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


5 Ways to Stay Inspired On and Off the Mat
5 Ways to Stay Inspired On and Off the Mat
It’s easy to fall into the habit of always taking the same yoga classes and teachers, walking or running the same routes. Suddenly, you find yourself uninspired and unmotivated in not just your practice, but also your life. Remember, your yoga practice mirrors your life off the mat. The key is to stay open-minded and curious and always keep learning. We’re here with some tips to help! 1. Venture Out of Your Comfortable Routine Try a new teacher, new class, or new style of yoga this week. We all know consistency in your yoga practice is crucial, but sometimes we fall into a rut. If you find yourself dragging your feet to get to class, try something outside of your comfort zone. If your go to practice is Vinyasa or Ashtanga, try a Yin or Iyengar class or vice-versa. Even if the class you choose isn’t one that you’ll return to, it will give you a renewed appreciation for your usual choices. And you may learn something new by slowing down or stepping it up.

Release Distraction and Embrace Meditation
Release Distraction and Embrace Meditation
When is the last time you were able to sink into the zone? That place where you’re not trying to be in the moment, you just are. For some people, this state of mind occurs when they are being active, doing something like running, surfing, dancing, or listening to music. In yoga, we call this involuntary dhyana. Wouldn’t it be freeing to make this happen voluntarily, without engaging in any physical activity? That is meditation. One of the primary intentions in yoga and meditation is to center your mind and become grounded in the present moment. In our daily lives, it’s easy to become mired in the past and controlled by memories, patterns, and fears. Also, in our Western culture, the focus on the future, on doing, on achieving, on getting somewhere or buying something, pulls us out of the now.

Balance is a Life Skill
Balance is a Life Skill
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! Now is the perfect time to assess whether your life feels in balance or if it’s time for a few tweaks to your routine. Except what looks like balance today could be very different than it was even a few short months ago. Our yoga practice mirrors what’s happening during the other twenty-three hours of our day. By tapping into yogic principles, you can find the perfect balance for you at this particular time in your life. In our physical Hatha yoga practice, we seek to balance the masculine solar energy (‘Ha’) and (‘tha’) the feminine lunar energy that exists within all of us. By following the guiding principle of Yoga Sutra 2.46, Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means the posture should be steady and comfortable, we are working with the principles of effort and ease. In this way, your yoga asana and pranayama practices will bring your physical body into symmetry and sustain your mental focus. By finding balance on your yoga mat, you can create a sense of wholeness in your life.

Holiday Season Recharge
Holiday Season Recharge
How are you feeling today? We’re still in the midst of the holiday season and if you’re like many of us, your typical routines have receded in the rearview. Don’t feel guilty if you’ve abandoned your usual healthy workout routine or eaten a few dozen frosted sugar cookies washed down with crisp champagne. Life is meant to be savored, enjoyed, and lived in the present moment. Sometimes this might be the only chance you’ve got to spend time with family, see old friends, or simply hibernate. But if you’ve abandoned your usual exercise, yoga, and diet, you may be feeling lethargic and heavier than usual. When your body feels bloated, your mind and emotions can also feel slower and foggier. To counteract these weighty tamasic sensations, see if you can carve out some time to recharge your body’s natural cleansing powers. What do you need in this moment to feel more like yourself until you return to your habitual routine?

Simple Solstice Ritual Ideas
Simple Solstice Ritual Ideas
Depending where you are in the world, you’re either in the midst of cold weather or gearing up for a hot summer. If you’re wrapping up warm and finding the days growing darker, the winter solstice is arriving, whereas if you’re in warmer climates, the opposite is true, and the summer solstice is growing near. The shortest and longest days of the year retrospectively, the solstice is a time to think inwards, reflect, and set intentions for the season ahead. Symbolically this is a turning point in the seasons and a powerful time to stop, reflect, and give thanks for what we each have in our lives. It's also a momentary step back from our day to day successes and trials, and remember and feel our place in the bigger picture and the cosmos. It is a powerful time to honor the sun, which gives all things on our planet life.

5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Solstice
5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Solstice
One of the most powerful ways to manifest change in our lives is by aligning with nature and stepping into its flow. On December 21, 2019, the last Solstice of the decade occurs. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the longest night of the year and wherever you live, this momentous day marks the time to pause and reflect and renew our energy. While the world is shifts and transforms, it’s the perfect time to assess how you want to shift and transform individually. Here are 3 ways to harness the power of nature in your own life: 1. Go Outside!

