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


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?

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.

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?

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.

Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga’s benefits are all-encompassing. This ancient practice affects our entire body, mind, and heart. Yoga can be approached in hundreds of different ways and can be utilized for specific areas of focus. This week, we’ll focus on how yoga benefits the upper body and that includes not just muscles and bones, but your four higher chakras or seats of higher consciousness. Many of us sit at the computer, drive a lot, stare at our smartphones, and as a result, our shoulders begin to round forward, proper posture disintegrates and we can actually become more closed off in our emotional expression. By focusing on asanas that open up the heart, shoulders, throat, and neck, we not only improve our posture, but we learn to keep the heart open and to communicate with truth and kindness. So yes, you can loosen up the physical tension and tightness that plagues you, improve your posture, and get rid of aches and pains. But the benefits go deeper by balancing out your Anahata or heart chakra, Vishudda or throat chakra, Ajna or third eye chakra, and Sahasrara or crown chakra.

Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and the seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But, there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. " - Alan Cohen Happy Equinox yogis! Whether you are celebrating the budding and blossoming of Spring in the Northern hemisphere or accepting the shedding of layers that personifies Autumn in the Southern hemisphere, we are all in the midst of powerful transition. When we align our own intentions and goals with nature’s rhythms and patterns, we strengthen our positions. We’re all living this one life on the planet together and the earth impacts everything we do, from how we feel physically to our thoughts and emotions. Why not harness these seasonal shifts to reflect, set intentions, and implement change?

Quick Yoga Fix: Ways to Stay on Track when Time is Tight
Quick Yoga Fix: Ways to Stay on Track when Time is Tight
Can you believe it is almost March? Time seems to be zooming at the speed of light these days and with that swift pace, some priorities in life seem to shift. Work, school, family, travel, all the little responsibilities…some days it’s tough to complete all the things you want to do after you’ve done all the things you need to do. And you want to do yoga, right? If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be battling the Polar Vortex and spending an hour shoveling your driveway or taking thirty extra minutes to get to the office. That precious time could have been spent on your yoga mat. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps your holidays and vacation time created a lapse in your regular yoga practice. Regardless of why you’ve not had time to practice yoga as frequently as you would like, the result is the same. You’ve fallen out of your routine and aren’t feeling as balanced, strong, and flexible as you’d like. Maybe you feel like if you can’t get a full hour or ninety-minute practice in, it isn’t worth your time to step onto the mat. Not true!

Fusion Yoga & Fitness: Efficient, Effective, & Fun!
Fusion Yoga & Fitness: Efficient, Effective, & Fun!
Most of us who practice yoga also work out and participate in other wellness activities. Whether you run, cycle, lift weights, or walk for fitness, yoga is an excellent complement. Sometimes, however, time is short and it’s not possible to get in both your workout routine and a full yoga class. Enter fusion yoga and fitness classes, where you can experience the best of both worlds, all in one efficient, effective, and fun class. 1. Fusion yoga classes are efficient. When you are pressed for time, but you don’t want to sacrifice either your fitness or your yoga routine, try one of these hybrid fusion yoga classes and stay on track with your life and your health. Fulfill all your needs with a class that will allow you to check off your fitness box, and balance it out with yoga to keep your muscles supple and your mind calm.

Ashtanga Yoga: Where the Physical Practice Began
Ashtanga Yoga: Where the Physical Practice Began
This week we highlight Ashtanga Yoga. Sit back, take a sip of your favorite beverage, and allow us to share the fascinating history of this vigorous practice. Ashtanga is the eight-limbed yoga path as outlined in Patanjali’s seminal text, the Yoga Sutra. In order to truly appreciate the place Ashtanga Yoga holds in the yoga world, we’ve got to look back about one hundred years. At that time, yoga in India was primarily seated meditation. Instead of simply studying and meditating, the Father of Modern Yoga, T. Krishnamacharya, developed a series of asanas combined with pranayama, in a vigorous set sequence of flowing asanas. For the first time in yoga practice, the physical postures and the controlled breath were part of a moving meditation.

