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


Be Easy On Yourself
Be Easy On Yourself
The physical practice of yoga is built around Yoga Sutra II 46 Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means the posture should be a balance of effort and ease or strength and softness. For many of us yogis, it can be more difficult to access the ease and softness. But without these important qualities, you can’t find that sense of balance in your practice and in your life. If you are too rigid, that’s a lack of stability. If you’re too limp, that’s also unstable. Allowing yourself to be gentle and receive can be a challenge, but the benefits are numerous. In yoga, we’re seeking a sense of Samadhi, the state of mind where your attention is clear, focused, unwavering, and relaxed simultaneously. One of the lessons on the yoga journey is discovering the difference between being and doing. In active Yang practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa, it can be easy to focus on the movement and the strength required to fill out the shape of Virabhadrasana/ Warrior I or Natarajasana/Dancer’s Pose. We are accustomed to working hard, right? But if you push too hard, you’ll fall over or possibly injure yourself. To truly achieve Sthira Sukham Asanam in a pose, it is a dance between relaxing your body and mind, just as much as it is working to ground through your feet and expand your arms up toward the sky.

High-Protein Chocolate Pancakes
High-Protein Chocolate Pancakes
I just counted, and I have 7 different pancake recipes up in my blog. And I have at least the same amount written down on post-its and waiting to be on the blog soon. Why so many? The answer is pretty simple. I often make pancakes on Sunday mornings, and since I usually do my weekly shopping on Sunday evenings, I often have run out of an ingredient, so I just replace it with something different, and voila – a new recipe is born. Usually, it works out well (there have been some disasters too, but these will definitely not be featured anywhere)! These chocolatey pancakes are a big success, and I have made these many times by now. As a bonus, the cottage cheese gives these pancakes an extra boost of protein compared to “regular” pancakes. If you want the recipe to be dairy-free, you can substitute the cottage cheese with a vegan yogurt instead.

New Moon & Astrology Forecast: November 2020
New Moon & Astrology Forecast: November 2020
New Moon: November 15th, 2020. This new moon marks a pivotal point for relating, harmony, and the balance of universal forces. This shift is intended to change relating, yes, as this has been shifting along the collective for the past 6 weeks. There can be a shift in desires, in comforts within the external world. This shift creates a wobble within the wheel. A wobble that will break away the dross- the non-essential. This allows alignment to usher in expansion, and an expansion that will create greater alignment from within. Do not overdo. Do not go against this energy through ‘grasping’, clarity will get lost in control mechanisms. They will fall short. It is not your will power that will rectify, but your being. Surrender, acceptance, and awakening are the natural forces that will move you forward.

Why Mental Toughness Is Your Most Valuable Asset & How to Strengthen It
Why Mental Toughness Is Your Most Valuable Asset & How to Strengthen It
It was Henry Ford who said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you right.” The quote alone shows that whatever plan we have, whatever dreams we wish to aspire to, and the position we aspire to reach begins with the mind. That’s how critical our mind is. When people count their assets, they often think of their bank accounts, real estate holdings, stocks, and tangible assets that they have acquired over the years, and yet, they forget to add their mental toughness to the list, which can be more important than all of these other external things.

10-Day Hanumanasana Immersion: Get into the Splits!
10-Day Hanumanasana Immersion: Get into the Splits!
Take a leap of faith into Hanumanasna! Are you ready to immerse and challenge yourself to attempt something new this week? If there are certain yoga poses you’ve given up on because you don’t think you can ever do them, you’re not alone. What’s the point, right? But sometimes dedicating time to master something seemingly impossible results in deeper lessons than bending yourself into a certain shape. There’s an element of the Niyama Svadhyaya or self-study when we dedicate ourselves to a challenge. Asana or the physical practice is only one of many layers of yoga. When we focus on learning a certain posture, the benefits extend deep below the surface of muscle and bone. If we challenge ourselves to spend the time to master a difficult pose, like Hanumanasa or the Splits, we tap into our inner thoughts and emotions too. We learn a lot about ourselves by the inner dialogue that arises when we work through difficulties, challenges, and limitations.

Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
Spinach and Artichoke Pizza
Pizza is one of those fast food items that I don’t necessarily find unhealthy, especially when prepared at home, keeping the bottom thin and making good choices on toppings. Of course, homemade pizza is really not very fast food either as the dough's resting time is quite long, but in my opinion, every minute is completely worth it. As I bake sourdough bread at home, I always use sourdough as a pizza base, but if you don’t spend a few hours every week on bread baking, you can use any other recipe with yeast that you like. OR if you wish to get even faster results, just use a large flatbread or tortilla as a base, and you will get the whole recipe done in 10 minutes!

