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


Yoga for the Summer Solstice
Yoga for the Summer Solstice
June 20th marks the Summer Solstice with Full Moon energy in the Northern Hemisphere. The Solstice is a reminder to align ourselves with the divine rhythm of nature. To celebrate the earth, the sun, the planets, and the stars beaming down on us. So, this day is the perfect moment to turn inward and reflect on what it is we’d like to grow and transform. One way to celebrate the Solstice is to move your yoga practice outside.

Super Gentle Yoga
Super Gentle Yoga
In yoga, we often hear Yoga Sutra 2:46 Sthira Sukham Asanam which translates to the posture should be a balance between effort and ease. And with how yoga has progressed in the West, there’s been a definite emphasis on the effort, a reward for how physically demanding a practice is and a shift away from the importance of the ease or comfort in the asana. If you feel like you’ve lost that balance and want to shift toward a softer yoga class, focus on gentle yoga. What do we mean by gentle yoga? Plenty of variety exists but in general, gentle yoga classes move at a slower pace, encourage using props and modifications, and emphasize “trying easy” instead of pushing yourself to your edge in each moment.

Flows to Revitalize
Flows to Revitalize
Now, we’re not saying you aren’t perfect just as you are but it’s easy to become a little too comfortable with our routine sometimes. And when we realize we’re no longer challenging ourselves, it’s a wakeup call. If we aren’t growing and expanding, we become stagnant. Yoga can empower you to tap into your inner fire, so you continue to grow and move forward in your life. Yoga reminds us that everything is temporary. The only constant is change and tuning into this universal truth reminds us to continue to renew our minds, hearts, and bodies. Asana, Pranayama, and Meditation all help balance our nervous system. Then, we can better manage our thoughts and emotions, not to mention feel physically better.

Neck and Shoulder Relief
Neck and Shoulder Relief
Sometimes life feels heavy, right? Between all the responsibilities with finances, family, and friends, it’s tough to stay balanced inside and out. Add in “tech neck” from hours on the computer and phone and it’s no wonder we can feel like an albatross is perched on our shoulders. Pain and tightness in the neck and shoulders is a complaint for many of us. Yoga can help you find some freedom and relief. One of the major physical causes of neck and shoulder tension comes from improper alignment and poor posture. As a result of slouching or sitting too much, our shoulders round forward and our necks stick out, like a turtle poking its head out of its shell. This type of misalignment can cause muscular pain and tension, headaches, distracted thoughts, and shallow breathing. Yoga focusing on creating mobility in the shoulders and stretching the neck will keep your muscles strong and supple and prevent injury.

Back & Core Strength
Back & Core Strength
Are you ready to tap into the fountain of youth and feel more vibrant and energetic, no matter your chronological age? When you focus on practices designed to strengthen your center, you’re not just creating toned abdominals and back muscles, you’re boosting your overall health and wellness. Every movement you make, from yoga to sports to walking, involves your core. This week, the spotlight is on how creating a powerful center helps tone your muscles, keeps your spine healthy, encourages healthy digestion and elimination, and balances your navel or Manipura Chakra.

Yoga for the Best Day
Yoga for the Best Day
Are you ready for today to be the day your dreams come true? What if you shifted your mindset and each morning when you opened your eyes, you decided today would be your best day, regardless of external events? Yoga reminds us that we cannot control anything except our reactions to what’s occurring around us. According to the Yoga Sutras eight-limbed yoga path, we can achieve happiness and peace by turning inward. All we need is within us. If we cultivate gratitude and a sense of Santosha, or contentment, we are one step closer to making each day our best day. Yoga Sutra 2:33, Pratipaksha Bhavana, states, “When negative thoughts present themselves cultivate and think the opposite thoughts with feeling.” This philosophy encourages us to repetitively practice replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones until the positive attitude becomes the default.

Stability and Strength
Stability and Strength
Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means each asana or physical posture should be a balance of steadiness and ease. Steadiness is a combination of strength and grounded energy. If your muscles quiver and strain when you’re trying to hold an asana, you’ll struggle to achieve a sense of calm. While flexibility and mobility are key elements of a well-rounded yoga class, without stability it’s impossible to truly find your yoga groove. We all can benefit from some yoga classes specifically designed to build internal and external stability so this week, we bring you four classes to help you feel grounded and powerful. You’ll embody strength and softness with each breath and movement. Classes focused on strength aren’t just about your muscles but creating a healthy spine and strong bones and joints. You’ll not only be able to hold postures longer while controlling your breath, but you’ll also release mental and emotional stress.

