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


Understanding the Pelvic Floor: What No One Tells You About Kegels
Understanding the Pelvic Floor: What No One Tells You About Kegels
I want you to come on a journey with me. Let’s travel to a yoga class, one in which you’re in your flow, landed in your body and breath, inseparable from your intention. Ready for that next exhale to move deeper into your practice, you hear: “exhale, contract your pelvic floor.” What do you do? Do you scratch your head? Look up at the ceiling and squeeze the living bejesus down there? Does a circus of interrupting thoughts arrive? Like, “How?” “What the hell is that?” “Am I doing it right?” Maybe you’ve actually been here before. I have. And as a pelvic floor specialist, I wanted to facepalm. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had women come into my office after reading they should do 100 kegels a day with their kegel weights, arriving with new symptoms of pelvic pain, urgency, and even incontinence. Many women are completely unaware that they already hold tension in these muscles.

Yoga to Make You Braver
Yoga to Make You Braver
What does courage mean to you? The root of the word courage comes from the French word coeur, which means heart. In yogic circles, it is often stated that courage comes from the heart, which contains two dual emotions: love and fear. Being brave doesn’t mean an absence of fear, it means choosing to do what feels right despite feeling afraid. Bravery stems from understanding your truths and trusting yourself to do the right thing. When we are in harmonious times, it’s easy to express our beliefs and our truth. Many of us yogis surround ourselves with like-minded people seeking to live life on a higher vibration. We choose to focus on the positive and live from a place of compassion and love. Practicing these principles on the yoga mat strengthens our resolve to practice them off the mat.

Eggplant and Lentil Empanadas
Eggplant and Lentil Empanadas
This version of empanadas is very far from traditional, that are usually deep-fried and often filled with all kinds of meat and cheeses. I typically try to keep my recipes on a healthier side, and I did the same with these little pies that are baked in the oven, and only two tablespoons of oil are used for the whole batch. Also, I chose eggplant and lentils for the filling as I had some cooked lentils leftover from the day before, and the eggplant was already looking a little bit tired. I am always very mindful of food waste and try to avoid throwing away anything. Now that going out, even for groceries, is limited, it is an extra challenge as I try to order food only every two weeks, and it is quite challenging to predict what I would like to eat in 10 days. I take it as a positive challenge and imagine myself in a cooking competition where I am given random ingredients and have to come up with a delicious meal!

10 Easy Tips to Enjoy & Practice Mindful Eating
10 Easy Tips to Enjoy & Practice Mindful Eating
Eating is a part of one's routine for essentially every human. It is a pleasurable event to many, to the extent that many take in more than what's needed by the body during meal times. The goal is not only to satisfy hunger but also to stay healthy. However, this is often a considerable challenge to many, thanks to the abundance of food and a diet-oriented culture. Most people practice mindless eating, rather than being mindful of how they consume food. What if instead, eating food, was among the most spectacular moments of your day, when you are absorbed in the present moment and enjoying yourself, free of worry or anxiety. A time when you can both enjoy food, and give your mind a rest simeltaneoulsy. That is mindful eating.

Ways Yoga Helps Your Mental Health
Ways Yoga Helps Your Mental Health
Yoga has been proven to have benefits to your mental health, and a wealth of research has gone into how practicing yoga can improve the lives of those with mental health conditions. The results are staggeringly positive, proving that yoga can help with many common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, as well as others. There is now one in every four people affected by mental health disorders, so more and more people are looking for effective ways to help protect and restore mental health. Yoga is becoming more and more accepted as a way to manage mental health conditions. It’s already used to reduce stress, improve flexibility and promote a more ‘zen’ state of mind. However, more people are digging deep to understand the therapeutic benefits of yoga on mental health. These findings are also backed up by studies which show that yoga practice can change the structure and function of your brain, proving that yoga can improve your emotional health in a neurological way. Here are some of the ways yoga can support your mental health.

Yoga for Mental Health Wellness
Yoga for Mental Health Wellness
Yoga is an incredible tool for our health––physical, emotional, and mental. Yoga can help manage anger, anxiety, depression, and other common psychological conditions many of us experience. This week, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the tangible ways yoga can not just open up your hips, but also positively impact your mental health. Let’s start with exploring that intangible feeling you experience after yoga––calm, clear, energized, and happy. How does mindful breath and purposeful movement translate into a major adjustment in your mind? One of the primary reasons is because deliberate movement and breathing patterns affect your nervous system in a positive manner. Yoga helps us shift from fight or flight or a reactive state to rest and digest, a receptive state of being. When we are reacting from a place of fear, anger, or anxiety, we are operating from our fight or flight response––shallow breathing, accelerated heart rate, and stress. When our autonomic nervous system is out of balance, we have a difficult time managing our emotions. Ever over-reacted and lashed out at a loved one or a stranger for no apparent reason? Ever noticed that response doesn’t happen after a satisfying yoga practice?

Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
Chocolate Black Bean Brownies
I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like chocolate. If you are anything like me, then you will love this brownie. It is rather healthy compared to regular brownies containing a fair amount of protein and fiber, is gluten-free and vegan, but does not taste like a cake that is supposed to be healthy. I would even say it tastes even better than a regular brownie, but of course, the proof is in the pudding, so try it out and suit yourself! I am not keen on cleaning up, so a massive bonus for me is that in addition to a baking tray, I only need a blender and spatula for this recipe. No bowls, no bain-marie to melt the chocolate or butter, nothing. Just blend and bake – simple! I know that some of you will have prejudice about this recipe even only looking at the ingredients – beans in dessert do sound weird, but I promise it works! I have brought these brownies to my yoga students as after class treat and other events, and not once have beans been suggested as an ingredient, so I guarantee you will not even taste them.

Infographic: Is Yoga Good for Back Pain?
Infographic: Is Yoga Good for Back Pain?
If you suffer from back pain, or have an any point in your life, you are not alone. Back pain affects many people. Fortunately, for most, you are not a helpless victim to your back pain. There are things you can do every day to help relieve actuve back pain, and also heal and prevent future back pain. Yoga creates long-lasting relief from back pain. Science is continually backing this up. Here is why, explained in this easy to understand infographic, created by Dan Singleton, a survivor of back pain, and founder of Back on Site.

Anxious? 6 Real Ways Meditation Helps Calm Anxiety
Anxious? 6 Real Ways Meditation Helps Calm Anxiety
If anxiety gets the best of you, you are not alone. Last year, there were nearly 300 million people reported worldwide that suffer from anxiety, making it the top mental health disorder in the world. Here are 6 reasons why you can help yourself become a more calm and confident through meditation, and let go of anxiety's grip on you.

Power & Perseverance 2-Week Yoga Challenge
Power & Perseverance 2-Week Yoga Challenge
"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."— Mahatma Gandhi One of the best ways to recognize an advanced yogi is by observing their behavior. We’re not referring to gasping in awe when someone wraps her leg around her head or effortlessly floats up into a sustained handstand. Instead, you can judge a yogi by the consistency of their practice on the mat and their actions throughout the rest of the day off the mat. Practice and perseverance are two vital qualities needed to sustain your yoga practice over time. Especially in these uncertain times, when the external world feels different for all of us, we need to dig deep into our own inner strength and willpower. We’re here to support you in your yoga practice, no matter what stage of your practice you’re in today. Perseverance equals power!

Warm Quinoa and Eggplant Salad
Warm Quinoa and Eggplant Salad
It is spring in Estonia, and nature is slowly waking up again. We had a little setback this morning as it started to snow, but now the sun is back out, and I am always happy to see the sun. Beautiful weather or not, thanks to the virus, we are sadly still required to stay indoors. Luckily, I have a big terrace, and last week I cleaned up my little rooftop garden, so it is all ready to plant carrots and herbs and zucchini as soon as it gets a bit warmer. I was even lucky enough to find that my strawberries, mint, and parsley have survived the winter, so I could already pick some leaves for this salad too! Brighter weather means that my dishes also turn a little lighter, and this salad is an excellent transfer from colder weather to summer as it is light but warm and quite substantial. The recipe is simple and foolproof, but when working with eggplant, it is always essential to work fast brushing it with oil. It has a superpower to absorb absurd amounts of oil. Another important tip is always to make sure that eggplant is fully cooked – it should be creamy inside. It is one of few vegetables that does not win from being al dente at all.

8 Delicious Foods that Reduce Belly Fat
8 Delicious Foods that Reduce Belly Fat
Belly fat is very tough to battle with. Most of the time, this is one of the most stubborn parts of the body that retains and stores fat, which makes it difficult to manage. If you are trying to lose weight, and you notice that you are not shedding fat from your belly or abdominal area, then you may want to check on your food consumption. As it happens, there are certain foods that will surely help you with this kind of concern. Eating these delicious foods will not only help you lose belly fat, but it will also help you improve your overall diet too. 1. Fruits

The Magical Benefits of Yoga Mudras
The Magical Benefits of Yoga Mudras
Yoga mudras are emotional, devotional, and psychic gestures, usually done with the hands. While seemingly simple, these gestures help your body in restore it's physical, mental, and spiritual health. These benefits can be accessed by using yoga mudras on their own, or while performing yoga asanas (poses). Here is everything you need to know about what yoga mudras are, what they symbolize, and why they are powerful. Mudra comes from the combination of two words: “Mud” and “Dravay”. “Mud” means pleasure, and "Dravay” means to draw forth. Mudras can also mean 'to seal'. Thus, performing mudras is like creating a closed circuitry within the body. Mudras are simple hand gestures of arranging and touching fingertips in specific ways, to stimulate different parts of your brain and body. Mudras alter the flow of energy in your body and mind, and tap into energy on an astral level.