Yoga to Awaken your Inner Warrior
Yoga to Awaken your Inner Warrior
A true warrior is a combination of characteristics: strength, clarity, composure, and fearlessness. To awaken your inner warrior, it is vital you dig deep and recognize your own desires, truths, and powers. Being a warrior and standing up for what you believe in doesn’t mean you have to be the most physically powerful person, nor the fastest or most agile. A true warrior comes from within: being firm in your resolve, true to your beliefs, and learning to bend and not break. Yoga guides us to turn our attention and awareness inward with the intention of recognizing and releasing our inner truth and sharing it with the world. When you practice yoga with an emphasis on uncovering your personal truth, you begin to discover and cultivate your unique power and gifts. Through a dedicated yoga practice, we strengthen our external body and fortify our inner resolve. By becoming still and calm, you can discover what motivates you. Then, you know what you want and what you are willing to take a stand for, without fear.

Yoga for the Lower Chakras
Yoga for the Lower Chakras
Whether you are familiar with how balancing your seven main Chakras can improve how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally or you’ve got no idea what these subtle body energetics are, we’re here to help you get the greatest benefits from your yoga practice. Basically, the subtle body is a blueprint of the physical body. When you practice yoga asanas, there is always a corresponding impact on your subtle body, which holds your emotions and life patterns or Samskaras. This week we’ve got four classes that focus upon the first three Chakras: Muladhara or Root Chakra, the Svadisthana or Sacral Chakra, and the Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra. By working on balancing our subtle body energy from the ground up, we can create a solid foundation upon which to bring our dreams into day-to-day reality. To maximize the impact of yoga’s impact on your brain, nervous system, and nadi system, we’ll share a brief review of each chakra’s energetic powers.

Yoga to End Your Day
Yoga to End Your Day
As 2019 begins, we are gifted with a blank slate, a fresh calendar, and a new opportunity to start fresh and create the lives we desire. Although the holidays are exciting, there’s a tendency to fall out of our routines and practices. There is also the tendency to not sleep enough, to eat foods we don’t usually consume, and generally wear ourselves down. The New Year is a powerful time to implement healthy new habits to help you thrive in your daily life. To assist you in feeling your best, we’ve got four new practices to use as an evening wind down ritual––a life hack many of us need. Without consistent sleep and relaxation, we can’t operate at our highest level during the day. In order for our Prana to flow freely, we need balance. Each class will help you implement a ritual for relaxation and a restful night’s sleep.

Yoga for Skiing and Snowboarding
Yoga for Skiing and Snowboarding
In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is upon us. Outdoor enthusiasts are flocking to the mountains to ski and snowboard. We here at YogaDownload.com want to support winter athletes and help you have the healthiest, most exciting season ever. Yoga can enhance your performance and help keep you injury-free so you enjoy your best days this season and for years to come. If where you live it is springtime, you’ll still benefit from our targeted classes this week. Water-skiing anyone? When you’re careening down a snow-covered mountain at the speed of light or even at the speed of a sloth, it’s important for your mind to be in the game. Honing your mental focus to a razor sharp edge will enable you to not only enhance your downhill skills, but will also help prevent avoidable injuries. Athletes agree that a clear attentive mind is the key to success on the slopes.

Overcoming Fear
Overcoming Fear
Halloween is approaching and many of us will dress up like vampires and ghouls, work to scare people, celebrate the horror genre and watch scary movies. What are you afraid of? Well, besides that scary clown who may or may not be hiding underneath your bed? On a more serious note, have you examined the concept of fear and how it impacts you? Fear is a necessary part of life. If we didn’t have healthy fear of dangerous activities like jumping off cliffs or walking down dark alleys in sketchy neighborhoods, we might get injured or worse. One of the biggest human drives is to protect ourselves from pain and loss, but sometimes we hold ourselves back because we are afraid of being hurt. According to Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, the biggest fear we face is the fear of death, referred to as abhinivesha. In theory, all our fears stem from this all-encompassing one.

