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


4 Reasons to Branch Out in Your Yoga Practice
4 Reasons to Branch Out in Your Yoga Practice
Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses, Downward Dog – every yogi has their favourite tried and tested poses and flows that they may be able to do with their eyes closed. As you move through your daily routine on the matt, you might notice your mind drifting. The flows that once took concentration and took your mind away from the humdrum day to day thoughts are now second nature, and you’ve lost your sense of zen. It’s easy to get into a rut if you stick to your comfort zones in life – and your yoga practice is no different. This week we’re challenging you to try a new class every day for two weeks. Here are four key benefits that branching out in your yoga practice can bring you. 1. Keep your brain active Did you know that learning a new skill, such as a different language or something creative like a musical instrument can help your brain form new connections? The same applies when you learn a new yoga flow or try a challenging pose. Stimulating your brain in this way can increase your memory skills, concentration and even your creativity levels. Learning something new, like figuring out a new yoga challenge can create neural pathways in the brain, increasing brain power.

How Yoga Can Strengthen the Joints
How Yoga Can Strengthen the Joints
If you’re struggling with painful or weak joints, you may be avoiding exercise, to reduce the inflammation and sensitivity. But did you know that practicing yoga can help strengthen the joints and certain poses can actually reduce joint pain? Here’s our top reasons why yoga can strengthen the joints, as well as some poses to practice if weak joints are affecting you. A joint is the place where two bones meet, and are made up of bones, tendons to connect your muscles to your bones, ligaments, cartilage for cushioning and synovial fluid for lubrication and to reduce friction. Most joint injuries occur from working out too hard, lifting weights that are too heavy, repetitive movement or falling. Common injuries are sprains and strains that inflame the joints and cause pain. Yoga is a great way to ease back into exercise while also helping to strengthen joints. Yoga works to increase your range of motion, which reduces future injury.

7 Yoga Poses to Curb Hair Loss
7 Yoga Poses to Curb Hair Loss
Do you feel that your hair looks dull and dreary? Do you go through your old pictures and wish for that thick and beautiful hair to return? Well, quit sulking, stop blaming your hair products and start practicing yoga for long, healthy and shiny hair. Hair loss is a major concern for both men and women. There are a number of reasons that can lead to hair loss, such as age, pollution, poor diet, stress, and thyroid problems. Thanks to the sedentary lifestyle we lead, stress has become the primary reason for hair loss and unhealthy hair. That’s right! Now, you can stop cursing your hair products and straighteners. They probably play only a small role in damaging your hair. Stop right there and don’t waste another penny for those expensive hair products and treatments. Choose the harmless, happy and healthy way to combat hair loss and accelerate hair growth. Yes! You heard it right! Yoga is a great way to protect your hair, restore its strength and prevent hair loss. It enhances blood circulation and oxygen flow to the head and scalp region for the regrowth of healthy hair and improves your physical and mental health as well. Here are 7 yoga poses that can work wonders for your hair. Let’s take a look at them now.

9 Reasons Why Men Should Do Yoga
9 Reasons Why Men Should Do Yoga
It improves your physique as well as your mental health, but even though yoga is one of the most beneficial exercises to do, many men still shy away from the practice. From increasing your strength to helping your sleeping patterns, there’s a wealth of reasons why men should do yoga. Here’s our top nine reasons why you should incorporate yoga into your workout regime. Builds your muscles evenly A lot of men schedule their workouts to build their muscles on certain parts of their body, for example their arms or shoulders. Yoga works to build muscles all over the body evenly. Yoga practice will work the muscles many men ignore in their workout regimes, which makes it a great exercise for overall body conditioning, an ideal reason why men should do yoga, especially if their aim is to build muscle. Reduces the risk of injury

Yoga Infographic: Yoga to Tone your Body
Yoga Infographic: Yoga to Tone your Body
Yoga's flexibility benefits may be more obvious and known, however, this practice can visibly tone your entire body. Strength is just as essential in yoga, as flexibility, and because of this, yoga builds visible strength and tones the entire body. Whether you want to tone your arms, legs, core, or back, there are specific poses to make each area more lean and strong. Enjoy this easy to follow infographic, clearly gives postures to practice to leave you feeling toned.