Yummy Yoga Flow Challenge with Claire
Yummy Yoga Flow Challenge with Claire
You can find santosha and cultivate contentment through yoga. Does your happiness depend upon what is occurring around you or does your sense of joy and serenity arise from within? According to Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga, we can learn to cultivate contentment from the inside out. Santosha, the second Niyama or moral observance, means contentment. Like everything in yoga, the concept sounds simple, but the implementation takes discipline, desire, and focus. With a dedicated practice, we can shift our perspective and learn not to be constantly derailed by what’s happening around us. When we are living in the midst of a global crisis, you might wonder how in the heck to feel content or happy. You aren’t alone. We’re all in this together.

Vanilla Cherry Raw Truffles
Vanilla Cherry Raw Truffles
Happy Mother’s Day from the Conscious Cleanse! Since many of us are still staying at home, we may not all be able to celebrate in person with our moms so we wanted to share an easy recipe that makes the perfect Mother’s Day gift. As a mom of three boys (Jules) and a mom to a girl and one on the way (Jo), Mother’s Day is a very special day for us. This year we are especially introspective about what this day means to us. As the world has been turned upside down, we’re more grateful than ever for our families. We realize that health is not something we can guarantee and that the simple, everyday moments are the times we will look back on most fondly as our children grow up.

A Yogi's Guide to Surviving Anger
A Yogi's Guide to Surviving Anger
Alongside insecurity, anxiety and self-centeredness, one of my greatest emotional challenges in life has been anger. And while it was much worse in my teens and twenties, it still tests me. Even just a couple of years ago, when I was living in Hawaii, there were days when I just woke up with an unshakable and debilitating irritability and animosity towards everyone and everything, for no immediately obvious reason. And this was particularly disheartening because, at the time, I felt that I had everything for which I could ever wish; I was living where I had always dreamed of living and had a wonderful partner, all the time I desired for investing in my practices, meaningful and successful work that generated more than enough income to support our modest but very comfortable life – not to mention surfboards, paddle boards, hiking shoes, climbing gear, and the perfect environment in which to use them all, every single day. And here I was, waking up exasperated and resentful of a life that was failing to fulfill me, compounded by all the guilt and shame that resulted from judging myself for feeling this way. It was a horribly difficult time, but it did teach me at least one important lesson: anger won’t disappear at some point in the future, when external conditions are perfect.

Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day Apart
Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day Apart
We all want to celebrate Mother’s Day with our mothers, grandmothers and children. But this year, it’s not the case for many families due to the COVID-19 and social distancing measures. This might be the first time you’ll have to celebrate Mother’s Day from afar, and not spend it with your loved ones. However, there are many ways to feel close to your loved one’s this Mother’s Day, without being physically with them. This can also apply to any motherly figure in your life, even if they’re not your biological mother. There are so many ways to celebrate and show your mother appreciation without being in the same place. From planning a virtual party or surprise for your mother, to sending a thoughtful gift to show your love, there are so many easy ways to do these things. Now we live in an online era, you can be miles away and still be able to show your love to your mother. Host A Video Call Lunch

Yoga to Practice with Family & Friends
Yoga to Practice with Family & Friends
“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” - Harriet Goldhor Lerner Every day is a perfect one to foster your connections with the world around you. Many places in the world, including the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Germany, celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th––we know our community of yogis in the UK celebrate in March, but why not celebrate again? It’s a great way to show appreciation and love for your mother or anyone that is a source of support in your life. Practicing yoga together is a wonderful way to spend time with loved ones, whether it is in honor of Mother’s Day or just any given Sunday. Yoga is centered on creating connection or union––with yourself, with others, and with the universe around us.

La Paloma Rosa
La Paloma Rosa
We’re in 80:20 mode! Who’s ready for a refreshing and delicious drink?! Be sure to check out La Paloma Rosa recipe below. Known as one of Mexico’s most popular cocktails, La Paloma is a perfect combination of sweet and tart with grapefruit, lime, and a pinch of salt. We’ve given this a Conscious Cleanse 80:20 spin by adding one of our favorite sugar-free sweeteners, Lakanto, plus a touch of mint.

