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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.

Raw Cacao Bites
Raw Cacao Bites
The other night we had our cleanse-friendly community dinner at Zeal and we met a young woman who had severe eczema. Allergy tests confirmed several food intolerances, chocolate being one of them. As diehard chocolate lovers, of course, we gasped. Allergic to chocolate? What could be worse? True to form, we started to dig deeper. This young woman, all of 13 years of age, wasn’t allergic to chocolate, she was allergic to dairy! So we asked her if she had ever tried cacao. Not to be confused with cocoa (or cocoa powder), cacao is the purest form of chocolate you can eat.

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.

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.

How the Moon Influences Your Mind
How the Moon Influences Your Mind
"Moon is two, the duality that is the basis for the workings of the mind and emotion. It is relationship, balance, and interchange." -Dr. David Frawley We're all luna(r)tics. Isn't it wonderful to know the fluctuations of the mind are more cyclical than radical. You can better understand the aspects of the mind and subconscious by connecting to the energetic shifts within the lunar cycle. The right + left hemispheres of the mind are activated by specific lunar days. Each side alternating like a perfectly balanced symphony. Naturally conducted by the phases of the moon to bring balance between active/receptive, masculine/feminine. Actions and life force (Prana) are improved when aligned with the energetic phases of the moon. One is able to draw down the cosmic nourishing powers of the moon to strengthen the mind/body/spirit. A harmonic expansion of consciousness + vital energy (Prana) begins to unfold to evolve beyond conditioned karma.

It's All About Balance
It's All About Balance
One of the primary benefits of yoga and main reasons to practice is to achieve balance in your body, your mind, and your heart. Yoga Sutra 2.46, Sthira Sukham asanam, is commonly translated to mean the posture should be steady and comfortable. By finding a balance between effort and ease on your yoga mat, you can create a sense of wholeness in your life. Hatha yoga is the broad umbrella under which most physical forms of yoga are housed. ‘Ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon. Hatha yoga seeks to balance the masculine solar energy and the feminine lunar energy that exists within all of us. Because at any given time, each of us is experiencing some level of imbalance, right? Your career is on fire, but your personal life is in shambles or vice-versa. Playing with the concepts of effort and ease through asana and pranayama helps bring the energy within you into a sustained state of balance.

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.

3 Amazing Vegan Recipes with a Matcha Touch
3 Amazing Vegan Recipes with a Matcha Touch
Matcha tea lends itself to some very healthy and tasty vegan recipes. A single cup of matcha reportedly has antioxidants equivalent to what you’ll find in 10 cups of green tea. The antioxidant EGCG brings about a sense of calm alertness, and there have been studies that show that show its ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Greens like matcha are also recommended as a natural ingredient in hair fall remedies. Here are some very vegan but delicious recipes you can prepare with matcha: Recipe 1 – Matcha Vegan Yogurt Breakfast Bowl ​ Probiotic vegan yogurt is a really healthy and tasty proposition. Probiotics in yogurt strengthen the immune system and are great for maintaining healthy intestines. Probiotic vegan yogurt is high in protein content too. Add matcha, some blood orange slices, maple syrup and walnuts and the health and taste quotients shoot up.

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.

Yoga for Desk Jockeys
Yoga for Desk Jockeys
This week, we’re excited to share a collection of classes specifically designed to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and stressful work environments. Even if you don’t work at a desk for long hours, this package of classes can benefit you. No matter why you practice yoga, you’ll reap the physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Major physical issues arise from spending long hours sitting at a desk including a stiff neck, sore shoulders, a painful compressed lower back, tight hips, and sluggish digestion. When you’re rounding forward focused on a computer, your shoulders tend to hunch the remainder of the day too. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect antidote. Yoga is the perfect remedy to open your chest and the front of your shoulders, stretch out and strengthen your entire spine and release tight hips.

