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


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.

Yoga for Mental Health Wellness
Yoga for Mental Health Wellness
Yoga is an incredible tool for our health––physical, emotional, and mental. Yoga can help manage anger, anxiety, depression, and other common psychological conditions many of us experience. This week, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of the tangible ways yoga can not just open up your hips, but also positively impact your mental health. Let’s start with exploring that intangible feeling you experience after yoga––calm, clear, energized, and happy. How does mindful breath and purposeful movement translate into a major adjustment in your mind? One of the primary reasons is because deliberate movement and breathing patterns affect your nervous system in a positive manner. Yoga helps us shift from fight or flight or a reactive state to rest and digest, a receptive state of being. When we are reacting from a place of fear, anger, or anxiety, we are operating from our fight or flight response––shallow breathing, accelerated heart rate, and stress. When our autonomic nervous system is out of balance, we have a difficult time managing our emotions. Ever over-reacted and lashed out at a loved one or a stranger for no apparent reason? Ever noticed that response doesn’t happen after a satisfying yoga practice?

Yoga to Practice with Family & Friends
Yoga to Practice with Family & Friends
“Only through our connectedness to others can we really know and enhance the self. And only through working on the self can we begin to enhance our connectedness to others.” - Harriet Goldhor Lerner Every day is a perfect one to foster your connections with the world around you. Many places in the world, including the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Germany, celebrate Mother's Day on May 10th––we know our community of yogis in the UK celebrate in March, but why not celebrate again? It’s a great way to show appreciation and love for your mother or anyone that is a source of support in your life. Practicing yoga together is a wonderful way to spend time with loved ones, whether it is in honor of Mother’s Day or just any given Sunday. Yoga is centered on creating connection or union––with yourself, with others, and with the universe around us.

Yoga for a Healthy Back
Yoga for a Healthy Back
The question isn’t whether you’ve experienced back pain, but whether you are one of the lucky ones who haven’t. Millions of people around the world suffer from aches and injuries to their backs on a regular basis. The good news is that yoga helps with more than the muscles and ligaments, which may be strained, sprained, or simply unbalanced. Often, the root of the pain is grounded in emotional or mental issues and yoga addresses the physical, emotional, and mental causes When you are hurting, ranging from a mild inconvenience to complete incapacitation, it is important to distinguish between acute pain and chronic pain. Acute back pain is intense and lasts from a few days to several weeks. It’s generally due to a fall, lifting a heavy object improperly, a car accident, and resolves within six to eight weeks. During this stage, rest and apply heat and ice to ease inflammation until you are ready to perform gentle exercise. Walking is an excellent option. Chronic pain lasts longer than three months and is more complicated. Yoga can provide temporary and potentially permanent relief. Our mind and body work together and cannot be separated. Only yoga restores harmony on every level. Physically, in addition to stretching and strengthening the spine, yoga helps you:

The History of Earth Day
The History of Earth Day
Earth day is celebrated on the twenty second of April each year, and has become the largest non-religious observance around the world. Earth day had humble beginnings as a day to preserve the environment in the United States, and has now become the largest push for a cleaner and healthier planet - celebrated across the entire world. Earth Day is important to show that everyone can make a difference to the planet in a positive way. History of Earth Day During the 1970’s, the United States was experiencing a period of division, both economically and politically. During this time, the country was divided over it’s participation in the Vietnam War, and at the same time the economy was experiencing a boom. This boom however, had an adverse effect on the environment. Industries such as automobiles, chemical plants and oil were seeing huge growth, but that also went hand in hand with the production of air pollution and waste. Back then, the health of the environment wasn’t at the forefront of our minds like it is today, and many people were unaware of the damages this economical growth could have on the planet.

