreat with a cause in the yoga haven of India, where the ancient science of the Vedas has proliferated into a compelling alternative lifestyle which is sustainable, self-empowering, and enriched with deeply seated wisdom. The legacy of yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda ricochets in this birth land of ancient yogis and world peace leaders. In the far North, the Himalayas stand in all its majestic glory where yoga has been a way of life since long ago. And in the deep South, in the tropical stretches of Kerala, Ayurveda, the priceless medicine of the Vedic civilization is still maintained in lived practices. Where else can you spend your days off to get rejuvenated and feel the power surging within at a cellular level, but here in India! Here are reasons why you must experience this awesomeness as your next vacation.

Reality versus Expectation
Reality versus Expectation
The last year has been full of doubt and uncertainty in my own craft. I’ve been teaching yoga and barre full-time for nine years and I’ve felt far less sure and confident of myself today than I did in the beginning. In a world where our worth as a yoga or fitness teacher seems dependent on class numbers, high amounts of followers and likes, and publicly-available Classpass and Google reviews, I have felt like I can’t compete. I’m not a competitive person and I never have been. I feel the pressure to be something extraordinary, to become a celebrity, to get people’s attention and have them care about me and praise me. I see the efforts that others in my community put into their social media and a sense of failure immediately fills my being. Everyone seems to have a professional photographer with them at all times, has unsurmountable inspiration and motivation while sporting the newest gear, the most perfect hair and a perfectly toned body to match.

5 Ways to Eat Like an Olympian
5 Ways to Eat Like an Olympian
Nutrition affects the health and performance of athletes, bodybuilders or anyone simply exercising to improve their health. Good nutrition plays a key role in optimizing the beneficial effects of physical activity. Learning to eat healthily can help you implement a healthy relationship with food and enjoy special treats and food that makes you feel better. Nutrition should be a priority for any athlete. Watching the best athletes in the world performing at such high levels, it is obvious there have been countless numbers of hours put into training at their respective sports. What may seem less obvious, is importance of the food these athletes eat, in helping them get into proper shape and maintain peak performance. Importance of Good Nutrition for Athletes Without proper nutrition, you will not attain your full athletic potential, and you are more susceptible to fatigue and injury. To achieve the full benefits of a well-designed performance enhancement program, you must include a balanced and nutrient dense diet.

7 Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
7 Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
Let’s face it: When you spend a lot of time at a desk, it’s all too easy for your mind and muscles to get fatigued, bogged down by the ongoing stress stemming from your job. You’re hunching over your computer, straining over documents and tightening your shoulders, even as you sit and type. Plus, there’s the mental pressure of deadlines and workplace conflict looming over you, making your body tense as well. Yoga is a great solution for this. It’s known for strengthening your body and easing muscle tension, while calming your mind and improving stress levels. But can you practice yoga in the workplace? The good news is, the answer is yes. Even when you’re stuck in a desk, there are several simple moves that you can practice that will provide the benefits of yoga right where you are. Through basic moves such as a chair cat/cow stretch or a short spinal twist, you can take steps to relieve back pain, clear your mind, improve your posture and more. Interested in regaining some of the clarity and energy you’d like to have on the job? Check out the accompanying infographic to get inspired with ways to practice yoga in the workplace, even during a busy, stressful day.

One Year Without Alcohol: Month 1
One Year Without Alcohol: Month 1
I’ve decided to stay “Dry” for all of 2018, and more importantly to share this journey with you all! It may not seem like a stretch to do a whole year without alcohol but for me it’s represents more than just staying sober. It represents being comfortable in my own skin. Alcohol has never been a super strong pull or vice, well ok, maybe in college when I’d be sober and diligently working towards a dance degree all week and when the weekends came we’d start things off with 5 shots of straight Absolut Vodka. Reality check! At 36 my relationship to alcohol is far from that youthful folly. A craft cocktail after a long week (or day) of work feels luxurious.

10 Steps to Heal Heartbreak
10 Steps to Heal Heartbreak
If falling in love is the best thing in the world, heartbreak has to be the worst. Heartbreaks are tough and understandably so; what you just believed to be true is no longer the case. While it may seem like your life is over, please know its not and you will get through this. Having gone through a recent heartbreak myself, I feel you. After I realized another romantic relationship had come to an end, I experienced many peaks and valleys of emotions. Luckily, my yoga practice has taught me many things like patience, non-attachment and compassion so I was able process the breakup in a healthy way. If you’re going through a heartbreak right now, please know you are loved by many. Then read on and test out my 10 steps to break away and return to you. STEP 1: Breathe. Take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose. Exhale out the mouth. Repeat as many times as you need to calm your nerves. Your breath is your strength, your energy, your life force. Even in times you find yourself in complete disbelief, just breathe. When you heart is broken and you can’t imagine another day without him, just breathe.

