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


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!

Create Your Healthiest Spine and Back with Yoga
Create Your Healthiest Spine and Back with Yoga
Have you ever noticed that when you’re worried about money, all of a sudden, your lower back “goes out?” Or you were reprimanded at work and a crick appears in your neck? Of course, suffering a physical injury or the culmination of a lifetime of poor posture causes pain, but what’s happening internally is often the root of external pain. Yoga’s three-pronged focus on physical, emotional, and mental wellness offers back pain relief for every layer of your being. In yogic philosophy, the subtle body is a blueprint of the physical one. The subtle body consists of energy or prana which flows through channels called Nadis. The primary Nadi, the Sushumna Nadi, runs from the Muladhara (Root) Chakra at the base of the spine to the Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra at the crown of the head. Keeping the seven primary Chakras or energy centers balanced is essential to keep our prana flowing freely so we feel invigorated, calm, and pain-free.

Yoga for Abundance & Generosity
Yoga for Abundance & Generosity
“The fastest way to bring more wonderful examples of abundance into your personal experience is to take constant notice of the wonderful things that are already there.” ~ Esther Hicks In the United States, we’re observing Thanksgiving this week, which is usually celebrated with gatherings of family and friends and a bountiful feast. In 2020, this type of celebration may not be possible and many people may be alone. It’s time to shift the focus inward and examine all the gifts you do have, regardless of external circumstances. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude creates more positivity and joy in your life.

Be Easy On Yourself
Be Easy On Yourself
The physical practice of yoga is built around Yoga Sutra II 46 Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means the posture should be a balance of effort and ease or strength and softness. For many of us yogis, it can be more difficult to access the ease and softness. But without these important qualities, you can’t find that sense of balance in your practice and in your life. If you are too rigid, that’s a lack of stability. If you’re too limp, that’s also unstable. Allowing yourself to be gentle and receive can be a challenge, but the benefits are numerous. In yoga, we’re seeking a sense of Samadhi, the state of mind where your attention is clear, focused, unwavering, and relaxed simultaneously. One of the lessons on the yoga journey is discovering the difference between being and doing. In active Yang practices like Ashtanga and Vinyasa, it can be easy to focus on the movement and the strength required to fill out the shape of Virabhadrasana/ Warrior I or Natarajasana/Dancer’s Pose. We are accustomed to working hard, right? But if you push too hard, you’ll fall over or possibly injure yourself. To truly achieve Sthira Sukham Asanam in a pose, it is a dance between relaxing your body and mind, just as much as it is working to ground through your feet and expand your arms up toward the sky.

Yoga to Boost Immunity
Yoga to Boost Immunity
How are you feeling today? Did you get a restful night’s sleep? Are you energized and ready to make the most out of your day? If so, fabulous! That’s an excellent sign your immune system is working optimally. If, however, your sleep has been intermittent and you’re feeling stressed out, you aren’t alone. Here are 4 of the top ways yoga can support and strengthen your immune system and help you stay healthy all season long! Stress is one of the primary factors in a weak immune system. Yoga helps lower your cortisol levels.

Yoga to Stay Grounded and Strong
Yoga to Stay Grounded and Strong
When the world around you feels uncertain, it’s the perfect time to shift your focus and create a sense of stability from the inside out. Steadiness is the quality of strength and grounded energy. Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means the posture should be steady and comfortable. Working on developing this in your yoga practice will aid you in staying centered and rooted in the present moment. By balancing the need for survival and security first, you can become your strongest most grounded self, regardless of external circumstances. The Muladhara or Root Chakra, located at the base of the spine, is the foundation for our physical and energetic bodies and is essential to our sense of stability. Muladhara is the base chakra and addressing it first creates the basis for emotional and physical health.

Vinyasa Flow with Electronic Music: Dance Party!
Vinyasa Flow with Electronic Music: Dance Party!
We don’t know about you, but it’s been a hot minute since we went out dancing! With 2020 keeping us close to home and dance parties closed down, we are itching for something different. This week we’re thrilled to share 4 new Electronic Music Session classes from some global record labels that will complement your practice and allow you to find your flow on a deeper level. We’re ready to synchronize our breath to our movement and add another element to our customary practices. Vinyasa Flow yoga and electronic music can be perfect partners in your quest to dance with your breath, quiet your mind, and soothe your soul. Vinyasa means to place in a special or sacred way and is an excellent way to build strength, balance, flexibility, and connection. This style of yoga focuses on linking breath and movement to create a moving meditation, which often feels like a powerful dance. Vinyasa Flow classes are varied and creative and each one is as unique as each instructor’s individual style and sequencing. Settling into the rhythm and flow helps you find harmony within yourself and with the world around you.

Yoga for Kids
Yoga for Kids
How old were you when you started practicing yoga? If you began as an adult, you know how transformational yoga can be in all aspects of your life. Maybe you stepped onto the mat when you were a child, and if you did––lucky you! Yoga offers a myriad of benefits for your mind, body, and spirit, and for many of us is what helps keep us balanced in our lives. During 2020, many children are home instead of in school and need all the gifts yoga has to offer more than ever. Just as yoga helps develop strength, flexibility, balance, and equanimity for adults, it also offers vital tools for children to live healthier happier lives. One of the primary ways yoga helps children is by encouraging self-love and self-acceptance. Yoga teaches kids more about their own bodies and minds. One of yoga’s messages is to remind us we are all different, yet perfect as we are. If children understand that whatever shape or size they are is acceptable, they may avoid body image pressures that inundate us. If children can learn to love themselves from a young age, they are better equipped to handle all the negative messages society can present to them.