Exploring Common Sanskrit: Om, Spanda, Sutra, Dharma… WHAT?
Exploring Common Sanskrit: Om, Spanda, Sutra, Dharma… WHAT?
This month I have the pleasure of taking part in a writing experiment. Susanna Harwood Rubin, a yoga teacher and writer on the East Coast, is prompting students every day with a new Sanskrit word to explore with a few of their own words. I’m less than a week into this experience, and am already surprised how it has enabled me to look inward and apply the words and concepts to my life personally. Following are a few of my word explorations, with more to come. OM

10 Small Ways to Add Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life
10 Small Ways to Add Mindfulness Into Your Daily Life
Mindfulness is a great way to keep calm and happy in today's world. The mental state of mindfulness can help to reduce anxiety, and keep your mind healthy through an awareness of your own thoughts. While it might be the ‘buzzword’ of the year, mindfulness has been practiced for over 2000 years, and it’s now seen as a medically recommended technique to reduce depression. Want to get in on it? Here’s a few small ways you can bring mindfulness into your daily life. Try it for one minute

Yoga to Boost Immunity
Yoga to Boost Immunity
How are you feeling today? Did you get a restful night’s sleep? Are you energized and ready to make the most out of your day? If so, fabulous! That’s an excellent sign your immune system is working optimally. If, however, your sleep has been intermittent and you’re feeling stressed out, you aren’t alone. Here are 4 of the top ways yoga can support and strengthen your immune system and help you stay healthy all season long! Stress is one of the primary factors in a weak immune system. Yoga helps lower your cortisol levels.

Vegetarian Ramen Made from Scratch
Vegetarian Ramen Made from Scratch
Ramen is one of those dishes that everybody loves. Homemade delicious broth, slurpy noodles, and all kinds of toppings you can imagine - what is not to like! Perfect for windy, cold, and dark autumn weather. Ramen can be extremely simple if using store-bought broth and noodles. It can be even more effortless by ordering in from your favorite takeaway. BUT if you want to create something truly special and have a few hours to spare, give this recipe a try. And imagine the amount of packaging you can avoid using by preparing the broth and noodles from scratch (I hate excessive packaging and always try to buy free from plastic to reduce my ecological footprint as much as possible).

Full Moon Astrology Forecast: October 31, 2020
Full Moon Astrology Forecast: October 31, 2020
This Full Moon illuminates in Pisces and is bringing confidence and soul wisdom into full light. As the second Full Moon of the month, this one is a bit special and has several planets adding their own bit of magic. The previous New Moon on the 16th shifted a lot within the personality, and understanding one’s potential. This Moon will bring it all full circle. Unlike the New Moon this lunation is less neurotic, and the self will feel more stable. Mercury retrograde is assisting with the energy of rebuilding and is working to communicate from inner guidance. The mundane, and self-importance will fall short. Trust your intuition and get to the heart of the matter in all your communications, within self and the outer world.

Why YogaDownload's A Perfect Solution For Traveling & Yoga On The Go
Why YogaDownload's A Perfect Solution For Traveling & Yoga On The Go
This guest post was originally published on yogi Whitney Reynolds' blog, MoonWanderings. I am just finishing up my two week trial with YogaDownload. Here are my thoughts on my experience, what I enjoyed, and who I think would make a good fit for this platform. Week 1: Decision Paralysis The first week at YogaDownload can be overwhelming. There are so many choices of classes and programs to choose from. It is really difficult to decide where to begin.

