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


5-Day Empowerment Flow Program: A Self-Confidence Overhaul with Jackie Casal Mahrou
5-Day Empowerment Flow Program: A Self-Confidence Overhaul with Jackie Casal Mahrou
Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. Well, close your eyes after you read this article, of course. Take a hard look at your life. Would you say you are living your life to its fullest potential and operating from your highest self? If not, are you ready to make a true personal breakthrough? We’re here to help with a new program from beloved YogaDownload.com teacher, Jackie Casal Mahrou: 5-Day Empowerment Flow Series. First, consider whether you are tapping into your well of inner strength, listening to your inner voice, and expressing your authentic self. Or have external events and global challenges dimmed your radiance? Bouncing back after unforeseen challenges rock your world isn’t always easy. Don’t forget your power exists inside of you. Resilience is the ability to stay strong through times of adversity; to prevent obstacles from destroying your spirit, and to continue to forge your path.

5-Minute Cooling Cucumber Soup
5-Minute Cooling Cucumber Soup
I challenge you to find a simpler recipe than this cucumber soup! With a beautiful summery weather spending long hours in the kitchen is not my idea of a good time. I’d rather spend it out enjoying the sun, hiking, cycling, doing yoga or just reading a good book. At the same time, I refuse to lower my food standards just because I don’t want to spend too much time cooking. And this is precisely the type of recipe that is quick, seasonal, healthy and super delicious! Just perfect for warm weather. As a bonus, it is also light on calories, so you don’t need to feel guilty having a dessert after! I always like to decorate my food, but this is, of course, not required. If you don’t feel like playing around with balling avocado, slicing cucumber super thinly or organizing edible flowers neatly, this is absolutely fine, but I still recommend to cube up some cucumber for some texture.

The Secret to a Lifelong Beach Body
The Secret to a Lifelong Beach Body
We all want to feel good in a swimsuit on the beach, right? Have you ever wondered when or if that will ever happen? Is it simply losing weight? Gaining muscle? Is there a certain body type that defines sexy health? Could you simply choose to change your mentality and feel sexy the way you are now, without changing anything? I have asked myself these questions too. My weight has fluctuated a lot in my life, and for most of it I have felt extremely self conscious in a swimsuit. You know when I finally started feeling comfortable in a bikini? When I truly started loving myself.

7 Mental Benefits of Yoga
7 Mental Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has a great many physical benefits, and mental too, but an aspect of yoga that can be overlooked in our modern day is the spiritual benefits. Yoga helps with happy living by giving us a way to unite our bodies, minds and breath, letting us connect to our inner selves. This is the spiritual aspect of yoga. There are many spiritual benefits of yoga, but here are a few that you can take into your life off the mat, and help you connect with your spiritual side. 1. Mindfulness

The Magic of Yoga
The Magic of Yoga
Do you believe in magic? Not necessarily the kind of tricks you might see at a Las Vegas show, but more the type of magic that manifests as an intangible feeling that can’t be measured with logic or science. Whatever your initial reason for beginning yoga, you probably know you don’t keep returning simply because your hamstrings are more supple–– there is something more. Let’s call that subtle quality the magic of yoga. Perhaps you felt happy for ten minutes, ten hours, ten days, or even ten years after yoga class and you can’t pinpoint why. We often discuss the tangible physical benefits of a consistent yoga practice, like strength, flexibility, and balance. These qualities are wonderful, but not everything about yoga can be quantified. This week we’re focusing more on what is percolating beneath the surface in the subtle body. Our subtle body is said to contain more than 72,000 Nadis or energy channels and prana encompasses more than the muscles and the ligaments. It impacts our nervous system, our circulatory system, and our organs, whether we are aware of it or not. When we practice yoga, whatever the style, we are shifting and moving around our prana or life force energy. The magic of yoga impacts us on a cellular level. How? Why?

Sweet Basil Salad Dressing
Sweet Basil Salad Dressing
The weather is warming up here in Colorado, and with it comes a new crop of fresh veggies! We love using seasonal veggies in our recipes, and what better way to enjoy nature’s spring bounty than with a meal-sized salad with fresh, homemade salad dressing? That’s where this recipe comes in! This rich and yummy salad dressing is the perfect complement to all those fresh spring veggies. Our Sweet Basil Salad Dressing is thick and creamy, adding heartiness to any salad that will help you feel fuller longer. Plus, it can double as a tasty dip for fresh cut carrots, cucumbers, or celery. You could even drizzle it over grilled chicken or your favorite gluten-free pasta. In addition to being delicious, this dressing also boasts a number of health benefits.

