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


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.

3 Ways to Enjoy Maternity Leave
3 Ways to Enjoy Maternity Leave
We all think it’s going to be easier than it is. We imagine that maternity leave will be like a long holiday in which we can get to enjoy life, see friends, and read books. Because of course we’ll know our baby and of course we’ll be better at it than everybody else! It turns out it’s a bit different than that. Babies don’t keep to our schedules. That’s probably because they don’t know what schedules are. For that reason, if you don’t plan ahead you will find those weeks turn into a constant struggle to catch up to the baby situation. Like desperately trying to figure out where there is a changing room when the little one is wailing like a fire alarm. Here are some things that you’ll definitely want to take care of before the little one arrives to enjoy your maternity leave instead of struggle through it.

Finish Strong!
Finish Strong!
Week 3: Finish Strong! You’re almost to the finish line, challengers! We hope you’re feeling stronger, lighter, and more radiant. We know it isn’t easy to create a new habit, especially when it means committing to practice every single day. Whether you are fired up and roaring to the finish line or if you’re stumbling a bit in your resolve, we’re here to help you finish strong. YogaDownload offers these four tips to blast you to the stars and accomplish your Pre-Holiday Challenge (and life) goals.

Yoga Poses Scientifically Proven to Ease Depression
Yoga Poses Scientifically Proven to Ease Depression
A study titled 'Treating Major Depression With Yoga: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Pilot Trial' published in PLOS ONE Journal earlier this year. It was completed by a group of scientists from the University of California, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University. The main purpose of the study was to examine how an 8-week hatha yoga intervention impacted people with mild to major depression. To achieve this purpose, the researchers recruited 38 adults who were diagnosed with depression. According to the results, the group who practiced yoga during the study period exhibited a considerable decline in depression scores than the group who did not. The decline was statistically and clinically significant, so the study concluded that the yoga intervention can serve as a tool for reducing depression severity.

Free Your Mind From Stress & Worry
Free Your Mind From Stress & Worry
So, I bet you have some person in your life who has a blessed, abundant life but still runs around like a worry-wort victim, right? You also have inspiring examples of people in the worst situations who maintain grace and love and gratitude despite their circumstances. What’s the difference between the two types of people? The second type of person – let’s use Nelson Mandela as an example – gets that our stress and suffering levels correspond to our attitudes around our external circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves. They take responsibility for their peace of mind, knowing that it can never be controlled by other people or external situations. Stress and suffering come from the stories we create from our circumstances. We dwell on the past with regret and shame. We project into the future with anxiety and worry. We are disconnected from the present moment, which, in reality, most likely holds much to be grateful and joyful about.

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.

Simple Ideas to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
Simple Ideas to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
I'm intrigued by people who've been able to reduce their yearly waste to just a bag or two of trash. Even though our circumstances have had us without a garden for a couple of years, I've composted for more than two decades. But the idea of being so completely aware of every single thing I touch in a day and determining how much to reduce, reuse, recycle is astounding to me. The three Rs of environmentalism have become a mantra of sorts for me. I figure if I can keep it on repeat in my brain the actions will become second nature. Where to start? Let's take them in reverse order...

Organic vs. Non-GMO labels
Organic vs. Non-GMO labels
Whether it’s from concern for the environment, their health, or both, shoppers are choosing organic foods and foods made without using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The upsurge in popularity of these two categories has helped organic foods become one of the quickest-growing sectors of food production in the United States. For anyone who has an interest in what goes into the food they eat, walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store today reveals a rising number of options. Not only do foods carry the familiar nutritional facts labels mandated by the FDA, but they also bear the symbols of organizations that certify organic food products as well as non-GMO food products. Even if these foods are distinctively labeled, there still may be some misconception about what those labels mean.

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?

When Fear Has You In Its Grip
When Fear Has You In Its Grip
Let’s get real about fear. Fear has been on my mind and in my heart. All the ways in which we experience fear, are taught to deal with (or avoid) fear, false expectations around fearlessness, and so much more. I’ve been holding hands with fear a lot lately. Sometimes it’s a firm, solid hand hold, and sometimes it feels like fear is trying to break my fingers and crush my hand. It’s so interesting being a human. I’ve tried so many different things to get rid of fear- avoiding it, seeking it out, making choices based on it or in spite of it, saying a lot of positive affirmations, focusing on love and light, pretending it doesn’t exist- you name it, I’ve tried it.

Align the Mind
Align the Mind
Alignment is a buzz word these days in the yoga world. Since more and more people are practicing yoga, and more people are speaking out about how yoga has injured them in the past, instructors and practitioners alike are concerned about safety. And that’s a good thing. But for all the talk about alignment as it refers to the body, what about the alignment of our thoughts, decisions, and actions?

9 Simple Ways to Live Authentically (Even When Life is Messy)
9 Simple Ways to Live Authentically (Even When Life is Messy)
As I’m approaching 30, I often find myself pondering on living authentically. What does being authentic mean? How do I know if the life I’m leading is authentic? Am I happy with the person I’ve become? Finally, is authenticity overrated? And if you’re anything like me, your train of thought may be similar.

Yoga Tips For a Healthy Back
Yoga Tips For a Healthy Back
Over 50% of all working Americans report having back pain each year. That's 5 out of 10 of you will have back pain this year! As a yoga therapist and a teacher of thousands of public yoga classes over the last 16 years I see many people with poor alignment, and the inability to flex, extend and twist their spine normally.

Plantain Pancakes
Plantain Pancakes
I have sort of a love affair with pancakes. Or rather, it’s more like a Nicholas Sparks style recollection of that one summer when I was eating gluten.