5 Benefits of Inversions: Flip Your Perspective
5 Benefits of Inversions: Flip Your Perspective
​In yoga, students are often sharply divided about inversions. Some people can’t wait and approach headstands or handstands with joyous anticipation. Other practitioners choose that moment to take a sip of water, rest in child’s pose, or otherwise avoid getting their heads below their hearts. We believe as long as inversions are practiced with safe alignment and modifications if needed, there’s a pose appropriate for almost everyone. What is an inversion? It’s any asana where the head is below the heart. So, Downward Dog, Legs up the Wall, and standing forward folds count. More dynamic inversions include Headstand, Handstand, Shoulder stand and Forearm Stand. Of course, if injuries or other physical limitations exist, some of these postures may not be appropriate. People who have suffered a stroke, have neck injuries, heart conditions, high blood pressure that isn’t regulated, or glaucoma may need to modify or skip some asanas. Why inversions?

5 Reasons to Do Yoga in the Morning
5 Reasons to Do Yoga in the Morning
Are you a morning person and already practice yoga when you wake up? Awesome! Feel free to skip down to our list of four fabulous new classes to start your day with and push play. Or, review the benefits of a regular morning practice and let us know if we included all your reasons why you salute the sun first thing. If stepping onto your mat before the sun sets in the west isn’t your preference, check out five great reasons why practicing in the morning could become a ritual you embrace and even learn to love. So, stop hitting the snooze button and who knows, you might even become a morning person. Here are 5 reasons to make yoga part of your healthy morning routine! 1. Create a Good Mood: Start your day out right and create a positive mindset before circumstances conspire against you.

Strong Muscles & Healthy Bones
Strong Muscles & Healthy Bones
We like strong bones and we cannot lie…and toned muscles and healthy joints are awesome yoga benefits too. A regular yoga practice gives you flexibility and mobility, but this week we bring you four classes especially targeted toward building bone and joint health. Without stability and strength, you can become more susceptible to injury and who wants that? Invest some time into bolstering your bones and protecting your joints in order to continue all of your daily activities feeling great. To balance out the flexibility and mobility aspect of yoga, we suggest you try these new classes from two of your favorite YogaDownload.com instructors. Ben Davis' - Fitness n' Yoga: Sea Star Flow will get you moving and ensure you are working your muscles to build strength, stability and functional fitness. You may already know that weight-bearing exercise is vital to keeping your skeleton healthy. You don’t have to jog or run in order to build muscular strength and bone health, because all standing yoga poses are weight-bearing.

Yoga for Your Upper Body & Chakras
Yoga for Your Upper Body & Chakras
If someone asked you what the biggest benefit of yoga for your upper body is, how would you answer? Would you say that all the Down Dogs and chataranguas gave you muscular endurance and strength? That your chest and shoulders are more open and your posture is excellent? Would you mention how your spine is protected because you’ve built up a girdle of mobile muscle to keep you safe from injury? Or perhaps you’d expand beyond the obvious physical benefits. You could share how you are now a person able to live from a place of compassion, speak your authentic truth, trust your intuition, and visualize Samadhi or enlightenment because you’ve balanced your heart, throat, third-eye, and crown chakras. Yoga’s benefits are infinite and whatever your answer, you’d be correct. The fruits of a well-rounded yoga practice encompass the physical benefits for your muscular, spinal, nervous, and digestive systems.

Forward Folds to the Rescue: Time to Cool Down and Focus Inward!
Forward Folds to the Rescue: Time to Cool Down and Focus Inward!
One of the most magical aspects of yoga is how you can vary the practice based upon the way you feel today. It’s always fluid and adaptable to not just your physical needs, but your emotional and mental state as well. Some days, you just need a well-rounded yoga practice to keep you feeling strong, flexible, and balanced. Other days you need something more targeted and specific. Yoga can be your medicine. You probably know that certain asanas or postures offer particular benefits. Breathing in a deliberate way and utilizing different pranayama techniques can revitalize you or relax you. Back bending opens the heart and energizes you. Twists encourage healthy digestion and are excellent for neutralizing your spine. Forward folds are not just about stretching your back and hamstrings, they also calm your nervous system and encourage you to shift your gaze inward. A well-rounded yoga practice moves you through a full range of motion to encourage a healthy spine and balanced body and mind. This week, our focus is on forward folds, offering you ways to calm your nervous system, manage anxiety, stretch and strengthen the back body and improve your posture.