8 Relaxation and Meditation Tips for New Moms
8 Relaxation and Meditation Tips for New Moms
Having a baby is one of the most incredible things you can do. Unfortunately, babies demand a lot of time and energy and it can be tough to find time for yourself as a new mom. It’s important for all moms to know how to rest and relax though. With that in mind, here are some great relaxation and meditation tips for new moms. 1.Create a Sacred Space at Home One of the first things that new moms want to do is create designated space in the house where they are able to retreat and enjoy some quality quiet time if they need it.

Yoga for Chronic Pain Relief
Yoga for Chronic Pain Relief
​During yoga class, you may have heard that mental and emotional pain can manifest in our bodies as physical pain. For example, an emotional trauma suffered as a child that was never fully processed can show up as pain in the hips and lower back. Samskaras, or shadows of past pain and suffering, exist for all of us. Yoga can assist us in soothing the nervous system and quieting the mind, which helps us process and move through pain. "Practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain as does chronic pain." M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, scientific director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) says. What an incredible concept! We can help program our brains to feel better simply by showing up on our yoga mats. In fact, a 2015 study from Harvard Medical School, Annals of Internal Medicine concluded yoga increased mobility for people suffering from chronic low back pain more than the standard medical care did.

7 Mind Body Techniques to Alleviate Chronic Pain
7 Mind Body Techniques to Alleviate Chronic Pain
Pain can be an awful thing, that can take over our lives sometimes. When we experience pain, the go-to remedy is usually drugs or painkillers. However when experiencing pain often, or suffering from chronic pain, drugs can have some serious long term side effects. If you suffer from chronic long term conditions such as arthritis, backache, or other pain you might be looking for alternative ways to alleviate some of the aches that go along with your condition. A lot of pain is rooted in brain processes, which can be affected by your mind and emotions. The science behind the mind-body link is still being researched, but we know now that your brain does play a role in how you experience pain. You can take advantage of the mind-body connection to help alleviate your pain. AS pain involves both body and mind, you can use mind-body techniques to change the way you experience and perceive pain - and therefore alleviate it. If you suffer from chronic pain, you may have rewired your brain to perceive the pain - even when it isn’t there. There are a range of mind-body techniques that can help to alleviate pain, as well as stress and anxiety. You may want to try a few before you find a technique that's right for you and your pain - everyone is different! You can also combine techniques to come up with your own personal mind-body pain relief. 1. Deep Breaths

Asian Sticky Mushrooms
Asian Sticky Mushrooms
Today’s recipe is Asian inspired, but I couldn’t point a finger to an specific country, and I didn’t use any other recipe for a basis. Instead, I just opened the fridge door, found some beautiful mushrooms and my meal pretty much started to develop itself. It often happens to me that I just get creative based on the ingredients I have at hand. A tiny bit from here, something from there, soy sauce and chili make everything tasty anyway, and just like that, a beautiful meal is ready in no time and struggle. This system of mine usually works out nicely, and often the recipes turn out so good that I feel the urge to share them with others. The mushroom dish I share with you today is one of my favorites lately. Since I first made it a few weeks ago, I have cooked it for two more times. Once using champignons so I can peacefully say that they are good in this recipe too, but my personal preference is still shitakes since they have a little more bite and chew to them. The crispiness of the mushrooms is really enjoyable with the slightly sweet and spicy sauce, but as always if crispiness meets sauce – have the people waiting for the food and not the other way around – otherwise the meal will still be delicious, but you will lose the texture. Gorgeously Sticky Asian Mushrooms

15 Common Mistakes Yogis Make
15 Common Mistakes Yogis Make
Yoga is a beautiful discipline, and yogis are beautiful students and teachers. But, all too often, we forget sometimes that the practice that unites teacher and student can be muddled by what yoga was created for in the first place: the control of our ego. Whether as a student or a teacher, we must understand that yoga is not only a sacred activity upheld by prestige and respect, but that it is, ultimately, an invitation to forgive ourselves and love others while we still have them in this short, short life. We highlight below 15 common mistakes yogis make. May you be blessed enough to acknowledge them and pass this knowledge on for others to benefit. 1. Judging yourself

8 Reasons Why Flexibility is Important for Your Body
8 Reasons Why Flexibility is Important for Your Body
Flexibility is the capability of your body to achieve its full range of motion. It’s needed in most day-to-day activities, even the simplest ones such as bending and walking. If you’re flexible, your muscles remain mobile. We take flexibility for granted when we’re we’re younger, but as we age, our muscles will naturally lose strength, and we might notice ourselves become less supple and more stiff. This can affect our range of movement, especially around the joints. This can have the effect of stiffness in the muscles and joints. This loss of tissue elasticity causes our bodies to tighten and we lose that flexibility. The key reason that we lose flexibility, and we become more at risk of aches and pains is from not being active. This can lead to more permanent issues such as bad posture and lack of muscle function. Keeping flexible is important to avoid this and to keep us in good health and fitness.