Yoga to Stay Grounded and Strong
Yoga to Stay Grounded and Strong
When the world around you feels uncertain, it’s the perfect time to shift your focus and create a sense of stability from the inside out. Steadiness is the quality of strength and grounded energy. Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means the posture should be steady and comfortable. Working on developing this in your yoga practice will aid you in staying centered and rooted in the present moment. By balancing the need for survival and security first, you can become your strongest most grounded self, regardless of external circumstances. The Muladhara or Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine, is the foundation for our physical and energetic bodies and is essential to our sense of stability. Muladhara is the base chakra and addressing it first creates the basis for emotional and physical health.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffin Bites with Buckwheat Flour
Gluten-Free Zucchini Muffin Bites with Buckwheat Flour
There are never too many healthy snack ideas out there. The same can not be said about overgrown zucchini, and even if I always try to pick all the zucchini while they are still nice and firm, it sometimes happens that I am away from home for a few days and coming back, there are a few overgrown beasts out in my zucchini bed. I never recommend using too large zucchinis, but once you have them, this is one of the recipes that helps to use them up and does not suffer much from the zucchinis to be overgrown. For the first time in my 36 years of life, I had too many zucchinis for my own plants, and I am actually pleased about it. I gifted a few of them and ate around a ton of zucchini throughout the summer. Even today, mid-September, if the temperature is only around 14 degrees and it has been raining for the past 2 weeks, some of the plants are still flowering. Therefore, I still plan to eat zucchini flowers this year and maybe even get a few more baby-zucchinis.

A Brief History of Yoga
A Brief History of Yoga
Millions of people across the world practice yoga everyday, and it’s becoming a constantly evolving and changing practice that has integrated into the modern world. But what is the history of yoga, and how has it shaped our modern day practice? Yoga’s extensive 5,000 year old history is rich, intertwining with religion, philosophy and exercise, and as such, there are a few theories about the origin of the practice. Some people suggest that the origins of yoga stem from a Bronze age civilization called the Indus Valley Civilization, from northwest South Asia, while others believe yoga was around when the ideas of Hinduism and Buddhism were taking shape. There were many different periods of yoga, and they have all shaped our modern practice today. The first of these is the Vedic Period. This was the wra when the Vedas, which are four ancient scriptures, were created. These holy writings were created by Brahmans, ancient indian priests, and are a collection of hymns that actually contain the oldest known teachings about yoga that are still available today. The Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’, which is the root of the word ‘yoga’, first appeared in one of the Vedas.

Happy 14th Birthday YogaDownload!
Happy 14th Birthday YogaDownload!
While 2020 may be the year many people around the globe discovered the joy of practicing online yoga at home, YogaDownload.com is celebrating 14 years of being a pioneer in the online yoga space. Founder, Jamie Kent first created YogaDownload.com with audio yoga classes designed to reach students who couldn’t make it to a studio. Whether the barrier was location or cost or time, her vision was to share yoga with the world by providing world-class teachers, affordability, and ease of use. If you’ve been with us from the beginning or just discovered how life-changing practicing on your own terms can be, thank you for being here!

20 Top-Rated YogaDownload Classes of All Time
20 Top-Rated YogaDownload Classes of All Time
This week, we are thrilled to celebrate the 14th year of YogaDownload.com. This site and community would not be continuing to grow if it wasn't for all of you showing up regularly on your mat, from all over the world for the past 14 years! Thank for you showing up for yourself, and also supporting this global community and resource of online yoga in the process. As part of our celebration, here is the list of the 20 top-rated classes of all time! We've produced over 1700+ classes since our inception 14 years ago. Your honest ratings and reviews over the years have helped us to continue creating classes you want, based on your valuable feedback.

Tomato and Nectarine Gazpacho
Tomato and Nectarine Gazpacho
In today’s soup, the sweet nectarines meet up with ripe homegrown tomatoes. It may seem a bit strange at first – especially with the onion in the mix, but I promise – it is so so so delicious! As there is no real cooking involved, all the ingredients must be at their best ripeness. During the wintertime in Estonia, where I live, this kind of soup would be impossible to enjoy as the store-bought winter tomatoes taste like plastic. So at the moment, I am enjoying as much fresh produce as possible. This recipe here is one of those where it is not important to follow the ingredients' exact amounts. I give you a recipe, but feel free to play around – if you only have 5 tomatoes, go with 5. If you have 3 nectarines waiting to be used up – use them here. The same with seasoning – just make sure to taste the soup after the first seasoning and decide if you may like a little more vinegar or little more salt. With seasoning, I recommend adding a little at the time as it is easy to add in more, but once you add too much, it is not possible to remove the extra seasoning.

The Inspiration Download: Interview with Iana Velez, Publisher of NY Yoga Life Magazine
The Inspiration Download: Interview with Iana Velez, Publisher of NY Yoga Life Magazine
The Insight & Inspire interview series feature 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 the Publish & Editor-in-Cief of NY Yoga Life magazine, Iana Velez. What are you passionate about sharing with the world? Why does this motivate you?