Hit the Reset Button
Hit the Reset Button
Are you in need of a reset? Maybe you are feeling tired or lack motivation, or you simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Perhaps external events are weighing heavily on you. Or maybe you’ve fallen into a pattern of negative thinking and need to flip the switch and find a more positive perspective. Yoga is a practice of looking within and shining a light on our true nature. Enter the yoga sutras! The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are considered the seminal text on yoga and despite the fact they are thousands of years old, their enduring wisdom is relevant today. The practical philosophy can be employed to help us uncover our best selves. In order to shift your perspective, consider Sutra 2.33: vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam. When distracted by disquieting or negative thoughts or feelings, cultivate the opposite point of view and replace with the positive. This is pratipaksha bhavana. Let’s consider a few situations and see how this practice can create a true shift in your attitude.

Yoga for Strength & Stability: Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Yoga for Strength & Stability: Slow & Steady Wins the Race
You’re familiar with Aesop’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare, right? The tortoise moves slowly and steadily and doesn’t stop. The hare bursts out in front with reckless abandon, certain to win against the plodding beast. Yet, in the end, the tortoise’s persistence and refusal to give up, despite a near certain defeat, wins the race. He personifies the traits of stability and strength. These qualities are vital to a sustainable, long-term yoga practice. In your yoga practice and in your life, you’ve probably embodied both creatures, jumping into new postures or endeavors without much thought, just like the swift-footed rabbit. And embracing life full-speed ahead without overthinking it is important. But it can lead to carelessness and injuries if you aren’t mindful. Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means the posture should be steady and comfortable. Steadiness is a quality of strength and grounded energy. Working on developing this in your yoga practice will aid you in staying centered and stable.

3 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Yoga
3 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Yoga
From India to Indiana and everywhere in between, International Day of Yoga is a monumental celebration for yogis around the world. It’s happening on June 21st, the first day of summer and the solstice - when the sun is at its highest peak in the year. This auspicious day brings yogis of all ages, religions, nationalities and social backgrounds together to celebrate both our individuality and universality. Here are 3 ways you can join the International Day of Yoga festivities and promote harmony, foster good health and the overall well-being of the planet: On the Mat New to yoga? International Day of Yoga is the perfect time to start your practice because you’ll have the energy of the world’s yoga community behind you.

Yin Yoga Chill Out
Yin Yoga Chill Out
Life is all about balance. Hot and cold. Day and night. Sun and moon. Dark and light. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. Without balancing the opposing forces that exist within us and in the world around us, it’s tough to become centered and strong. Yin is stable and quiet. Yang is active and intense. Yin is stillness. Yang is movement. This week we’re focusing on how Yin Yoga can help you quiet your mind and delve deeper into your yoga practice. Many of us love our flowing linear styles of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power yoga. An active Yang practice has many benefits, but if your life is busy and intense, it might not be the best way to achieve balance and yin yoga can help.

Challenge Yourself!
Challenge Yourself!
You’ve built a regular yoga practice and step onto your mat several times a week. Congratulations on your commitment and your positive healthy lifestyle. Consistency and dedication are key elements in creating a strong yoga practice you love. Wait one second––hit the pause button right now and check in with where you are today. Are you challenging yourself or have you settled into a nice comfortable routine? Have you had any ‘aha’ moments lately on the mat, like when you noticed your concentration was laser focused or you managed to hold Tree Pose effortlessly? Or perhaps you are just going through the motions and have lost a little of your yoga high. We all have our favorite styles, teachers, and classes, but sometimes in order to develop, you need to get uncomfortable. We aren’t suggesting you toss out all your favorites and start over, but what about adding in a challenge every week? In order to grow and progress on your yoga mat and in your daily life, you have to push beyond your boundaries and try something new or different.

Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
We all have our favorite yoga asanas or postures and most yogis agree that twists are awesome. This week, we’re focusing on twists and how beneficial they are for your spine, your digestive organs, and your general sense of well-being. Of course, like all physical practices, it’s important to make sure you are using proper form and breathing techniques to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. Twists help nourish your entire spine, help maintain spinal health and prevent back pain. Twisting is one of the major directions in which your spine moves, but how often do you twist throughout the day? Most of us move primarily in the sagittal (front to back) and frontal planes (lateral) which can lead to compression. Without balanced movement for our vertebrae, muscles, and connective tissues, our spine can grow stiff and tight.