Full Body Goodness
Full Body Goodness
Are you ready to feel your best from head to toe not just on the outside but also on the inside? Physically, a consistent yoga practice will improve your posture, prevent injury, alleviate pain, and benefit your nervous and digestive systems. Opening the body creates corresponding openings in the heart and emotions, as well as helping develop a clear, calm mind. This week’s classes offer synergistic effects of a well-rounded yoga practice for your entire being. When you step onto the mat, an integral element of the practice is learning to stay present through the challenging and the simpler parts of class. When you utilize the breath to filter out distractions and shift your awareness inward, you can tune into what you’re feeling and release what no longer serves you.

Spicy Vinyasa-Fast flowing Vinyasa
Spicy Vinyasa-Fast flowing Vinyasa
Okay yogis, it’s time to mix it up on the mat. We all have our favorite teachers, preferred classes and routines. And if returning to your favorites keeps you practicing consistently, that’s fantastic! But sometimes, you’ve got to shake things up to continue growing. This week, try a faster paced Vinyasa Flow class. Read on for just a handful of the benefits to this style of yoga. Vinyasa Flow yoga is a flowing, varied sequence of postures linked with your breath to create a moving meditation. These classes are all unique, colored by the teacher’s creativity and energy. Of course, classes vary but the faster paced practices feel like a powerful dance with your breath. Whether the class emphasizes a vigorous pace or an emphasis on muscular strength, you’ll feel invigorated.

Beginner’s Mindset
Beginner’s Mindset
Whether you’ve never tried yoga before or practiced sporadically and never found your groove, it’s never too late to try again. Maybe the timing wasn’t right before, or you couldn’t find a yoga teacher that you connected with––the reasons why you’re trying yoga for the first time or returning to the mat aren’t what’s important. What matters is your attitude. If you can step into a beginner’s mindset and be open to step outside your comfort zone, you can discover the myriad of benefits yoga offers. A well-balanced yoga practice will help you become stronger, more flexible, more centered, and happier. What’s key is finding a style you love and a set of instructors who encourage you to be patient with yourself. One of yoga’s primary teachings deals with learning to release attachment to outcome. To let go of pre-conceived notions of what you believe yoga should be.

Pre and Post Workout Yoga
Pre and Post Workout Yoga
What’s your go-to warm up before you start your favorite workout? And do you cool down and stretch after you hike, bike, run, or do a HIIT class? To enhance your performance and to prevent injury, it’s important to warm up properly as well as allow your system to return to normal after exercise. If you’ve never tried yoga before or after your favorite sports and activities, this week we’ve made it easy for you. Many cardio activities, like cycling and running, consist of repetitive movements in one direction and in one plane of motion. Sports like golf and tennis are focused on using one side of the body, which over time develops certain muscle groups to the detriment of others. Over time, this creates imbalances in the muscles and joints leading to overuse injuries. Yoga is dynamic and moves your muscles and joints through a full range of motion. A well-rounded yoga warm up is a great way to stay balanced and aligned.

Yoga for Rebirth and Hope
Yoga for Rebirth and Hope
Yoga is an incredible way to renew our mind, body, and spirit each time we step onto our mats. We’ve heard over and over from our students that one of the best benefits of regular practice is the feeling of softening or a sense of being more content. And physically, if we aren’t keeping our bodies moving, we literally become stiff and inflexible. We’ve just celebrated the Vernal Equinox, which is a perfect time to celebrate the changes in the seasons. When we align ourselves with the cycles of the earth, we harness the strength of nature to become our most balanced, strong selves. Depending on where you live, you’re either eagerly awaiting the flowers blooming or watching the leaves fall. It’s a great time to shed what no longer is serving you and create space to invite in the fresh and new.

Yoga for the Best Sleep
Yoga for the Best Sleep
Does anyone else have trouble falling asleep at night? You snuggle under the covers, lay your weary head on the pillow ready to drift off to dreamland and boom––your mind is racing. If you can relate, you’re not alone. Many of us are stuck in the “fight or flight” syndrome and our nervous systems have trouble switching into “rest and digest” mode. Quality sleep is essential for us to rejuvenate and maintain our physical, emotional, and mental health. If you’re ready to have your best night of sleep tonight, read on for a few of the ways yoga and meditation can help.