New Moon & Astrology Forecast: October 2020
New Moon & Astrology Forecast: October 2020
This New Moon is heavily imbued with Virgo energy and comes into pedigree with Mars and Mercury in retrograde. The New Moon is working to unfold a level of moksha-liberation within the personality and in relation to spirituality that is tethered to the material world. It is within the unseen, and is asking you to go beyond the ego constructs. On August 15th we had a celestial dharmic-purpose alignment, to align one to their inner gifts and create greater unity collectively and individually. During September and October the planets have been working to unfold these layers. The layers that mask your inner gifts, the delusion of separateness, and the ways in which we held ourselves away from one another and our truth.

Vinyasa Flow with Electronic Music: Dance Party!
Vinyasa Flow with Electronic Music: Dance Party!
We don’t know about you, but it’s been a hot minute since we went out dancing! With 2020 keeping us close to home and dance parties closed down, we are itching for something different. This week we’re thrilled to share 4 new Electronic Music Session classes from some global record labels that will complement your practice and allow you to find your flow on a deeper level. We’re ready to synchronize our breath to our movement and add another element to our customary practices. Vinyasa Flow yoga and electronic music can be perfect partners in your quest to dance with your breath, quiet your mind, and soothe your soul. Vinyasa means to place in a special or sacred way and is an excellent way to build strength, balance, flexibility, and connection. This style of yoga focuses on linking breath and movement to create a moving meditation, which often feels like a powerful dance. Vinyasa Flow classes are varied and creative and each one is as unique as each instructor’s individual style and sequencing. Settling into the rhythm and flow helps you find harmony within yourself and with the world around you.

Peppermint & Blackcurrant Cake Roll
Peppermint & Blackcurrant Cake Roll
As you probably know by now, then most of my recipes are extremely simple and seldom require a precise measuring, but here is one exception. Baking is a science, and this is the only type of cooking where not following the exact amounts can have catastrophic results. Believe me – I am the type of cook who loves playing around and changing up at least half of the ingredients, also when baking, and let’s just say that all of the changes do not work ☺ So follow the given amounts here, please. I originally planned to make a regular round cake with the same ingredients, but as I wanted to take the cake to a friend's place, carrying around a roll seemed more comfortable. And it was! To make the roll more interesting, I wanted to make a green base. I have baked a peppermint cake before, but as it was too strong in mint the last time, I decided to reduce the amount this time. I am very happy with the taste this time, but the result is not as bright green as I would have liked so that I will add a little spinach for extra greenness for the next time.

7 Tips on Picking the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You
7 Tips on Picking the Right Yoga Teacher Training for You
Ok. So you’ve finally decided to do a yoga teacher training. Now comes the big decision - which one to choose? There are thousands of teacher trainings out there today, and in a world of increasing choice, the decision is more difficult. How do you choose a Yoga Teacher Training? Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Honor the Lunar Cycle with Moon Bathing
Honor the Lunar Cycle with Moon Bathing
The moon is an intoxicating symbol of nature’s rhythm. Its cycle of phases, from which all cycles of life from birth to death emerge, have been revered by cultures across the globe from time immemorial. This gentle cycle of waxing and waning is said to nourish and protect all that is sacred on Earth. Such rhythms of nature have a profound impact on our lives, and our physical and emotional cycles are perpetually impacted by them. The lunar cycle is particularly influential because the moon rules the flow of water, both on the planet and within us. Since around sixty percent of our bodies are made up of water, the moon has a powerful effect on our physical form, as well as our thoughts, emotions and dreams.

Heal Your Shoulders, Neck, & Upper Back: 2-Week Program
Heal Your Shoulders, Neck, & Upper Back: 2-Week Program
It’s safe to say that we’ve all experienced pain in our shoulders, neck, and upper back at some point. Tension in your shoulders and neck is one of the most common complaints with just about everyone! Whether you spent too much time in front of the computer or slept wrong and woke up with a crick in your neck, having pain in your upper body can truly ruin your day. The physical causes can develop from heredity, injuries or accidents, or poor posture. But for many of us, the manifestation of pain in this area of the body stems from issues beyond skin deep. We’ve got an amazing new program to address these issues and prevent further discomfort. The variety of classes over the next two weeks will not only help you relieve stress and tension in your physical body, but dig beneath the surface into your emotional and mental states. The root of the problem is often predominantly emotional and upper back issues often relate to experiencing a lack of emotional support from significant people in your life.