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


Ahimsa: Practice Kindness
Ahimsa: Practice Kindness
Kindness is the reason! A universal thread in all yoga practices is learning to embody loving kindness. How you treat yourself has an effect on you and how you treat others has an effect on you. When you are kind, your behavior impacts others around you in a positive manner and helps them feel more content. Learning to be compassionate and kind regardless of circumstances is one of the key principles of the eight-limbed yoga path, as expressed in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Ahimsa, the first of five Yamas contained in the first limb of yoga is at its root is all about kindness. Ahimsa translates to the absence of, or the freedom from violence, killing, judging, or harming. Ahimsa is avoiding all forms of violence to yourself or to others. It is less about physical violence and more about thoughts and feelings.

Yoga For A Happy & Healthy Mind
Yoga For A Happy & Healthy Mind
One of yoga’s greatest benefits is the process of tuning into your thoughts and emotions and understanding your own personal truth. When we utilize the tools of a consistent yoga practice, we learn to tune out distractions and external influences and listen to our internal voice. Avidya or mistaken perception is ignorance––the fundamental inability to see things as they are. The practice of yoga is moving away from these misperceptions toward Viveka, the ability to discern and see clearly. The physical practice aids us in relaxing our muscles and begins the process of delving deeper into our psyche. Yoga teaches us that all we need is within us, we simply need to pay attention. Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras include the eight-limbed path of yoga. The Niyamas, or moral observances, are tangible steps to achieve a calm and peaceful mind.

Yoga for Stress Relief & Unwinding
Yoga for Stress Relief & Unwinding
Have you noticed that every time you step onto your yoga mat it’s a different experience? Sometimes we choose a fast-paced sweaty class and others we seek a more chilled out type of practice. While all yoga will help you relieve stress, taking the time to slow down and unwind can nourish your system on a deeper level. This week we’re bringing you slower classes designed specifically to help you shift your system back into balance. One of the most profound ways a slower yoga practice impacts us is by soothing our parasympathetic nervous system. Holding poses for longer periods of time, like in Yin Yoga, encourages our “fight or flight” adrenaline responses to quiet. When you’re in Sleeping Swan (half-pigeon) for several minutes on each side, not only do the tight muscles and connective tissue begin to relax, but the mind quiets and the heartrate slows. When you can slow down and leave the rest of the day behind for even a little while, you’re refilling your well and soothing your nervous system.

Yoga To Release Tension In Your Shoulders & Back
Yoga To Release Tension In Your Shoulders & Back
Who else spent months sprawled on the couch bingeing television and hours perched in front of the computer zooming with friends and family? During quarantine, most of us found ourselves more sedentary than usual. Prolonged sitting does a number on our posture, and our shoulders round forward, our necks grow stiff, and our posture begins to slump. Not only does our body fall out of alignment, but we can become more closed off emotionally. The inner reflects the outer. This week, we’re focusing on asanas (postures) that loosen up the shoulders, relax the throat and neck, and create more spaciousness in our spines. When we focus on relieving stress and tension that lurks around the neck and shoulders, we can alleviate pain. Practices focused on the upper body create strength and mobility and encourage proper posture. They also go deeper within and benefit the subtle body, where our chakras reside.

June 21st is International Yoga Day
June 21st is International Yoga Day
Mark your calendars for the sixth annual International Yoga Day! This relatively new holiday, established in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly in 177 member countries, celebrates the value of yoga for physical, emotional, and mental health. June 21st is the solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere and the shortest in the Southern hemisphere. This day is a turning point for the entire planet and a sacred day in many cultures. Perfect to celebrate yoga! Each International Yoga Day features a different theme. As the world begins to emerge from the pandemic, the chosen theme for 2021 is Yoga for Wellbeing, stressing the benefits of yoga for stress relief and overall mental health. The emphasis on mindful movement and deliberate breathing patterns in yoga benefits not just your physical body, but enhances mood, relieves stress, alleviates insomnia, and aids in managing situational depression. Even if your intention is centered on increasing physical strength, mobility, and balance, you garner the mental benefits too. Our lives are forever changed after this past year. It’s a simple fact. Many of us experienced enormous levels of anxiety, stress, fear, loss, and anger. When we react from these emotions, our breathing becomes shallow, our heart works overtime, and the stress hormone cortisol skyrockets. When our physiological system is out of control, it’s tough to remain grounded, clear, and balanced. Yoga helps positively impact our nervous systems, which in turn helps us step out of the fight or flight response. We can stop simply reacting and start operating from a more stable place.