5 Reasons to Practice Yoga First Thing in the Morning:
5 Reasons to Practice Yoga First Thing in the Morning:
Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. -Dalai Lama Any time is a great time for yoga, as long as you can fit your practice into your busy life. Sometimes, despite the best intentions, your day can run away from you. Work and personal matters can take precedence and suddenly, it is bedtime and you didn’t step onto your yoga mat. Here are 5 reasons why practicing yoga first thing in the morning can set you up for your best day.

Yin Yoga for Peacefulness
Yin Yoga for Peacefulness
Peace can become a lens through which you see the world. Be it. Live it. Radiate it out. Peace is an inside job. —Wayne Dyer September 21st is International Day of Peace and an excellent reminder that to find peace, it is imperative to create it from the inside out. One of the greatest lessons yoga teaches us is how tuning into our minds, hearts, and bodies helps us polish the lens through which we view the world. Our perspective is key and even if we aren’t in control of external events, we can gain control of our thoughts and emotions.

Yoga to Improve Your Posture
Yoga to Improve Your Posture
Excellent posture not only keeps your physical body healthy, but also provides the foundation and support you need to maintain emotional and mental balance. Yoga will help you find proper spinal alignment to stand tall and feel your best inside and out. Over the last thirty years, we’ve grown more sedentary as a culture. Many of us spend hours each day sitting, which is the number one contributor to back pain, poor posture, sluggish digestion, and mental fog. To counteract hunched shoulders, tight neck muscles, and lower back pain, take the time to step onto your yoga mat and perfect your posture.

An Introduction to Iyengar Yoga
An Introduction to Iyengar Yoga
Iyengar yoga is a type of yoga that was developed by B.K.S Iyengar - and also named after him. He was one of the people who was partly responsible for bringing the modern practice of yoga to the Western world. B.K.S. Iyengar was born in 1918 in Bellur, India. B.K.S. Iyengar practiced yoga for over 85 years, but began his study under his guru, T. Krishnamacharya - also sometimes known as the Father of modern yoga. B.K.S Iyengar brought the practice of yoga to the western world in the 197’0’s and wrote the book Light on Yoga, which has been a book many yoga students across the world have studied for generations. Iyengar yoga is identified by being similar to the classic Hatha yoga traditions, but with lots of attention on the technical alignment and proper posing. This helps keep the mind drawn inward, but also connected to reality.

Shining a Light on Iyengar Yoga
Shining a Light on Iyengar Yoga
“If the foundation is firm, the building can withstand calamities. The practice of Yoga is the foundation, so that the Self is not shaken under any circumstances.” – B.K.S. Iyengar With the world in a tumultuous state these days, it’s more important than ever to fortify our inner strength and foundation. Iyengar Yoga is an excellent path to create more stability. Along with Pattabhi Jois, B.K.S. Iyengar was one of the two most famous students of the Father of Modern Yoga, T. Krishnamacharya. Both teachers are credited with bringing their interpretation of the Eight-Limbed Yoga Path to the West. If you love Vinyasa Yoga, thank Ashtanga Yoga founder Pattabhi Jois because Vinyasa flow is a derivative of his style. Iyengar went in another direction.

Yoga to Stay Light & Bright
Yoga to Stay Light & Bright
"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within." -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross True happiness and beauty come from within and yoga is a powerful tool to help you shine your own light. When the external world feels heavy or hard, it can be easy to forget all the light and strength inside of us. Yoga reminds us our light is always there––we may have to work to shed the layers of darkness to uncover it, but we have the ability to choose positivity, no matter what. We create our own calm within any storm.

Be Gentle
Be Gentle
You’ve probably heard that the yogic path is simple, but not easy. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali lays out the eight-limbed path of yoga and emphasizes how it takes consistent practice over time. Just like you vary other types of physical training to keep your muscles and bones in optimal shape, varying the intensity of physical asanas will keep you from over-use injuries. If you practice daily, it’s great to adapt your routine to keep your body healthy. Slowing down can be just as powerful as leveling up. In fact, slowing down offers the opportunity to truly focus on your breathing and the sensations of each asana. The true yoga practice is internal. We use the physical practice to quiet our minds and balance our emotions. Of course, some days you really need to move, to have a vigorous flow to get that yoga buzz. But a gentle practice will also help you approach that place of stillness.

Yoga and Music: A Harmonious Match
Yoga and Music: A Harmonious Match
Depending on who you ask, you’ll receive varied answers to whether playing music during yoga helps you get into the flow easier or distracts you. Some people love music that enhances the yoga experience. When teachers offer appropriately energizing songs to boost the students’ mood and complement active asanas or play relaxing, calming music to aid in quieting the mind, the overall class can be just that much more impactful. Of course, there’s an art to creating flow in yoga both in instruction and playlists. Here a few benefits of music and yoga together:

Branch Out: New Styles of Yoga to Try
Branch Out: New Styles of Yoga to Try
When is the last time you tried something different on your yoga mat? We all have our favorite styles of yoga and it’s easy to find your routine has morphed into a rut. This week, we’re here to offer some variety to help you avoid a practice plateau. There isn’t an identical path for any of us. We’re all unique. Why not branch out and experience something new? Some people claim that their yoga is the “true” yoga and everything else is not yoga. Whose path is the right one? Is there a right one? If the end result is that you uncover your best self, you shed the layers weighing you down and shine bright, isn’t that actually the “right” path for you? What really matters is how you feel during and after your yoga practice.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.