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


Watermelon Salad with Basil and Halloumi
Watermelon Salad with Basil and Halloumi
Salads have a reputation for being bland and boring. This is not how it should be because, in reality, they can be juicy, crispy, vibrant, and delicious – very far from boring. This bright watermelon salad here is a perfect example of an exciting salad. It is juicy and sweet from the watermelon, crunchy from the toasted pumpkin seeds, zingy from the lightly marinated red onions, and has enough substance to stand out as a main meal from the halloumi. In fact, I would never serve this salad as a side dish; it is way too perfect for giving it a supporting role instead of being a hero on its own. In case you wish to keep the salad fully vegan, feel free to swap out the halloumi to firm tofu, the dish might need a little more salt in this case, because tofu tends to be bland compared to salty halloumi. Watermelon Salad with Basil and Halloumi

Being a Good Listener: Why It's Both Important and Challenging
Being a Good Listener: Why It's Both Important and Challenging
Listening. It sounds so simple and yet is my hardest challenge in life. I interrupt myself, my thoughts, my actions, my progress and so yes, I interrupt others. By doing so it says to them, I don’t care or value your way. I believe my way is superior and better suited to you and your situation. This most certainly is not my intention, quite the opposite in fact. My eagerness to speak, is a direct reflection on how much I want to help, humor or praise them. However, it redirects attention, from them to me. It steals their chance to process and evolve and be present with their feelings. Let people cry, don’t tell them it will be ok and try to change the moment. Be in the moment, the rawness of the emotion and let it run it’s path. When people turn to another person, it is to be seen and heard, not necessarily to be given a solution or advice. By just being there and indulging them time to explore their emotions, you have given them the gift they want and initiated the path to healing. Silence is golden. It holds space and heals. It speaks louder than any well intentioned words and is received on a cellular level beyond that of the ears.

The Difference Between Yin Yoga & Restorative Yoga
The Difference Between Yin Yoga & Restorative Yoga
Restorative and Yin Yoga are often confused and assumed to be the same style of yoga. Some yoga studios even use the class names interchangeably. They are, in fact, different styles of yoga that employ distinct techniques and philosophical approaches. While some of the benefits of these practices are the same, the aim and methods not only differ, they are complete opposites. Why do they get confused? At first glance, they appear to be similar practices because they explore mostly poses that rest close to the ground and often use props to support the body. Like most yoga practices, both Yin and Restorative Yoga can promote relaxation and stress relief.

3-Week Absolute Beginner Yoga Program for Inflexible People
3-Week Absolute Beginner Yoga Program for Inflexible People
"Don´t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try." - Michael Jordan, one of the greatest basketball players of all time. In order to grow, we must continue to take chances and try things outside of our comfort zones. Now we’re not suggesting you need to go bungee jumping or climb Mt. Kilimanjaro tomorrow! Well, unless it’s on your bucket list. Until you attempt something new, you’ll never know how it could turn out. Yoga can appear intimidating if you’ve never tried it, but with appropriate instruction, it is actually much more accessible than you think. Maybe in the past, you’ve tried some different classes and the teacher didn’t resonate with you or you suffered an injury or illness and are hesitating to return to the mat. Or maybe you are a true newbie and are finally ready to try yoga.

2-Ingredient Vegan Ice Cream
Have you ever made ice cream at home? I have. All kinds. Since I don’t have an ice cream machine and there is definitely no more space left in my kitchen for another gadget, I have tried all kinds of different machine-free versions. I have a recipe that calls for sweetened condensed milk and heavy cream – the consistency is nice, but it is way too sweet for my liking. I have another method, which uses traditional crème anglaise and taking the mix out of the freezer every half an hour to whisk it through, but this one requires way too much effort, and I always forget to mix it at the right time and by the time I remember it has frozen solid. For at least five years now I have not experimented with any of those complicated, overly sweet and fatty ice creams, because it only takes 5 minutes to whip up this genius recipe that:

8 Reasons Why Yoga Makes You Better at Sex
8 Reasons Why Yoga Makes You Better at Sex
There are many benefits to practicing yoga regularly. Some are more obvious than others, like more flexibility, strength, and balance. However, yoga’s benefits can also extend off of the mat, and into other areas of our lives as well. For example, yoga can make you more productive and better at your job. Yoga can also increase your energy levels throughout the day. And yoga can also make you better in bed, whether you’re gay, straight, or anywhere in-between. Really? Yes really, and here’s why:

How to Pick the Right Style of Yoga for You
How to Pick the Right Style of Yoga for You
If you’re thinking of starting yoga practice, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with trying to decide which class is right for you. There are lots of different traditional yoga practices, as well as a huge variety of hybrid yoga classes, which can make trying to pick a style confusing. Here’s a quick guide to a few different types of yoga, and how to choose the right type of yoga for you. Hatha Yoga A hatha yoga class is great for beginners, who want to learn the basics of yoga. This is because the movements are slower than other types of yoga. There is more focus on alignment and deep breathing, with longer posture holds and no flow in between asanas. It’s a great place to start before trying out more advanced and fast yoga styles.

Find Your Flow
Find Your Flow
Depending upon in which hemisphere you live, you’ve either just celebrated the Summer or Winter Solstice. Long summer days characterized by sunshine and short nights or long dark nights to rest and recuperate. Wherever you are, take a moment to check-in and ask yourself if you are living your life in the flow right now. When we are in the flow or the zone, we are aligned with ourselves, with our community, and with nature. If you’re feeling in alignment, great! If you need some encouragement and support to find your optimal rhythm, we’re here to help. We’ll work together to find our flow on the yoga mat so we can take our renewed sense of connection off the mat for the rest of the day. Vinyasa flow yoga is an excellent way to create strength, balance, flexibility, and connection.

Chilled Cucumber Dill Soup
Chilled Cucumber Dill Soup
Summer is here in Colorado, and as we’re heading into week 1 of our June Group Cleanse, we’re looking for quick, veggie-based meals that don’t heat up the house. When the temperature rises, we reach for refreshing, water-rich summer veggies like cucumbers, and this is the perfect recipe! This soup is the ideal meal for a hot summer day. The avocado adds a creamy texture and the cucumber, lemon, and dill make the flavor light and refreshing. Pair it with a massaged kale salad and grilled chicken or salmon, top with hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds to make it a meal – or just enjoy it as is as a snack or a lighter lunch/dinner!

Best Yoga & Strength Training Exercises to Keep Every Senior Healthy
Best Yoga & Strength Training Exercises  to Keep Every Senior Healthy
It’s important that seniors do all that they can to stay in shape and optimal health. In order to get the best quality out of life, it's ideal seniors make it a point to preserve their overall health and wellness; and in order to do that, they should work out at least 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes a day. Though some seniors want to workout, they don’t know how or have not found the right workouts they enjoy, for their body. If this sounds like you, or you simply are a senior that is looking for something new, try some of the following workouts. These four easy workouts that every senior should incorporate into his or her life to improving the quality and longevity of it. What are the Best Workouts for Seniors?

10 Herbal Teas and Their Powerful Health Benefits
10 Herbal Teas and Their Powerful Health Benefits
Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages around the world. The history of tea dates back to 5000 years, and it now has more than 3,000 different variations. While most of us drink tea to enjoy its flavor, it was initially grown and consumed for medicinal properties. In this article, you will learn about some of the best teas to improve health. Not all these teas are true teas. Black tea, green tea, and oolong tea are brewed from the Camellia sinensis plant's leaves and are true teas. Herbal teas like jasmine tea, rooibos tea, and hibiscus tea are made from dried fruits and flowers of these plants, and are a unique form of tea. 1. Green tea

A Strong Core is the Secret to Personal Power
A Strong Core is the Secret to Personal Power
Are you ready to tap into your superpowers and dedicate time and energy to creating a strong center? Sure, a toned belly, healthy spine, and looking good without a shirt are tangible physical benefits of intelligent core training. But the true benefits of strengthening your center run much deeper than mere aesthetics. Learning to cultivate your personal power located in your Manipura (Navel) Chakra will aid you in burning through layers of insecurity and help you build a true sense of your authentic self. Yoga is an excellent path to access your “inner fire,” and step into your greatest sense of self. Through asana, pranayama, and mantra meditation, you can ignite your self-confidence, self-discipline, and willpower. Kind of like firing up your superpowers! Sound good?