Relaxing Restorative Yoga at Home: 5-Class Series
Relaxing Restorative Yoga at Home: 5-Class Series
Restorative yoga is the key to your holiday survival guide. No matter where you live in the world and no matter which holidays you celebrate, it’s the time of year where your regular routine can get tossed out the window. Some of us are spending more time with family, or perhaps spending more time alone, indulging in food and drink we usually wouldn’t consume, and generally caught up in the busy-ness of the season. Whether you’re overjoyed to take time off from work and hang out with extended family and friends or you dread every moment, we’re here to help provide some balance. This week’s Restorative Yoga Package is here to give you an escape. Of course, if you already practice Restorative yoga on a regular basis, you’re aware of the myriad of physical, emotional, and mental benefits of a slower, quieter class. Restorative yoga is helpful to balance your nervous system and quiet your mind. Many of us enjoy vigorous Vinyasa style yoga and use it to balance stress and burn off energy.

It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress
It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress
We’ve all been burned out and exhausted and not sure how to cope at some point in our lives. Whether it is looming deadlines, emotional demands, climate change, political battles, family drama––the result is the same. Sometimes juggling all the challenges and all the wonderful gifts in our lives can feel overwhelming and we’re not sure how to feel better. Here’s how: Yoga can help lower your stress levels and your blood pressure because it’s an excellent practice to calm your nervous system. By combining physical asanas or postures with Pranayama or controlled breathing techniques, yoga can have a profound impact on your nervous system. When we are stressed out, our adrenal glands are working overtime and we’re often in a state of “fight or flight,” which doesn’t allow for adequate rest and recovery. Over time, if we fall into this type of pattern of constantly being in heightened over-active mode, our bodies and minds begin to suffer. As you’ve heard over and over, yoga offers a three-pronged approach to improving your life: physical, mental, and spiritual. While taking your usual sweaty Vinyasa or Power class will definitely impact your mind and heart, sometimes slowing down a bit and taking a more mellow class can give you more of the mental stress relief you’re craving. Our parasympathetic nervous system is designed to soothe and lower our stress levels. Certain styles of yoga, like Yin and Restorative, emphasize postures that can reset your nervous system in minutes. Gentle Hatha classes also focus more on unwinding and relaxing you. Of course, you’re releasing tightness and tension from your muscles, but you’re also soothing your brain.

Sharpen Your Edge at Work with a 2-Week Lunch Break Yoga Challenge
Sharpen Your Edge at Work with a 2-Week Lunch Break Yoga Challenge
We’ve got an invigorating new yoga program designed to fit in during your lunch hour. This collection of 10 short, dynamic classes will give you the structure to stay consistent in your practice. Here are 3 reasons why you should take the challenge to not just improve your strength and flexibility, but also achieve peak performance at work. 1. Improve your mental focus and clarity all day: After a busy morning working or studying, your brain can feel foggy and dull. When you’ve got another several hours at work, you need to reset and find a way to hone your focus and be productive. By shifting your attention to breathing and moving on your yoga mat, you give your busy mind time to rest and settle. Even a short class will provide you the opportunity to feel refreshed. You’ll return to your project with increased clarity and focus and maybe even finish up early!

Be Fearless
Be Fearless
What scares you? For some people, it’s heights or public speaking or spiders. Halloween celebrates thrills, chills, and things that go bump in the night. While Halloween tends to be a fun holiday defined by disguising our true identity with make-up and costumes, it echoes how many of us deal with our fears the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year - hiding behind a mask. Yoga provides a safe space for us to examine our fears and offers tools to become more courageous. The Yoga Sutras state that the fear of death is the biggest fear we face and is the basis for all other fears. In the second pada, Patanjali refers to this concept as abhinivesha. Learning to live in the present moment is a powerful way to stop worrying and being scared of the future. Fear can only exist in relation to what you anticipate happening. Fear doesn’t exist when you are in the moment. Every minute of your day is an opportunity to move from a place of courage or from a position of fear.