Earth Day: Connect with the Earth
Earth Day: Connect with the Earth
On April 22, 2020, the world unites together to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day. This celebration of a universal commitment to protecting the earth can be embodied in the yogic concept of Ahimsa or Non-harming. Yoga practice, comprised of the earth’s elements of earth, air, fire, water, and ether, naturally honors our planet. Use Earth Day to remind yourself of your connection to it. Fifty years ago, Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator, was shocked at the damage from an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. The event ignited a fire in him for action to protect our environment. Once people saw how smog, oil spills, rivers so polluted they burst into flames, and damage from corporate waste were destroying the earth, they joined the cause. On April 22, 1970, 10% percent of the U.S. population took to the streets in hundreds of cities to protest environmental and demand change for our planet. Earth Day is the result.

Quality over Quantity: Short and Sweet Yoga Practices Can Change Your Life
Quality over Quantity: Short and Sweet Yoga Practices Can Change Your Life
We all want to enjoy the benefits from a regular yoga practice, like a better mood, vibrant energy, and a stronger more supple body. And a consistent daily practice, however brief, can change your life in profound ways you may not have contemplated. According to the Yoga Sutras, practicing yoga is also considered the path to avoiding future suffering. Yoga Sutra 2.16- heyam duhkham anagatam, in the second chapter of the sutras on Sadhana or practice, loosely translated means, “pain yet to come is to be avoided.” What exactly does Patanjali mean in this thread of yogic wisdom? Essentially, we do have the ability to avoid or minimize future pain and suffering through our routine yoga practice. In other words, what we do today can help alleviate our future suffering. Our human experience includes pain, but through yoga you can shift your perspective and what you may have perceived as pain changes.

Yoga for Lightness
Yoga for Lightness
The world is a delicate balance between light and dark. Yin and yang. At this moment in time, most of us are experiencing a weight we’ve never shouldered before. Feeling overwhelmed with the constant bombardment of news, the new reality we’re living in, and the sense our world is forever changed doesn’t exactly encourage a feeling of well-being. Although many events are outside of our personal control, we do have the ability to manage our personal reactions and find balance. Yoga is an excellent tool to help us lighten the emotional and mental impact of all these changes and shift our perception. We all see the world through a unique lens shaped by our life and personal experiences. Sometimes we need a little polishing of the lens when it appears cloudy or dark. When we move energy through our bodies with certain asanas and breathing techniques, we can release stuck energy and alleviate patterns that aren’t serving us. This week, we’re here to offer some classes to help you lift your spirits.

Yoga for Every Body
Yoga for Every Body
What do a person who just recovered from back surgery, a woman just cleared to return to exercise after giving birth, a triathlete, and a dancer have in common? They are all people who can do yoga. Yoga is inclusive and accessible, no matter who you are. There is no such thing as a “yoga body.” If you have a body, you can do yoga. It’s as simple as that. The Father of Modern Yoga, T. Krishnamacharya is credited with creating what we know as Vinyasa yoga. One of his guiding principles was "Teach what is good for an individual." Initially, he taught Hatha yoga to young boys in his school in Mysore, India. For many years, women weren’t allowed to practice or teach yoga. In 1937 this all changed when T. Krishnamacharya, admitted Indra Devi into his school. She was the first woman student and the first Western woman in an Indian ashram.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy
Don’t Worry, Be Happy
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy'. They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life.” - John Lennon Each and every one of us has the capacity for true joy and happiness, despite prevailing circumstances surrounding us. We each deserve happiness! Sometimes, when life events challenge us, we can become weighed down with worry and anxiety and dis-ease. If you’re too focused on the past, which cannot be altered, you can sink into depression. If you’re too focused on the future, you can become anxious. Learning to ground yourself in the present moment is key to happiness.

Yoga for Weight Loss: Flow and Let it Go
Yoga for Weight Loss: Flow and Let it Go
Have you ever felt out of balance: bloated and cluttered, without a clear mental focus? Yoga can help you lighten up and feel more energized and productive. Louise Hay, best-selling self-help author, connects all physical symptoms in the body to underlying emotional causes, and says weight-gain or excess weight, is symbolic of clinging to what no longer serves us. A regular yoga practice doesn’t simply make you look lean and flexible, but also helps you feel that way from the inside out. Don’t worry, we’re not here to tell you to strive for a “yoga body” like the images splashed all over social media. Yogis come in all shapes and sizes. Yoga is for every body and there’s a style and type of practice that works for each individual.