Open Your Hearts: Yoga for Anahata Chakra
Open Your Hearts: Yoga for Anahata Chakra
“Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point,” which translates to: the heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart." - Blaise Pascal This quote by famous mathematician Blaise Pascal is from 1669––talk about ancient wisdom! Even a genius steeped in reason and mathematics recognized that often the answer lies in listening to the heart and emotions, as opposed to relying solely on the brain. This week we’re focused on balancing your heart energy. In yoga, we emphasize opening and balancing the Anahata (Heart) chakra as being vital to feeling our best. The seven main chakras are energy systems running along our Sushumna Nadi, in our subtle body, the blueprint of our physical body. The fourth chakra, Anahata, is the recognized seat of love and compassion and translates to “Unstruck.” Its essence is selflessness, expanding beyond your ego, and learning to release fear and forgive those who have harmed you.

Two-Week Bridal Bootcamp
Two-Week Bridal Bootcamp
Who is ready for an excellent fitness bootcamp program with all the guess work and decision making handled for you? Wedding season is upon us and if you’re getting married, you want to feel and look your best for your special day. Whether you’re a bride-to-be or simply someone who is ready for a challenge for your body, mind, and spirit, this week we’re here to deliver. We all want to feel our best, but sometimes it can be overwhelming deciding what workout to do when and what is the most impactful way to get stronger, more flexible, and emotionally balanced. It’s easy to start off with the best of intentions and then other commitments and responsibilities knock you off your path. This fitness bootcamp is specially crafted to give you excellent results in an efficient manner, while also making it easy to stay on track. Here’s how:

Yoga Sculpt: When You Want It All!
Yoga Sculpt: When You Want It All!
We’ve all faced the dilemma: you have a limited amount of time to move your body and relieve stress. Do you practice yoga or do strength training? Problem solved: Yoga sculpt. If you’ve never tried a yoga fusion class, here’s your chance to garner all the benefits of a strength workout blended with the mindfulness of yoga. These hybrid workouts can combine yoga with weights, barre, Pilates, HIIT, cardio––the variety is part of the fun! In these special classes, the emphasis is on getting stronger and sculpted, but also staying mindful and maintaining mobility. It’s one of the most efficient and effective ways to ensure that you prevent injury and enhance your strength, balance, and flexibility. Here are a few reasons we love these yoga fitness fusion classes:

Meditation to Get Your Mind Right
Meditation to Get Your Mind Right
Quick check in: does your mind feel laser-focused and steady? Ready to handle any challenges in a reasonable, calm manner? If your answer, like ours, was to throw your head back and roar with laughter because you’ve got countless distractions bouncing around your brain, we’re here to help. This week, we’ve got four meditation classes to help you feel clearer and more grounded. If you are new to meditation or it has been a while since you meditated, read on for some insight into why it can have such a profound impact on your life. Meditation is the practice of learning to quiet the monkey mind or as Patanjali delineated in Yoga Sutra 1.2: citta vritti nirodhah: Yoga is learning to direct the attention of your mind where you wish it to go. Meditation encourages you to quiet the distractions in order to create space for clarity. It is the art of letting go and bringing the mind to the present moment. Meditation is a practice that takes time and effort, but it is worth every minute.