Yoga for Greater Flexibility
Yoga for Greater Flexibility
Ask any yoga teacher what the most common excuse they hear from people who don’t practice yoga is and you’ll probably receive the same answer: “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” We’re not sure where the myth started that naturally flexible and bendy people were the only ones who could practice yoga. In fact, it’s really the opposite. Flexibility looks very different depending on if you are a twenty-year-old former dancer, a thirty-year-old professional athlete, a fifty-year-old desk jockey, or an eighty-years-young retiree. No matter your age, anatomy, or physical abilities, yoga can help you become more flexible. The beauty of yoga is there are several styles and levels of classes and at least one is suited for you. How wonderful is that?

Asparagus Green Curry
Asparagus Green Curry
Spring has sprung here in Colorado, and we are thrilled at the start of the growing season! Yay local veggies! This week, we’re sharing a recipe that features one of our favorite spring veggies: Asparagus! This quick and easy curry takes less than 20 minutes to whip up and is the perfect way to use that beautiful asparagus that’s popping up in your grocery stores or local farmers markets. Plus, it’s cleanse-friendly and packed with a bunch of bonus health benefits! In addition to being a delicious spring veggie, asparagus is also a nutritional powerhouse. It’s rich in vitamin A, folate, which supports healthy prenatal development during pregnancy, and vitamin K, which supports bone health and strength. It’s a great source of antioxidants to help defend the body from free radicals, and is high in fiber to help aid digestion and gut health.

How To Harness Your Superpower of Being an Empath
How To Harness Your Superpower of Being an Empath
Ever since I was a little girl, I felt other people’s emotions strongly. I remember being so confused when family conflicts arose because I could so clearly see each person’s side and how valid it was. I was confused why everyone couldn’t understand that everyone’s intentions were good and loving and then we could just all move on with our lives in harmony! As I grew older, I remember feeling like I would literally step into someone else’s shoes, and feel the world as if from their perspective. From this place, I could really understand where they were coming from, even if their decisions from the outside might seem strange. I remember wanting to help every single person in my life through all of their tough times, and beyond that, I sort of felt that it was my duty. I couldn’t just turn my back on someone who was suffering...especially someone that I loved.

Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Hip-opener poses and asanas are some of the most popular and requested types. They bring release to areas of tightness that many people suffer from. As there are over 20 muscles that work across the hips, such as adductors in the inner thighs, abductors in the outer thighs, hip flexors and lateral rotators, it’s important to give these a good stretch. Any movement that stretches these muscles is a hip opener, but there are certain poses that give these a deeper release. If you have tight hips, it not only can affect your ability to get into certain yoga poses but can also affect your day to day life.

Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
This week, it’s time to unpack those saddlebags and release the heaviness and stress weighing you down and impeding your emotions. It takes a lot of work to create the tight hips many of us are experiencing these days. Almost everything we do in our daily lives create tension: from sedentary activities like sitting at a desk and driving to running or even simple everyday stress. We accumulate unprocessed emotions in our hips and we’ve all got one or maybe fifty of those, right? Let’s unpack them. When your hips are both open and strong, you have a balanced center of gravity and are able to maintain not just a healthy spine, but also a happy heart and mind. Physically, your pelvis houses several ligaments and muscles.

Warm Kale & Chickpea Salad
Warm Kale & Chickpea Salad
I have to admit that my love for kale is growing every day! It is delicious plain straight from the garden (did you know that you can even grow kale on your window sill!?), in salads, roasted to crispy deliciously healthy chips or sautéed – just bring it on and I love it. I did not imagine that I could love these dark green leaves so much as a kid, but I am fortunate to have a rather healthy palate these days. Of course, this also has a lot to do with habits. Somebody who is used to have a hot dog for breakfast, burger for lunch and pizza for dinner would most probably not love this salad immediately, but it is possible to train your taste buds to like healthier foods. Just start with a few healthier choices and soon you realize that salads are actually delicious and real food that you cooked yourself is always better for you than take-out! Cheaper too! Talking about this salad warm Kale & Chickpea Salad recipe here – this is a real 15-minute meal that doesn’t require any cooking skills or fancy equipment and the ingredient list is relatively short.