Discover Your Inner Warrior
Discover Your Inner Warrior
Within us all, rests a powerful warrior. An ally, full of belief, support and courage. A passionate protector, ready to go into battle when there is risk. When harm comes your way, your inner warrior rises into full defense. The reaction of your inner warrior is usually not to external threats, but to the struggles which we create ourselves. Called to action by ego, doubt, fear, ignorance, self-sabotage and neglect. The battle of your inner warrior, is to restore and reveal your best self. Fueled by passion, the inner warrior is strengthened by being open, raw and real. Life experience cultivates wisdom and calling on our inner warrior inspires resilience. Intelligent and articulate, our warrior is fine tuned to rise when needed, acting in support of our highest self. Think of your warrior as your biggest cheerleader.

The Joy of Drinking Coffee
The Joy of Drinking Coffee
What if the answer is simple and is hidden in your daily cup of coffee or tea? Datamonitor states that in Australia alone, the “hot drinks market had total revenues of $1.4 billion”, so there is plenty of opportunity to practice the art of being mindful when you indulge in your favorite cup. It is weird to think that I grew up hating coffee. The smell made me feel sick and up until my mid twenties I was disgusted by the idea that anyone would want to drink the stuff. Fast forward a decade and I enjoy a barista made cup each day. It’s not the caffeine, as I am someone who can consume the last sip and take a nap a few moments later. I like the taste but I’m not addicted or obsessed by it. I have given up and can easily do so again, with no side effects. For me, it is the ritual, an indulgence, a romantic gift to myself celebrating how amazing my day and therefore my life is.

Born to Breathe
Born to Breathe
Did you know babies can instinctively swim from their first second out of the womb? It’s true, and I highly recommend dipping your toe into the hundreds of adorable online videos demonstrating it. When underwater, they naturally know to hold their breath, and on the surface, they breathe deeply and fully, utilizing their bodies to the fullest capacity. When you notice a baby’s breath, it is obvious to see their relaxed, expansive, and unrestrained nature. It’s the way we are all meant to breathe. Yet, for many of us slightly larger humans, that skill of deep breathing disappears, overshadowed by stress and worries. The perfection of the present moment is easily lost amongst a sea of distractions. As it turns out, babies are the masters of the key to wellness. The quickest and easiest path to health is through returning to our baby bliss is through deep breathing and complete surrender to the present moment. This is the ultimate stress antidote.

How Not to be S.A.D. this Winter
How Not to be S.A.D. this Winter
I spent most of my youth in rainy Oregon. When I moved away it was to even gloomier England. Throughout my childhood I was known as grumpy, bratty, and moody (i.e. a “difficult kid”). I’ve done a lot of work on myself since then, arriving finally at a place of happiness, health and ease. One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself was to move to a sunnier locale. I was 20 when I transferred colleges and ended up in sunny Arizona. Although the drama of the early 20s continued, I was able to see that with enough sunshine I was not an inherently gloomy young woman, but rather susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that corresponds with the changing of the seasons, usually provoking symptoms to start in late fall or early winter. Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

Yoga & Fitness: Bringing Different Worlds Together
Yoga & Fitness: Bringing Different Worlds Together
Yoga in itself is a very unique discipline and contrasts what fitness and exercise represent in ways. It is called a discipline simply because it is one; a very complex discipline that has existed on earth for centuries at least. Yoga is a sacred journey. It is a spiritual practice, not solely focused on health and physicality. Today, it is a positive part of the lives of a growing number of people worldwide, as it continues to gain in popularity and people practicing. Then, there’s fitness, which is growing in popularity as well. For many, the fitness lifestyle is sought-after and is more than just a hobby or practice. Most people want to look and feel fit. For some, going to the gym has even become a social event, with a sense of community. These are just a few reasons the number of gyms and fitness centers in the world have increased tenfold in a very short period of time. Although different from yoga, the fitness industry is a lucrative industry that is also doing good for people’s well-being.