Celebrate the Skin You’re In: Yoga for Weight Loss & Confidence
Celebrate the Skin You’re In: Yoga for Weight Loss & Confidence
If you have a consistent yoga practice, you’re aware of the myriad of internal and external benefits you receive, like balance, strength, flexibility, and equanimity. But did you know yoga can also help you feel more confident and lose weight? We’re not talking treating yoga like an exercise regimen to burn calories. Instead, yoga can help you cultivate a powerful mind-body connection that supports weight loss or any other physical goals you might have. When you move through a physical yoga practice, whether it is a vigorous Vinyasa flow or a mellow restorative practice, you focus on how you are feeling. Is your breath deep and steady or shallow and erratic? Are you angry, depressed, or at peace? Do you feel stagnant and heavy or light and vibrant? By taking the time to become more aware of your feelings, you can begin to process them fully instead of burying them. Emotional eating is common and many of us have made unhealthy choices like consuming fast food or too much sugar, which only masks the underlying issues for a short time.

4 Excellent Reasons to Renew Yourself with Twists!
4 Excellent Reasons to Renew Yourself with Twists!
Are you ready to refresh and rejuvenate physically, emotionally, and mentally? A well-rounded yoga practice emphasizing twists will leave you feeling your best on every level. Here are 4 ways twists help clear out your system and create the space to welcome in fresh energy and light. Keeps Spine Healthy: Twists help restore and maintain your spine’s range of motion, improve flexibility and mobility, and encourage proper posture. Most of us aren’t consistently moving our spines through the three ranges of motion necessary to keep the spine in ultimate condition.

Earth Day
Earth Day
On Earth Day 2021, let’s pause to appreciate this world that provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and serves as our home. In yoga, we naturally align ourselves with the rhythm of the seasons, the tides of the ocean, and the rising and setting of the sun. This week, we're celebrating Earth Day with four yoga classes designed to uplift, enliven, and support you, just like the planet does for us each and every day. When you show up to your yoga mat or your meditation cushion this week, close your eyes and focus on your connection to our planet. Offer gratitude for the support of the ground beneath you and the sky above you. Earth Day is an excellent time to center your practice around your relationship to the planet, connect with the global community, and commit to protecting our world. One of the primary tenets in yoga comes from Patanjali’s Eight-Limb yoga path, in particular, the first Yama, Ahimsa. The Yamas are moral attitudes or behaviors important to follow on your yogic journey and in life. Ahimsa means freedom from harm or violence. Ahimsa's practice is one of compassion, love, understanding, and patience in our interactions with ourselves, with others, and with the earth around us.

Yin Yoga to Relax More
Yin Yoga to Relax More
If you’re feeling the impact of more than a year of managing extreme stress levels, you aren’t alone. These days, we’re all working to establish a sense of equanimity. Life is about finding the balance between opposing forces which exist outside and inside of us. Yoga is a fluid dance between strength and softness, and yin and yang. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. This week, shift your focus to Yin yoga and give your mind the quiet time it needs and recharge your batteries. When we take the time to nourish ourselves, we renew our energy and become the strongest versions of ourselves. If you’re new to Yin yoga, you may not be familiar with all its wonderful benefits. A Yin practice targets the deeper layers in the body, specifically the connective tissue––fascia, tendons, and ligaments and the internal organs. Yin is based upon three main principles:

Take Your Time with Longer Yoga Classes
Take Your Time with Longer Yoga Classes
Today is a perfect day to expand your horizons. Consider mixing up your routine by spending more time on your yoga mat this week. We’re here to help with four longer yoga classes that will give you the space and time to deepen your practice. “Do Your Practice and all is coming." K. Pattabhi Jois, the Indian scholar and credited founder of Ashtanga yoga famously said. According to his teachings, there is no substitute for time spent on the mat. Traditional Ashtanga classes were usually at least ninety minutes long. Each moment of practice is a moment exploring your heart, your body, and your mind. Here are three reasons to try one of this week’s longer 45-90 minute classes.