Everything You Need To Know About Vinyasa Yoga
Everything You Need To Know About Vinyasa Yoga
Vinyasa Yoga is one of the most practiced styles worldwide, indeed, according to a survey by the Yoga Journal, it is the most popular style amongst yogis. So, why is it that there seems to be some confusion about what Vinyasa is? Is it a style? A sequence? Or is it just a technique? And what exactly does it mean when a teacher says “take a Vinyasa”? Catch your breath before you keep reading, you’re going to need it to go with the Vinyasa Flow and clearly understand this unique style of yoga. To begin with, there are several definitions of the word itself. Some sources affirm it means “connection”; others translate it from Sanskrit as “to place in a special way”; and there are those who say it’s just “flow”. With this in mind, it’s not surprising the broad usage of the term Vinyasa.

10 Tips to Master Hard Yoga Poses at Home
10 Tips to Master Hard Yoga Poses at Home
Practicing yoga at home is a great way to get some exercise in if you can’t make it to a class. All you need is a mat! However, if you’re trying to master some tricky yoga poses and you just can’t get over that hurdle, being on your own can be a hindrance. Here’s our top 8 tips for practicing and mastering hard yoga poses at home. 1. Create the right space Having a dedicated space for yoga will make practicing at home so much easier. Try to find a space to unroll your matt that’s quiet and peaceful, with plenty of space around to move your body freely. Remove any obstacles if needed. Try to find an empty wall that you can use as a prop for poses that require a bit of extra support. Maybe you’d like to light a candle to make the atmosphere even more relaxing and inviting.

5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
Set Yourself Free! Take a moment to check in on how you’re feeling. Go ahead; take a quick scan from the crown of your beautiful head to the soles of your bare feet. If you are wearing shoes, go ahead and slip your feet out and wiggle your toes. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your feeling of personal freedom right now? Where are you physically, emotionally, and mentally today? If you are feeling restricted in any or all of these areas, rest assured that your yoga practice can help you shed the tightness in your muscles, soothe any discord in your emotions, and quiet your thoughts. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali teaches that learning to detach or let go is necessary in order to find freedom. But what does it mean to truly let go? And let go of what, exactly?

Easy Trail Mix: Eating Healthy While Traveling
Easy Trail Mix: Eating Healthy While Traveling
Spring Break is this week for us in Colorado, so we were thinking about how difficult it can be to find healthy eating options when you’re traveling. Whether you’re driving or flying to your vacation destination, it can be difficult to find the clean-eating options in a sea of fast food joints. So we’ve put together a guide for all our tried and true tips and tricks for staying healthy while on the road, including our favorite recipe for on-the-go snacking: Easy Trail Mix! Here are our top 3 tips for healthy traveling: Plan Ahead: Plan, plan, plan.

Yoga & Alternative Medicine: A Perfect Combination for Vitality
Yoga & Alternative Medicine: A Perfect Combination for Vitality
You can do this without the use of potentially harmful pharmaceutical drugs or invasive treatments. By combining your regular yoga sessions with alternative medicine, you can get even more benefit from your yoga practice. Here are three forms of alernative medicine that can increase quality of health and vitality for brand new and experienced yogi's! Acupuncture & Yoga

8 Easy and Powerful Self-Care Tips
8 Easy and Powerful Self-Care Tips
With our modern busy lives, it’s easy to let even the simplest self-care go out the window. It can be tough to find the time to look after ourselves when we’re juggling lots of different priorities. This can leave our own needs at the bottom of the list, and we all know it's hard to get around to those items last on the to-do list. And we’re talking about the regular, day to day self-care, not the lavish ‘treat-yourself’ social outings, appointments and pamper days that come to mind when you think self-care. If you don’t take the time to look after yourself, you can start to feel very stressed and unfulfilled as well as overwhelmed. But to improve ourselves we must take care of our minds and bodies. Here’s our tips to create a self-care routine, and ways you can stick to it! 1. Do self-care that works for you

Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Self-care is a priority, not an after-thought. Yes, you come first. When was the last time you were on a plane? If you were actually paying attention to the safety presentation before take off, you’d recall that the flight attendant always advises each passenger to place their own oxygen mask on first, even before their child’s. The message here, like our theme this week, is that taking care of yourself first is key before you can help anyone else. Do you ever feel guilty if you take time to go get a massage or put off a work call until after you’ve practiced yoga or worked out? Or how about feeling somehow naughty that you took a nap in the middle of the day instead of going to get your car washed? As yogis, we often consider ourselves experts in self-care when often, we are the ones focused on caring for others, and our own needs are at the bottom of the list. We get it: we are all busy and juggling responsibilities. Problems arise when obligations to your work, your family, your cat or your dog, supersede your obligations to your own health and well-being. It’s time to put yourself first before you burn out and can’t show up in your life at your best. Shifting your perspective to view self-care as a necessity and not a luxury is all you need to do for a happy, healthy lifestyle.