Arm Balances as the Fountain of Youth
Arm Balances as the Fountain of Youth
Need to make a major shift in your perspective or boost your confidence? We’ve got you covered this week with poses designed to help you feel strong, focused, and humble. Whether you love to balance on your hands and take flight or if you fear falling on your face, this week we’ve got four classes for you to get engaged and turn your world upside down. These practices are empowering and invigorating. Regardless of how you feel about inversions, these postures are excellent for your circulation, mental focus, and overall mood. It’s helpful to use your full yoga practice to keep your spine flexible, your hips open, your core and upper body strong, and your attitude positive. You may have heard yoga called the Fountain of Youth, and often going upside down is what helps keep your skin glowing with the boost of fresh blood from the heart to the head.

Practice Yoga with Love
Practice Yoga with Love
One of yoga’s most beautiful benefits is how it can shift your emotions in a pure, positive way. Even if you come to the practice for other reasons, your emotional makeup will transform, whether you’re trying to or not! Our subtle body, which is a blueprint of our physical body, contains our emotional energy. Through targeted practice, we can enhance how we feel. The subtle body contains the chakras or emotional energy centers. In order to feel more loving, we want to make sure our energy is balanced from the base of our spine or Muladhara (Root) Chakra to our Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra. In order to tap into your own heart and open to more love in your life, you’ve got to be willing to release fear. Yoga practices that create more space in the Anahata (Heart) Chakra will create space in your physical body to experience joy and love. The Anahata Chakra contains the essence of compassion and selflessness and symbolizes when we rise above our egos to care more for others than ourselves. Anahata is associated with the element of air, the color green, the sense of touch, and the thymus gland.

Power Yoga: Everything You Need To Know
Power Yoga: Everything You Need To Know
If you’ve never tried this invigorating and fast-paced practice of power yoga, you might be wondering what it’s all about. Here’s our rundown on what power yoga is, where it came from, and how it might improve your health! What is Power Yoga Power Yoga - it sounds daunting, but what actually is it? Power yoga is a sequence of postures that are specially designed to build on strength, stamina and flexibility, all while being fast moving. Power Yoga is derived from the Ashtanga yoga tradition, which can be equally as physically demanding, but works through building heath in your body, and moving through the vinyasa sequences in a fast paced way. Unlike Ashtanga, power yoga practice doesn’t have a set sequence of postures, and any class can be different from the next. However, it will usually start with Sun Salutation poses, to build heat within your body, and will often feature a strong focus on yoga poses that will build up strength and get your heart pounding and body sweating - power yoga can be a full on cardio workout!

5 Reasons to Practice Power Yoga
5 Reasons to Practice Power Yoga
​Are you ready to feel empowered, strong, and challenged this week? Power Yoga is a sweaty Vinyasa flow class with increased intensity, usually through a faster pace or an emphasis on strength. Or both! While Power Yoga does focus more on the physical body than some more spiritual classes, you’ll still gain all the emotional and mental benefits too. Here are 5 reasons you should try these invigorating Power Yoga classes this week. 5 REASONS TO PRACTICE POWER YOGA 1. Build Stronger Muscles, Bones, and Joints

5 Reasons to Add Pilates to Your Routine Today
5 Reasons to Add Pilates to Your Routine Today
We’re excited to share a unique new program, which is the perfect fusion of Pilates and yoga, from Claire Petretti Marti. While Pilates and yoga have some similarities, in practice, they are quite different. The fusion of these two practices offers unparalleled benefits for your body, mind, and spirit. The two modalities complement each other and adding Pilates to your current routine can help you take your yoga practice to the next level. What is Pilates? Pilates is an exercise method created by Joseph Pilates and documented in his 1945 book, Pilates Return to Life Through Contrology. In Pilates, the core is called the Powerhouse and the emphasis is on strengthening the deep abdominals, the obliques, and the back in order to create a resilient support system to protect the spine. Joseph Pilates believed that age isn’t gauged by years, but by the suppleness of the spine.