Plant-Based Protein Shake (2 Flavors!)
Plant-Based Protein Shake (2 Flavors!)
When embarking on a new fitness regimen (like our upcoming June 3 Group Cleanse plus Daily Workouts), you may look for a way to supplement your protein intake. Though we generally believe that most of our nutrients should come from the whole foods we eat, we understand that when you’re exercising more frequently, you might need to find ways to add more protein to your diet. When paired with regular exercise, a protein supplement can help reduce soreness after working out and aid in quicker muscle recovery.

6 Gift Ideas to Give to a Yoga Lover
6 Gift Ideas to Give to a Yoga Lover
If you have a friend or family member that loves yoga then buying them a yoga-related gift the next time their birthday comes around is a really nice idea. You getting them something they’ll enjoy and find useful, it’s also a gift that will encourage them to keep up their practice. Because practicing yoga is proven to be extremely good for you physically as it can improve your flexibility, strength, posture, muscle tone, and range of motion. And the controlled breathing, mindful movements, and spiritual aspects of yoga mean it’s great for your mental and emotional health too. Yoga can calm your busy mind, relieve stress, improve your mood, help you to sleep better afterwards, and give you a sense of overall well-being. So, giving a gift that helps someone with their yoga practice can also contribute to keeping them healthy in all areas of their life. However, it can be hard to know what to get if you don’t have experience of practicing yoga yourself!

3 Reasons to Focus on Your Neck, Back, & Shoulders in Yoga
3 Reasons to Focus on Your Neck, Back, & Shoulders in Yoga
Have you ever received upsetting news and immediately your jaw, shoulders, and neck grow rigid? Were you aware that yogis and psychologists agree that unprocessed emotions become trapped in your physical body? In our current time, many of us are having to navigate an intense collective experience, as well as how everything occurring is impacting every aspect of our own personal lives. Our yoga practice is a tool to alleviate stress and tension and fortify us emotionally, mentally, and physically. This week, join us as we explore some yoga classes designed to not just make you strong enough to handstand like a master but to soften the knots in your neck and the pain in your back.

Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter
We've taken time this past week to process, think, listen, learn, and formulate a plan to take definitive action in regards to the #blacklivesmatter movement. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We always have, and always will, stand in solidarity, side-by-side, with our black brothers and sisters, and vehemently fight against racism in any shape or form. We absolutely will not tolerate it.

Delicious Dill Pesto
Delicious Dill Pesto
I don’t know how it is in your part of the world, but in Estonia pesto and all things basil is rather expensive. I do grow basil in my little balcony garden, but making pesto requires loads of it. It has happened several times that I have the biggest bunch of basil you can imagine. So obviously pesto is on the menu, but once I start making it, I realize very soon that a lot of basil still translates into only a little jar of pesto. And talking about pesto, the small jar is not enough. Never. The only reasonable quantity for pesto is a lot. So, I have been playing around with other herbs and greens that grow better in this, rather cold, part of the world. Actually, all greens mixed with some sort of nuts or seeds, oil, and cheese are good. I have never prepared pesto I didn’t like in my life, but today I am sharing one of my favorites – dill pesto! Dill loves the Estonian climate, and all the gardens are full of it. Estonians like to add it everywhere, so I figured I try to use it in pesto too. And it worked amazingly! In fact, I think I need to take a break right now and whizz up a batch :) Talking about amounts, I did not give you precise quantities this time. Just add your bunch of dill on a scale – this is your one part and work from there. Salt and lemon should be added by taste anyway, but don’t add too much at one time. Start with only a little - you can always add more later on.

4 Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids About Mindfulness
4 Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids About Mindfulness
In these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to be a positive and guiding force in our children's lives. Many of us are stressed, and worrying about our families' health, and the health of the world in general. This stress can often transfer to our kids, and in doing so negatively affect their well-being. Mindfulness & meditation is one way in which we can positively influence our children’s outlook on life. It can help to relieve anxieties by encouraging us to live in the present. It can help to increase happiness by forcing us to focus on all that we are grateful for. Mindfulness practices are not just for adults. Here are some simple things you can do to bring more mindfulness to the lives of your children:

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.