You are a Powerful Force
You are a Powerful Force
The Force is within you! Each and every one of us has a well of inner strength and courage, our source of personal power. Through our yoga and meditation practices, we can cultivate our inner light and empower ourselves to meet life’s challenges with courage and confidence. There are many paths to build personal power, strength, and compassion. A few of our favorite classes have empowering themes and/or solid Power Vinyasa flows, which are excellent ways to tap into your inner strength. If you need a reminder of just how courageous you are, these classes will give you a major boost. Yoga teaches us that all we need is inside of us and practice is to reveal and honor our inner light. Learning to dig deep and operate from our courageous hearts can be uncomfortable.

Music is Medicine! Yoga with Music
Music is Medicine! Yoga with Music
“Yoga is like music. The rhythm of the body, the melody of the mind, and the harmony of the soul creates the symphony of life.” -B.K.S. Iyengar. We here at YogaDownload.com believe music enhances the yoga experience. Both music and yoga touch on the physical, mental, and emotional levels of our beings. Sound is integral in many schools of yoga, like Ashtanga, where classes begin and end with chanting and mantras woven into the practice. The power of sound is vital in yoga, whether you are focusing on mantra, chanting, instruments like the harmonium, or a well-curated playlist.

Fitness 'n' Yoga 7 Day Bootcamp with Ben Davis
Fitness 'n' Yoga 7 Day Bootcamp with Ben Davis
Are you ready to kick off March with a 7 day fitness and yoga bootcamp designed to have you feeling at the top of your game? If you struggle to fit in workouts and yoga, but don’t want to miss any of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits from both, this week’s program is for you. And if you’re simply feeling bored with your current routine, try this package as an adrenaline boost to spark your motivation. Here are 3 reasons not to miss this bootcamp:

Yoga for Sports: How Yoga Improves Your Game
Yoga for Sports: How Yoga Improves Your Game
Whether you’re working to improve that backswing on the fairway or perfect an inverted hand plant with a snowboard, incorporating a yoga practice into your routine can really help step up your sports game. In fact, doing yoga can make you better at just about every other sport you’re passionate about. And all you need is your body to make the magic happen! Just ask professional athletes like Lebron James, golfer Lexi Thompson, snowboarder Emilien Badoux and the entire New York Yankees lineup. They — and their trainers and coaches — know that yoga offers both physical and mental benefits that translate both on and off the field. But here’s the good news: you don’t need to be a pro to reap the rewards of a regular practice. While incorporating yoga on a rest day can be beneficial, timing your session so that you’re engaging in stretches right before or after your activity can multiply those benefits.

Stand Up & Stretch: Yoga to Counteract Prolonged Sitting
Stand Up & Stretch: Yoga to Counteract Prolonged Sitting
Raise your hand if you’ve sat more in the last year than ever before? With stay-at-home orders around the world, many of us have adapted to a new way of life: working from home, Zoom calls instead of going out with friends, and a whole lot of Netflix on the sofa. Even if you’re staying true to your yoga practice, the additional hours on your bum instead of your feet can take its toll. Never fear––we’ve got the antidote to all that couch dwelling. This week’s classes are designed to help you squeeze in more standing and more quick yoga sessions throughout your day. But first, let’s delve a little deeper into why all that sitting can leave you feeling not just physically stiff, but also mentally cloudy and emotionally stagnant. We store unprocessed emotion in our hips, so it is vital for our hips to be open and healthy, not just for the physical body, but also for emotional well-being.

Yoga for Strength & Grace
Yoga for Strength & Grace
How are you handling conflict and challenges these days? Is there adequate space in your reaction time or has the stress of the last year amplified to a point where you aren’t quite as patient and kind as you could be? If you’ve experienced more fear and edginess and anger, you aren’t alone. This week, we’re focusing on cultivating your own unique sense of grace and strength in your yoga practice. The word grace derives from Old French and means “pleasing quality” or simply a pleasing way of moving or behaving. A graceful person is one with poise, decency, honor, and elegance. Sometimes if you’re being pushed to your limits by the events of the world and personal circumstances, it can be difficult to react gracefully. Developing grace under pressure is one of the greatest gifts yoga can impart.