Yoga for Focus & Motivation
Yoga for Focus & Motivation
​After a great yoga practice, you’ve probably experienced how your mind feels more clear, calm, and balanced. Many practitioners find the mental benefits of yoga to be the most important, even more than a strong, supple body. Who doesn’t want to be focused, motivated, and able to experience life to the fullest? This week’s classes will release stress and boost your ability to focus and motivate yourself. Interested in why and how yoga does this? Step back about 5,000 years and tap into the wisdom of the Yoga Sutras. Yoga Sutra 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodhah is often translated as: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. This skill is difficult, takes constant practice over time, but can be achieved! Patanjali outlines a practical how-to manual to reach a state of yoga: the eight-limbed yoga path. The eight limbs are:

Yoga Quickies for Busy People
Yoga Quickies for Busy People
Leading a full life is a blessing. Leading a life where you feel you don’t have time to take care of your own well-being is a problem. In order to live your best life, you must carve out time to refill your own well. Balance is key to achieving a joyous fulfilling life. We’re here to help you with four quick powerful classes so you don’t sacrifice your yoga practice! We know you’re busy, so we’ll keep this short. Here are three tips to keep your yoga practice on track, no matter what other commitments you are managing in your life. 1. Schedule your yoga time in your planner: When you write down what yoga class you’re going to take in your calendar, it’s part of your daily schedule. You don’t need to waste time pondering if you have time. You do have time––written out clearly in black and white. 2. Remind yourself of how you’ll feel, even with a short time commitment: You’ll feel stronger, more flexible, more relaxed, and also more energetic. Your sleep will deepen, and your posture will improve. The mental benefits of a quick yoga practice are incredible: you can return to your work day with heightened concentration and a clear mind. 3. Practice first thing in the morning: Prioritize your personal yoga practice and do it first, maybe even before your morning coffee or tea. Set your alarm for twenty minutes earlier than usual if necessary. Unexpected events often arise once your day gets going and can steal your scheduled yoga time. If you take care of yourself first, you’ll be better equipped to handle your day, no matter how busy it is! Have a wonderful week!

Permission to Chill: 5 Benefits of Yoga to Relax and Recharge
Permission to Chill: 5 Benefits of Yoga to Relax and Recharge
How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I’m too busy to…fill in the blank?” Once a week? Once a day? Once an hour? We all want to live a full, beautiful life, but cultivating a balance between action and relaxation is essential. This week, how about adding in a quieter type of yoga to your repertoire? Consider these 5 benefits of taking the time to chill out: 1. Pacify Your Nervous System Slowing down and settling into a relaxing, restorative pose encourages you to step away from stress. For example, in a supported Vipariti Karani (Legs up the wall pose), your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and calms your stress levels quickly. If you’ve had a tough day, restorative yoga is a way to reset. Soothing your nervous system helps keep your body and mind healthy.

21-Day Yoga Challenge: Time to Shine!
21-Day Yoga Challenge: Time to Shine!
Commit to 21 days and learn to live for today. Often when we create intentions, we focus on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When we focus primarily on the prize instead of the steps to achieve it, we are living for the future. One of the most important principles in yoga is learning to be in the now. Committing to our 21-day yoga challenge can help you embody living in the present moment. If you overthink how you’re going to squeeze in 21 consecutive days of yoga, you might quit before you begin. You’ve got family and work and workouts and commitments, right? Why add something else to your overflowing plate? Simple: By choosing to practice yoga every single day for three weeks, you are opening yourself to being fully present in your body, your mind, and your heart.

Live Like Royalty: Yoga for The Crown Chakra
Live Like Royalty: Yoga for The Crown Chakra
Ever need a reminder that life isn’t just our individual experience and we are all part of something bigger? In yoga philosophy, the Sahasrara or Crown Chakra is the seat of pure consciousness and where we connect with the Universe. In order to stimulate and maximize your personal connection with the world around you, learn more about how to tune into your subtle body and chakras. The chakras, including the Crown Chakra, are part of our subtle body. All of us are made up of three bodies: the gross or physical body called the Stula Sharira, the subtle body or the Sukshma Sharira, and the causal body or the Karana Sharira. The physical body is our muscles and skeleton––what we can see with the naked eye. It forms the Annamaya Kosha, the coarsest of the five sheaths. What concerns us most in yoga is our subtle body, which is a blueprint of the physical body and contains the chakra system. A simple analogy to conceptualize the subtle body is that what electricity is to a machine, the subtle body is to the physical body.