Ready, Set, FLOW!
Ready, Set, FLOW!
When we are going with the flow, we are aligned with ourselves and with the world around us. But with the busy-ness and fast pace of life, it’s easy to slip into a state of distraction and lose sight of your center. Yoga is all about clearing out the mental clutter and finding freedom in your mind, heart, and body. A “flow state” is when you are immersed in an activity to the point you no longer reason you’re “doing” it, you’re simply in it. For some people, finding their flow is playing or listening to music, running, dancing, surfing, gardening, or whatever activity allows them to settle in an energized state of freedom. Yoga is an excellent path to finding your flow. When we focus on connecting the power of physical movement with the practice of breathing in certain ways, we can expand our prana or life force energy and get energized or relaxed, depending upon the technique.

The Way of the Peaceful Yogi
The Way of the Peaceful Yogi
oga is many different things to many different people but at its core, yoga is a tool to create a quiet mind and a serene heart. Yoga reminds us that we cannot control external events; we can only control our reaction to them. Our world is a hectic place these days and if you’ve felt helpless seeing all the suffering, you aren’t alone. The power of the individual can radiate out to the collective. So if we work to increase our own love and compassion and share it with those around us, and others do the same thing, we can create a more peaceful world. An excellent starting point is to balance our Anahata (Heart) Chakra. Love lives in our hearts and Anahata is associated with selflessness and with enlarging our capacity for compassion. Love and fear are two sides of a coin and when we’re stuck in fear, or when we cannot forgive others, we shut down. We aren’t as kind to others because we fear being hurt and our energy impacts those around us.

Take a Chill Pill
Take a Chill Pill
Yoga’s gifts are numerous but one of the best is the ability to move from the reactive state called fight or flight where we’re operating with high stress levels and taxing our nervous systems. Through asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathwork), and meditation, it’s possible to move into rest and digest mode, which is a receptive state. If stabilizing your blood pressure, balancing your heart rate, and lowering stress hormones sounds like what you need, read on. Depending on what style of yoga you practice, you can energize or relax. To become more calm, poses like forward bends, twists, and restorative postures will help you quiet your mind and pacify your nervous system. By slowing down on the mat, you’ll create the space to feel more clear and relaxed. This week, we’ve hand-picked classes to help you chill out, naturally.

Good Morning Flows
Good Morning Flows
You’ve heard the expression “waking up on the wrong side of the bed,” right? Well, some days when your alarm goes off, you and want to burrow beneath the covers instead of getting up and facing the day. Our emotions and moods are always changing. And depending on what’s going on in your life, you may be facing serious challenges at work or in your relationships. We can’t control a lot of what’s happening around us, but we can take steps to control our reaction to them. Yoga and meditation are powerful tools to help us create tangible space in our reaction time to external events. No matter what’s happening in your day to day, practicing yoga in the morning sets you up for a positive experience.

Moon Energy Yoga
Moon Energy Yoga
Ready to align with the moon? February 10th marked the Lunar New Year, which celebrates the New Year based on the lunar calendar. This week, we’ve got four classes designed to attune your physical and subtle body to the energetics of the moon. Light can’t exist without darkness and vice-versa. Hatha is the physical practice of yoga and “Ha” means sun and “tha” means moon. The sun provides us with light and life, but the moon wields significant power on the Earth and on us. On a grand scale, the moon controls the ocean tides with its gravitational pull. About 71% of the earth is covered by water of which the oceans are 95%. So, as the moon waxes and wanes, it influences everything from fishermen’s livelihood to tsunamis to daredevils surfing fifty-foot waves off the coast of Nazaré. Of course we all feel the moon’s impact on our moods and emotions so aligning with the moon’s energy can be really impactful.

Core and Spine Love
Core and Spine Love
A strong core and a healthy spine go hand in hand. Visualize the muscles of your core, which include your abdominals, back, and glutes, as a natural girdle supporting your spine. Keeping these muscles strong and supple will protect your spine, improve your posture, maintain and improve alignment, and help you avoid lower back pain. Whether you’re taking a yoga class specifically designed to focus on core/spine health or a core/Pilates class, you’ll garner these benefits. Back pain is often the result of weak abdominals, tight hip flexors, and inflexible hamstrings. It’s vital to ensure all three of these elements are addressed to keep your core and spine in optimal health.