Why I Meditate
Why I Meditate
I was listening to a podcast the other night and the woman speaking said that meditation makes life a little “LSD-y.” I burst out laughing and nodded my head with understanding. Every day I feel like my senses are becoming sharper as I choose to show up more presently in life. Maintaining a meditation practice has been a priority of mine and I seem to be getting a lot of feedback that I should continue doing it. I’ve come to believe that life will give us feedback if we’re being present or not. We know when we’re taking care of our minds, our bodies, our relationships, our responsibilities… We know because life begins to flow more smoothly, we feel more confident and connected to what’s going on. Things feel lighter. Life also gives us feedback if we’re not taking care of those things, things begin to feel sloppy and awkward. Life feels a little heavy. Meditation trickles into every area of my life. Since I spend so much time teaching, that’s where I get the most information about the state of my mind. If I’m off my game, I know that it’s time to start re-prioritizing things so that I can get back on. I love teaching more than ever right now and I’m totally certain that I’m on the right path. The more present I become, the more I know what’s going on. It feels good to know what’s going on because that’s when we can begin to shape our reality and our life.

A Desire to be Inspired
A Desire to be Inspired
Aim to live in a perpetual whirl of inspiration. The source of inspiration is different for each individual but produces the same result- a feeling of peace, acceptance, surrender, and excitement for the flow of life. Ahhh, how great does it feel to pop out of bed, ready to kick the days booty?! If only we could infuse our lives with a constant feeling of inspiration… maybe it’s not as hard as we think. Often, you’ll find inspiration within your own heart- guiding you fearlessly and motivating your actions. Acknowledge this- inspiration will naturally arise depending on your day, your activities, and your life situation. Some periods of your life will flow abundantly with creative energy while other times, you might feel as if you’re sleepwalking through existence. Of course circumstances occur which you cannot control. You’re not alone if you find yourself on a constant rollercoaster of inspirational ups and downs. However, you do have a choice to make habit and consistency of bathing in inspiration every morning.

What to Expect When you Get Sober and Into Spirituality
What to Expect When you Get Sober and Into Spirituality
We all face a point in our life where things need to change. We can be directly inspired or have a traumatic life event shake things up. Either way many millennials are trading in the booze for green juice. For those suffering from a far greater issues of substance abuse, while challenging, it can be a simple, solvable and affordable choice. That is the good news. I love yoga but when I was drinking and doing these practices, I didn’t get the full benefits, because I wasn’t really doing the work. As a woman, society has always programed me to never feel like I was ever good enough. I didn’t look by normal standards to what people would consider “beautiful” and I struggled my whole life with the skewed perception of me as a person. So I drank. As most do to feel accepted in social settings. However, I learned some things along the way about being sober and spiritual and where these paths cross and where they don’t. So I am here to impart my humble experience about getting sober and becoming a yoga teacher and a spiritual person.

Stress or Peace? Our Role In Health
Stress or Peace? Our Role In Health
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is a field of research that deals with the interaction of the central nervous system, the endocrine system, and the immune system, and how these systems can be altered through behavior and stress. The immune, nervous, and endocrine systems communicate to maintain health. All of the systems are interconnected. The interest in PNI is the effects of thought and emotion on our health. Stress affects the entire Be-ing, nerves, cells, tissues, and systems of the body (individual and global). Stress if held, can disrupt nervous, endocrine, and immune system functioning resulting in “dis-ease." What is our body communicating to us? Controlling stress begins with taking control of the feelings we hold in our mind, because our feelings determine our thoughts we hold in the mind. Thoughts are profound. Scientific research is showing that thought actually travels faster than light. The challenge is bringing the thoughts/feelings from the subconscious into the conscious mind. Once conscious we can cognitively work in shifting perception and behavior. Are the thoughts/feelings true? Feelings, conscious or not, are causing your thoughts and beliefs, influencing your behaviors, and the effects you are now living. It is possible, to live what you truly desire in your life. This is good news. When we venture into the journey of healing we create the space for others to heal as well. We have the capacity to heal all relationships, all contacts just through mindfulness and single pointed focus.

How to Create a Personalized Diet Plan
How to Create a Personalized Diet Plan
If you're looking at losing weight, then creating a personalized diet plan can be the way to go. It's easy, free, and puts you in control of your own diet journey. This guide has everything you need to know about creating a plan, and helping you stick with it. Why use a personalized diet plan? There's several different reasons why you might want to create a diet plan. Everyone's weight loss journey is different, and everyone has different needs. For example, you may be very active so need more calories than most dieters. You could have dietary restrictions that regular diet plans don't address. Whatever the reason, a personalized diet plan can fit you just right. They're easy to put together, and you can see exactly what you should be eating every day. Unlike regular diet programs, you can ensure that you're eating enough to feel satisfied, and you won't miss out on everything that you love. As you can see, it's the best way to diet.