Branch Out with More Uncommon Styles of Yoga
Branch Out with More Uncommon Styles of Yoga
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 Change is good! We know it’s a wonderful feeling to step onto your yoga mat and practice with your favorite teachers. We all have our preferred types of practice, whether it’s a range from Ashtanga to Vinyasa to Power to Yin. Mixing it up helps us stay fresh mentally and emotionally and also ensures we don’t physically injure ourselves through too much repetition. So be adventurous this week and try something new.

Yoga to Open Your Mind
Yoga to Open Your Mind
Students come to yoga for a variety of reasons: physical, mental, and spiritual. Regardless of why you started practicing, your entire being benefits. It’s easy to focus on mastering the asanas or physical postures first. But traditionally, yoga’s primary intention is to gain control over your mind. The seminal text on yoga, Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, were compiled centuries ago and the wisdom proves true today. The Sutras are divided into 4 Padas or chapters which provide a pathway to journey toward Samadhi or enlightenment. The pillar of the entire text is stated in Sutra 1.2 Chitta vritti nirodaha. In a nutshell this means that yoga is the ability to direct the mind without distraction or interruption. Yoga equals sustained attention.

Slow Down: Yoga to Relax and Recharge
Slow Down: Yoga to Relax and Recharge
Are you already leaping into a New Year’s Resolution type of mindset, but haven’t taken enough time to relax after the hectic holiday season? Fostering a balance between action and rest is essential. The “doing” pattern of life is helpful to fulfill our desires and achieve our goals, but if we aren’t mindful, it’s easy to slip into only doing and not being. Why not try a less is more attitude this week? One of yoga’s true gifts is teaching us how to be present––not anticipating the future and not fixating on the past. If we are too focused on what is happening next, we cannot be fully present in what is happening right now. Consider a few of your favorite activities where you’re simply in the flow––running, surfing, gardening, dancing, listening to music or whatever is your perfect state.

Work it Out! Finish 2020 Strong
Work it Out! Finish 2020 Strong
Never in our lifetime have we shared so much together as a global community, yet experienced more solitude. 2020 has been a year of contrasts and for many a year of profound challenge and change––whether you planned on it or not. Whether you were able to spend the holidays with family and friends or were unable to travel, you may have had a tougher time maintaining a sense of balance. Around the holidays, emotions amplify and rise to the surface for many of us. It’s tougher to find that sense of equanimity and as a result this time of year your healthy habits and positive practices may disappear. Instead of stepping onto the mat, you nibble on another cookie or sip more Irish whiskey and suddenly find yourself parked on the couch feeling sluggish. Of course, there’s no reason not to indulge and spoil yourself, but if you feel you’ve overdone it, re-energize with some movement. Self-care is a form of spoiling yourself, right? Go for a brisk walk, turn on some music and dance around your living room, roll out your yoga mat and flow for a few minutes.

Feel the Seasons Change: Big Shifts Inside & Out
Feel the Seasons Change: Big Shifts Inside & Out
Can you feel the transition happening all around you? December 21, 2020, marked the Solstice, the day where the sun stands still and creates the longest night or longest day of the year, depending on where you reside on the planet. A once in a lifetime planetary event occurred on the same night, an event astronomers dub the “Great Conjunction” ––also referred to as the “Christmas Star.” The two planets will appear as a sparkling bright light to the naked eye, shining in the Southwestern sky. This incredible union is the planets’ closest encounter since 1623 and the first time it will be visible since 1226. How remarkable is that? What’s even more helpful is that this intense once in a lifetime experience is a great time to make positive changes in your life and step into optimism for 2021. Even better? This conjunction is in Aquarius, the sign of social change, humanitarian efforts, and justice for all. Sign us up!