Finding Santosha: How to be Content Right Now!
Finding Santosha: How to be Content Right Now!
As I sit here and think about this blog post, I can hear in the back of my head, "I will finally be happy when this post is written." Here I am placing conditions on my happiness and I know that I am not just doing it here, but I am guilty of it in many other area of my life. Thinking about this thought, I ask myself, “am I really going to be happy and content long term when this blog post is written? Or will I be seeking the next goal to place my conditions of contentment on?” Conditions on contentment was never something that I ever gave much thought to, I just assumed that they came with the process of being content, however, fleeting it may have been. However, true contentment does not lie in reaching the destination, but rather in enjoying the process. Something that I would come to learn through my personal yoga practice and the trials and errors of seeking lasting contentment.

Yoga for a Healthy Back
Yoga for a Healthy Back
The question isn’t whether you’ve experienced back pain, but whether you are one of the lucky ones who haven’t. Millions of people around the world suffer from aches and injuries to their backs on a regular basis. The good news is that yoga helps with more than the muscles and ligaments, which may be strained, sprained, or simply unbalanced. Often, the root of the pain is grounded in emotional or mental issues and yoga addresses the physical, emotional, and mental causes When you are hurting, ranging from a mild inconvenience to complete incapacitation, it is important to distinguish between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute back pain is intense and lasts from a few days to several weeks. It’s generally due to a fall, lifting a heavy object improperly, a car accident, and resolves within six to eight weeks. During this stage, rest and apply heat and ice to ease inflammation until you are ready to perform gentle exercise. Walking is an excellent option. Chronic pain lasts longer than three months and is more complicated. Yoga can provide temporary and potentially permanent relief. Our mind and body work together and cannot be separated. Only yoga restores harmony on every level. Physically, in addition to stretching and strengthening the spine, yoga helps you:

Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins
Sweet Potato Pecan Muffins
We’ve been seeing lots of people using this time at home to bake, so we knew it would be the perfect time to share this awesome recipe from one of our amazing cleanse community members – Susan of Nourish & Charm! Susan is a long-time cleanser and also one of our good friends! She runs an amazing blog where she posts healthy recipes and entertaining tips (she is a fabulous host!). So when (eventually!) you’ll be able to entertain friends and family again, make sure to check out her tips for hosting on her blog. These muffins are the perfect, easy home-baking project. They’re free from most common allergens, plus they’ll make your house smell like cinnamon spice and everything nice.

Energetic Maintenance Techniques During COVID-19
Energetic Maintenance Techniques During COVID-19
I am 100% on board with respecting and adhering to the CDC, WHO, and NIAID’s suggestions for staying home, maintaining social distancing, wearing masks in public, and washing hands. I am choosing to abide by the suggestions made by my governor as well as all of the medical professionals offering guidance, but as a psychic and energy worker, I will admit that I even take it a step further. I have found there are ways I can actually work the energy of my body and its energetic field to improve my feelings of safety, security, and well being during a time like this, and I wanted to share those methods with you. Everything is energy, everything.

The History of Earth Day
The History of Earth Day
Earth day is celebrated on the twenty second of April each year, and has become the largest non-religious observance around the world. Earth day had humble beginnings as a day to preserve the environment in the United States, and has now become the largest push for a cleaner and healthier planet - celebrated across the entire world. Earth Day is important to show that everyone can make a difference to the planet in a positive way. History of Earth Day During the 1970’s, the United States was experiencing a period of division, both economically and politically. During this time, the country was divided over it’s participation in the Vietnam War, and at the same time the economy was experiencing a boom. This boom however, had an adverse effect on the environment. Industries such as automobiles, chemical plants and oil were seeing huge growth, but that also went hand in hand with the production of air pollution and waste. Back then, the health of the environment wasn’t at the forefront of our minds like it is today, and many people were unaware of the damages this economical growth could have on the planet.

Earth Day: Connect with the Earth
Earth Day: Connect with the Earth
On April 22, 2020, the world unites together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This celebration of a universal commitment to protecting the earth can be embodied in the yogic concept of Ahimsa or Non-harming. Yoga practice, comprised of the earth’s elements of earth, air, fire, water, and ether, naturally honors our planet. Use Earth Day to remind yourself of your connection to it. Fifty years ago, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator, was shocked at the damage from an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event ignited a fire in him for action to protect our environment. Once people saw how smog, oil spills, rivers so polluted they burst into flames, and damage from corporate waste were destroying the earth, they joined the cause. On April 22, 1970, 10% percent of the U.S. population took to the streets in hundreds of cities to protest environmental and demand change for our planet. Earth Day is the result.