Everything About Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold
Everything About Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold
What is Uttanasana? Uttanasana might be known to you as a ‘Forward Bend’ or a ‘Standing Forward Fold’, but the Sanskrit name literally translates as ‘Intense Stretch Pose’. This is translated from the three Sanskrit words; “Ut’ which means ‘Intense’, “Tan” which means “to stretch” and “Asana” meaning “pose”. This pose is great for a deep stretch to the hamstrings or back, but should also been deeply relaxing, despite the name ‘intense’! The more you relax into the pose, the better the benefit will be. Uttanasana is found in most yoga sequences, but is a key component of sun salutes and vinyasa flow. It’s usually found as part of the transition sequence between standing poses and chaturanga dandasana, or the four-limbed staff pose. While it can be used as a transition pose, taking the time to practice this pose stand alone, or as part of a slower flow, can help to give more time to work on the technical aspects of the pose.

4 Best Restorative Poses to Relieve Stress
4 Best Restorative Poses to Relieve Stress
Restorative yoga is a deeply relaxing practice that helps relieve stress. A hectic lifestyle is the biggest host to stress. Through Restorative Yoga, deep relaxation therapy can be attained. Restorative Yoga is a slow-paced practice that holds poses for long to attain deep relaxation. The practice opens up the body by being in specific positions and gives a completely different experience than most of the more rigorous traditional and contemporary yoga styles. There are three main components of the restorative style: use props all the time, transition into the poses slowly, and hold the poses for a longer period of time. During a restorative yoga practice, the yogis can make use of props like blankets, blocks, and bolsters for support. It also encourages long hold as it allows the muscles to relax, stills the mind, enhances the mood and its healing capacity, and is an amazing and effective antidote to stress. Here are the top three restorative yoga poses to help reduce stress:

Yoga for Crossfit: Why it Improves Performance & 3 Poses
Yoga for Crossfit: Why it Improves Performance & 3 Poses
Yoga is not only a good way to relax your mind and body, it is also being praised for improving Crossfit performance. Yoga creates more flexibility and creates more mobility, which are beneficial for the rigors of Crossfit as well as reducing the risk of injury. While the practices are different in many ways, Crossfit and yoga actually have a lot in common, so if you practice yoga, it’s can be easier to learn to practice Crossfit, and vice versa. Benefits of Yoga for Crossfit: Here are a few reasons why you should consider using yoga as a part of your crossfit training regime. Yoga has many gentle poses that develop your core which is an important part to Crossfit. Being capable of balancing and holding the body with the core is essential. When you regularly practice yoga, you promote strength, endurance, and flexibility and have a greater awareness of how to use your core effectively. You also find your inner strength which is important in Crossfit training. You practice cultivating calm, in challenging moments in yoga, and that can really help during Crossfit. Yoga can help us have more fun in Crossfit. Studies have found that yoga allows you to become more self-aware and improves your energy levels, helping you to enjoy life more fully. Sometimes in Crossfit, training and progress becomes such a focus point that we forget to be light and have fun. Yoga can help here.

Give Props to Yoga Props
Give Props to Yoga Props
Props? I don’t need props! Props are for beginners, right? Nope. Props are for everyone and can benefit any level of yoga practice. As yogis, we strive to make mindful decisions, so why do we shy away from props? The most common examples of yoga props are blocks, straps and bolsters. As a yoga teacher, I sometimes include props as part of the class. Occasionally, when I ask participants to get their props prior to the start of class there is someone who doesn’t. I will usually request it again and explain we are all going to use them. If I attempt to deliver props to someone already on their mat, I am sometimes shooed away. Whether they come out and say it or not, the message is clear – “I don’t need props.” There is a stigma associated with the NEED for props. However, there are many benefits of yoga props. Don’t believe anyone who tells you using yoga props is cheating! I have never found anyone who could not benefit from the use of a prop for one or more poses, myself included.

Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About Sun Salutations
Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About Sun Salutations
Because we know how important Sun Salutations are in every yogi's life, we’ve put together an infographic with everything you need to know about the energizing sequence. Here is how to do a proper sun salutation step by step. Sun salutations are not only an important yoga sequence, but it’s also a great workout for weight loss. Furthermore, it’s a fabulously effective way to steady the mind and learn to coordinate breath with movement. Check out the endless benefits it brings, the affirmations you could associate with every asana and tips on how to do each pose correctly.

Yin Yoga Chill Out
Yin Yoga Chill Out
Life is all about balance. Hot and cold. Day and night. Sun and moon. Dark and light. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. Without balancing the opposing forces that exist within us and in the world around us, it’s tough to become centered and strong. Yin is stable and quiet. Yang is active and intense. Yin is stillness. Yang is movement. This week we’re focusing on how Yin Yoga can help you quiet your mind and delve deeper into your yoga practice. Many of us love our flowing linear styles of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power yoga. An active Yang practice has many benefits, but if your life is busy and intense, it might not be the best way to achieve balance and yin yoga can help.

4 Reasons Yoga is More Than Just a Workout
4 Reasons Yoga is More Than Just a Workout
Yoga is a lifestyle, and it teaches us to look within, rather than look for answers outside of ourselves. Many people practice yoga for physical reasons – yes, it’s a good stretching exercise, a great workout, and can be a powerful tool for weight loss; but is that all that yoga is? What other benefits of yoga exist that set it apart from other forms of exercise and fitness? The history of yoga begins 5,000 years ago, in the Indian culture. At it's origins, yoga philosophy has very little to do with the body and a physical practice. Sacred communities would practice rituals for spiritual development for centuries to come. Later, the practice spread around the globe and other cultures began practicing. As yoga evolved and developed, different ideas and beliefs were merged, and it was realized that spiritual awakening is as a sum of cumulative factors put together like puzzle pieces. It’s not only one idea or focus that matters; it’s a multitude of ideas. The physical piece of yoga is an important piece, but it's merely one of several puzzle pieces. So, why is yoga more than just a workout?

Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
We all have our favorite yoga asanas or postures and most yogis agree that twists are awesome. This week, we’re focusing on twists and how beneficial they are for your spine, your digestive organs, and your general sense of well-being. Of course, like all physical practices, it’s important to make sure you are using proper form and breathing techniques to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. Twists help nourish your entire spine, help maintain spinal health and prevent back pain. Twisting is one of the major directions in which your spine moves, but how often do you twist throughout the day? Most of us move primarily in the sagittal (front to back) and frontal planes (lateral) which can lead to compression. Without balanced movement for our vertebrae, muscles, and connective tissues, our spine can grow stiff and tight.

3 Reasons Why Yoga Can Make your Relationship Work Better
3 Reasons Why Yoga Can Make your Relationship Work Better
The ancient time-tested practice of yoga can assist one in sustaining healthy and dynamic intimate relationships. Developed and fine-tuned centuries past, yoga can help us to achieve the highest forms of intimacy with ourselves, which will make us more ripe to experience this in a relationship with another. Relationships sometimes take work, and sometimes working on ourselves is the most effective way to make your relationship work better. The yogic path advocates integrity and a kinder approach to life, both on and off the mat. These qualities are allies in having harmonious partnerships and meaningful friendships in life. Yoga increases one's consciousness, which can transform one into a better person in certain respects. Yoga encourages us to turn to our inner self and assume responsibility for who we are, the way we feel, and how we show up in the world. For many people, this translates into a lesser sense of entitlement and lesser need for drama in their lives. Our attitudes and mindset about conflict and handling disagreement, also have an opportunity to evolve as a result of yoga and meditation. When disagreements arise, which they always will in intimate relationships, the residue of one's yoga practice, can assist them in not succumbing to anger, or dwelling on what's not perfect about their partner.

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.