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.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Did you know that the average distance your food travels to get to your plate in the United States is 1500 miles? Often times, it’s much more when you get your fruit from other continents. Admittedly, I can’t live without my lemons, but I try to really stock up on the freshest foods when they're in season. I like to buy extra blueberries, peaches, and raspberries so that I can freeze them and use these delicious, out-of-season fruits during the winter months for my smoothies. Although, I’m not complaining about the abundance of local food, sometimes I find myself saying, “what do I do with that zucchini blossom?” I also like to have a variety of recipes up my sleeve for simple foods like cauliflower, which to be honest I don’t love raw because it’s too harsh on my stomach. My favorite recipe for this sometimes gas producing food is Cauliflower Mashers! Maybe I shouldn’t be using the word gas and cauliflower in the same sentence to make this recipe look enticing. But, it’s delicious and almost reminds me of mashed potatoes, I swear!

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.

Yoga For Your Heart
Yoga For Your Heart
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. ~ John Lennon Imagine filling your heart so full of love for yourself and others that no space for fear exists! One of the most powerful aspects of yoga is the ability to create openings in your physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. The heart chakra is the seat of compassion, love, joy, and happiness. This week, our focus is all about opening and nourishing your heart. February 14th is known around the world as the day of love and it’s not just limited to romance. Documented celebrations as long ago as Roman times emphasize that the power of the heart justifies rejoicing. Our heart is the connection point where we are magnetically drawn to others. Love stems from our powerful fourth Chakra, the heart chakra.

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.

Lemon Balls
Lemon Balls
We’re big chocolate lovers and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to indulge in some dark chocolate. If it’s chocolate you’re looking for be sure to try our favorite sugar-free chocolate from The Good Chocolate. They are offering our community 15% off your order when you use coupon code #victoryissweet. You can also check out many of the chocolate-filled sweet treats we’ve made here. Today’s 80:20 recipe is as decadent as it is nostalgic of the oh-so-sweet-and-tart lemon bars we all grew up with. Lemon Balls

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.

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:

Ginger Spice Cookies
Ginger Spice Cookies
Last week at our Zeal dinner we were talking to several cleansers about cleansing with a family or significant others. Inevitability the topic of “vices” came up and we encouraged these cleansers to slowly start to uplevel some of their family member’s favorite foods. Learning to prepare and bake healthy sweet treats has definitely been one of the keys to our own 80:20 success. Our 80:20 Plan is centered around the idea that you can live the Conscious Cleanse as a lifestyle – and that includes indulging in pie, cookies, ice cream, and candy from time to time. Today we have a new, delicious 80:20 cookie recipe that you must try! These Ginger Spice Cookies are chewy and super simple to whip together.

Yoga for Healthy Lungs & Happy Breathing
Yoga for Healthy Lungs & Happy Breathing
If you aren’t breathing fully, you aren’t living fully. One of the best ways to maximize your oxygen intake and breathe to your maximum capacity is to practice yoga. We all have our reasons for stepping onto the yoga mat: flexibility, strength, balance, stress-relief, and even enlightenment. One major benefit of yoga you may not have considered is improved lung power. Yes, practicing yoga regularly results in healthier lungs and a stronger respiratory system. Because respiratory health is what keeps us alive, we’d say garnering this benefit from a regular yoga practice is essential. Your lungs are muscles and benefit from practices to promote healthy breathing and overall well being. Yoga is associated with overall improved lung function and can help reduce effects of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

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.

Dosha What? A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Ayurveda
Dosha What? A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Ayurveda
“It is not that the person needs to accommodate him or herself to yoga, but rather the yoga practice must be tailored to fit each person.” - Krishnamacharya Ayurveda and yoga are inseparable - yet the ancient health-science of Ayurveda is still so mysterious to us in the west. Here’s what you should know about Ayurveda, why it matters, and how you can use its principles to better understand your body type and better enhance your practice.

Turmeric Tonic Latte
Turmeric Tonic Latte
We have a guest blogger for you today and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Maria Uspenski is the founder of The Tea Spot, a leading producer of craft teas, based in Boulder, CO. The first time we met with Maria to co-create a line of detox teas, we quickly realized what a special human being we were with. MIT graduate, inventor, former ballet dancer, athlete, and author of Cancer Hates Tea, Maria’s passion for tea is infectious. Maria is the The Tea Spot’s innovative force, having realized the powerful healing benefits of tea through her own personal journey with cancer. Her message is simple and powerful – tea in its freshest form is not only sustainable and delicious, it’s a powerful elixir with unmatched health benefits. Maria is a social entrepreneur, cancer fighter and certified tea and fitness nutrition expert, and we couldn’t be more excited to share her story with you today!