And Breathe
And Breathe
B.K.S. Iyengar, one of the yoga teachers credited with bringing yoga to the West taught that pranayama was more advanced than asana. In his classes, he instructed his students to master the physical postures prior to attempting pranayama techniques. Pranayama allows you to sink into deeper meditation. A well-rounded yoga practice includes asana, pranayama, and meditation. What is Pranayama? Pranayama is the practice of extending and regulating your prana or life force. Simply by focusing on mindful breathing, we can learn to change the way we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Simply by utilizing different techniques, you can calm your nervous system, boost your energy, quiet your mind, and soothe your emotions. Pranayama gives you the ability to manage your prana.

Yoga with Style
Yoga with Style
Are you ready to mix it up on your mat? Yoga fusion classes run the gambit of combining yoga with weights, barre, Pilates, HIIT, cardio––the variety is part of the fun! These special classes emphasize getting stronger, but also staying flexible. Whether you are short on time but want to fit in your fitness and your yoga or whether you get bored easily, we’ve got some awesome classes for you.

Short and Effective Classes for Yogis on the Go
Short and Effective Classes for Yogis on the Go
Can you believe we’re more than halfway through January? If you started the year out with the intention to expand or maintain your yoga practice, how is it going? If life has gotten busy and you over-estimated just how much time you actually have, we’re here to make it easier for you to be consistent with your yoga routine. Don’t waste energy stressing about why you’ve not had time to practice yoga as frequently as you would like. Instead, focus on how you can fit in your yoga, even when you’re short on time. Consistency is key to feeling balanced, strong, and flexible. Quality not quantity! You don’t need an hour or ninety-minute practice to garner all the mind, body, and spiritual benefits of yoga. Even fifteen to twenty-minute classes will help you find a better mood, vibrant energy, and a stronger more supple body. Practicing yoga several times a week is an investment in your health––both inside and out. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali referred to yoga as a process of being a gardener or farmer. Each yoga practice is planting seeds for your future health and well-being. You might not see the benefits today but you’re setting yourself up to feel your best tomorrow and beyond.

Yoga All the Time
Yoga All the Time
“The very heart of yoga practice is ‘abyhasa’ steady effort in the direction you want to go.” ― Sally Kempton Has someone told you that you MUST practice yoga in the mornings or the evenings or when the moon is full or fill-in-the-blank? It’s simply not true. No hard and fast rules exist. The best time to practice is when you can step onto the mat! In our busy lives, every day can be different and so you can adapt your practice based on your schedule. One of the greatest benefits of practicing yoga at home or on the road is you choose. There are advantages of practicing at different times.

Twist it Out
Twist it Out
Like a spark of lightning or a crash of thunder, our lives can transform in a flash. We can’t control external events, but we can control our reaction to them. Think of your yoga mat as the preparation zone for the rest of your day. Life isn’t linear, it’s a winding twisting journey so why not twist it out on your mat first? Twists are an excellent way to invite in a feeling of lightness, to release negative thoughts and emotions, to keep your spine healthy, and to benefit your internal organs. Here are 3 ways twists help. This week’s classes focus on twisting postures, not simply to benefit your physical body but serve as a tool to navigate life’s twists and turns. Enjoy!

No Mat (No Excuses!) Standing Yoga
No Mat (No Excuses!) Standing Yoga
Consistency is a concept we discuss frequently in yoga. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra 1:14 states, sa tu dirghakala nairantarya satkarasevito drdhabhumih: Practice that is done for a long time, without break and with sincere devotion becomes a firmly rooted, stable, and solid foundation. In other words, you must be consistent in your yoga practice to reap the physical, emotional, and mental benefits. A few classes here and there won’t do it. Sometimes it’s simply not feasible to practice full length classes regularly at a studio. One of the biggest benefits of online yoga with us is you can practice anytime and anywhere. Consistency and discipline looks different for all of us. If you’re a YogaDownload yogi, you understand the importance of yoga most days. If you only have fifteen minutes, you can squeeze in a quick practice at home or when you’re traveling. On the days you have plenty of time for a longer class, great! It’s more about the commitment to settling into your breath and movement each day, no excuses.