The Power of Gemstones & Mala Beads
The Power of Gemstones & Mala Beads
You’ve probably seen mala beads being worn by your meditation friends—they are beaded necklaces or bracelets with a tassel at the end. While mala beads are worn as beautiful spiritual jewelry, they can also be used as a powerful aid in meditation. Most places and companies that supply mala beads, have a wide selection of gemstone, wood and seed malas to choose from. We’ve come up with three ways why mala beads benefit those who wear them and the significance of different gemstones on malas.

The Most Important Holiday Gift of All
The Most Important Holiday Gift of All
Throughout my 9 years as a Counselor, I have realized that the holidays are truly a very dark time for many, and it’s not just for the 15% of us in the population who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. For us, the literal dark and cold of the season itself is a big piece of the puzzle, and all of the stress of the holidays piles on top of an already depressing time. Stress and expectations run high, to-do lists become far too long, and the pressure slowly builds. Not gonna lie, it’s a big part of the reason I enjoy a warm life in Bali now! As the holidays draw closer, it seems like everyone is on the brink of explosion. Many feel the pressure of responsibility to hold family traditions together. Consumerist-driven comparison has us all in a tailspin. What is supposed to be the jolliest holiday turns into a disaster as we simply and impossibly try to keep everyone else happy. Somewhere along the way, we let ourselves slip through the cracks. What about YOUR needs? Where is the time to take care of the most important person of all? Your very own self. It’s an easy time to crack; to break; to give into the darkness. I get it. I see you. I’m here for you.

Use your Imagination
Use your Imagination
Patanjali, author of The Yoga Sutras, shares that there are five states of mental activity; understanding, misunderstanding, memory, sleeping, and imagination. Imagination seems to be a challenging mental activity for those of us raised and living in our current cultural, social, educational, and economic system. Or so we remember. How often do we as adults imagine, like we did as a child? I remember my childhood imagination explorations including faeries, castles, mythical creatures, dances, romances, flying, time traveling, body swapping, etc. Why and when did we agree with what we were told, by elders of authority, such as to stop day dreaming in the make believe? Why is it that socially we were threatened out of our imaginations to avoid the risks of being labeled as strange, childish, or unacceptable?

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 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
5 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
Whether you already like to meditate, are thinking about trying it, or are unsure of why it's useful, here are 5 reasons that taking the time to practice meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can have a profound impact on your quality of life and benefit your well-being.

What is Power?
What is Power?
When we think of power, we tend to think of domination or control. A few years ago, though, I heard of a healthier and more yogic definition of power which resonated with me: power can be measured by how quickly you can make your desire into a reality. When we are in our personal power, we get what we want so easily, as if in the blink of an eye. To access the kind of personal power that allows us to quickly transform what we want into what we have, we must have a clear vision of which possibilities we actually desire. Visualization and goal setting can be a helpful practice to turn the gaze inward and initiate this kind of alchemy.

8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Travelling regularly for work or pleasure can be extremely fun, but often isn’t particularly good on your body. Gaining weight is all too easy, sitting for long periods of time on trains or planes and being forced to make rush food decisions or generally unhealthier options along the way can mean adding a few pounds around the waist in a short amount of time. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is a lot simpler when you can home cook and exercise at home or nearby, but while travelling these luxuries are gone; eating healthy and exercising become even more of a challenge. At the very least, staying well rested and hydrated as possible should be your two major concerns.

Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
I can almost still taste last weekend. Tacos, tequila, BBQ, sausages, mimosas, ceviché, beer, benedicts, ice cream…Two of my best girlfriends and I spent the weekend eating around Austin, TX. Sure, we caught a little bit of live music, did some window shopping, and took a walk around Lady Bird Lake — but mostly we just ate and drank, and ate some more. This week I decided it was time for a cleanse. Yep, time to clean out the ol’ intestines with a reset elimination diet. For the past 7 days I’ve ousted wheat, meat, booze, dairy, sugar, caffeine, most grains, legumes and nightshades. Side-effects of this elimination experiment have been a heightened sensitivity to flavor – good morning, tastebuds! – and an awareness of my tendency to comfort eat. It’s now clear to me that most of the time I put food in my mouth it’s for a reason other than true hunger. Maybe I’m bored, lonely, or feel that I need a reward or entertainment. And stopping at 80% full as recommended? Rarely.