9-Day Ashtanga Yoga Immersion
9-Day Ashtanga Yoga Immersion
“Do your Practice and All is Coming”- Sri K Pattabhi Jois. If you love Vinyasa yoga and have wondered how it evolved, spend some time with us this week on an Ashtanga immersion and learn the foundation from which Vinyasa in the West is derived. Tap into the ancient wisdom and traditional practice of Ashtanga yoga, brought to the West by K. Pattabhi Jois, who is considered the Father of Ashtanga yoga. Ashtanga is a sweaty, vigorous yoga system based on the eight-limbed yoga path outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Jois developed the Ashtanga yoga system when he was a student of T. Krishnamacharya at the College of Maharaja in Mysore, India in the early twentieth century. Traditionally, Ashtanga is taught in the Mysore style, which means students practice in the same room, at their own pace, with individual guidance from the instructor. Kind of like you, practicing yoga at home with YogaDownload.com.

Feel the Connection Between Nature and Yoga
Feel the Connection Between Nature and Yoga
One of the greatest ways to feel connected to the world inside of you and the world around you is to step into nature. When you spend too much time indoors or with your nose buried in your phone or computer screen, it’s easy to lose touch with how you’re feeling. Where yoga teaches us to use mindful breath and movement to tune out distractions and to tune into the present moment, stepping out into nature allows us to feel connected simply by being. Taking your yoga outdoors to a park or the beach, where you can breathe in clean air and enjoy beautiful scenery, enhances yoga’s myriad benefits. Being in nature reminds us that we are connected to something greater than ourselves.

Yoga for Seniors: 10 Gentle Classes for Everyday Wellness
Yoga for Seniors: 10 Gentle Classes for Everyday Wellness
Whether you began practicing yoga yesterday or thirty years ago, your practice will evolve and change, just like your daily life transforms. You probably don’t enjoy coloring books and the jungle gym like you did in first grade, right? In our teens and twenties, it’s common for many people to practice sweaty yoga with a variety of physically intense asanas. As you move toward the middle and later years, it’s natural to shift to gentler, quieter types of practices. This week, we’re excited to share a program designed for the more mature yogi. In order to age as gracefully as possible, making shifts to how we show up on our yoga mat ideally would mirror the transitions in our professional and personal lives. Different concerns arise with each stage of life and yoga can play a major role. If you’re already a yogi, you know how eating well, moving your body mindfully, and breathing purposefully enables you to feel your best. Even if you’ve always been active and taken care of yourself, aging happens. Diseases, injuries, and degeneration of the mind are realities.

Keep On Moving!
Keep On Moving!
Here’s a mini-quiz for you: In one to three words, how do you feel after sitting for six hours either in an office, plane, car or even after an extended Netflix binge? Now, how do you feel after a long walk in nature, a sweaty juicy yoga class, or your movement of choice? If you responded to the sedentary day with words like stiff, cranky, negative, or anxious, you’re not alone. And if you responded invigorated, happy, positive, or calm to activity, you’ve described how much lifestyle impacts your well-being. Your level of physical activity profoundly impacts your emotions and thoughts. We all experience periods where we aren’t exercising or practicing yoga as frequently as we would like. Sometimes it’s because of injury or illness, but sometimes we fall into a rut and stop moving our bodies enough. And when that’s the case, we often feel heavy, lethargic, fuzzy, and unhappy. According to numerous academic and psychological studies, a sedentary lifestyle negatively impacts your ability to maintain optimal health.

Yoga for Legs: Create a Powerful Foundation & Get Strong from the Ground Up!
Yoga for Legs: Create a Powerful Foundation & Get Strong from the Ground Up!
In yoga practice, as in life, it’s vital to create a healthy foundation if you want to be strong. Without a fortified and solid base, it’s impossible to progress to higher levels. Consider if a skyscraper or even a two-story building is built without properly preparing the soil beneath it: any shift in the earth, excess of rain, or other changes can cause the structure to collapse. Just like an architect plans a safe, strong building that will withstand the test of time, yogis need to create strong bodies, resistant to injury, from the ground up. A good yoga instructor will teach standing yoga poses beginning with the position of the feet and legs. Without the feet in proper alignment, the knees can be stressed, the pelvis misaligned and the spine compromised. Standing poses are excellent for creating strong flexible legs and creating the proper balance of stability and mobility in the hips and pelvis.