Yoga for Your 6th Chakra: Ajna. Trust Your Intuition
Yoga for Your 6th Chakra: Ajna. Trust Your Intuition
Do you trust your intuition? Take a moment and consider the last few major decisions you made in your life. Did you feel secure following your initial instincts or did you second guess yourself? Learning to believe in your intuition and perceive your world clearly is one of the greatest benefits of a balanced Ajna Chakra or Third Eye. The Ajna Chakra is the sixth of seven main Chakras running along the Sushumna Nadi, an energy channel mirroring the spine. Nadis are part of the Subtle Body, a blueprint of the physical body.

How to Move from Beginner to Intermediate & Advanced in Yoga
How to Move from Beginner to Intermediate & Advanced in Yoga
If you can do every pose in a yoga class effortlessly, you're in the wrong class. While it's important to be content with where you're at, it's just as important to keep growing, evolving, and pushing your boundaries. It can be easy to get complacent even in yoga, doing the same poses with the same teachers. However, you may be scared to take the plunge, and are wondering how to move from beginner to an intermediate yoga class. Here’s our top tips on how to move up in your yoga practice. Be Consistent

Time to up level. Intermediate classes & up
Time to up level. Intermediate classes & up
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 You’ve probably heard that how we show up on our yoga mats is a reflection of how we show up the other twenty-three hours of our day. This week’s classes will encourage you to check in and evaluate whether it’s time to up level your practice and step out of your comfort zone or if you are right where you are supposed to be today. Okay yogis, it’s time for a little reflection and self-assessment. Take a few moments to ponder your yoga practice over the last three to six months. Make some allowances for the holiday season, but be honest with yourself. Have you settled into a comfortable routine––too comfortable a routine? When is the last time you had a breakthrough in your yoga or meditation practice? Are you fully present for your practice or have you found yourself in autopilot mode, where you’re simply going through the motions as opposed to continuing to grow?

5 Ways to Stay Inspired On and Off the Mat
5 Ways to Stay Inspired On and Off the Mat
It’s easy to fall into the habit of always taking the same yoga classes and teachers, walking or running the same routes. Suddenly, you find yourself uninspired and unmotivated in not just your practice, but also your life. Remember, your yoga practice mirrors your life off the mat. The key is to stay open-minded and curious and always keep learning. We’re here with some tips to help! 1. Venture Out of Your Comfortable Routine Try a new teacher, new class, or new style of yoga this week. We all know consistency in your yoga practice is crucial, but sometimes we fall into a rut. If you find yourself dragging your feet to get to class, try something outside of your comfort zone. If your go to practice is Vinyasa or Ashtanga, try a Yin or Iyengar class or vice-versa. Even if the class you choose isn’t one that you’ll return to, it will give you a renewed appreciation for your usual choices. And you may learn something new by slowing down or stepping it up.

Balance is a Life Skill
Balance is a Life Skill
Happy New Year and Happy New Decade! Now is the perfect time to assess whether your life feels in balance or if it’s time for a few tweaks to your routine. Except what looks like balance today could be very different than it was even a few short months ago. Our yoga practice mirrors what’s happening during the other twenty-three hours of our day. By tapping into yogic principles, you can find the perfect balance for you at this particular time in your life. In our physical Hatha yoga practice, we seek to balance the masculine solar energy (‘Ha’) and (‘tha’) the feminine lunar energy that exists within all of us. By following the guiding principle of Yoga Sutra 2.46, Sthira Sukham Asanam, which means the posture should be steady and comfortable, we are working with the principles of effort and ease. In this way, your yoga asana and pranayama practices will bring your physical body into symmetry and sustain your mental focus. By finding balance on your yoga mat, you can create a sense of wholeness in your life.

Holiday Season Recharge
Holiday Season Recharge
How are you feeling today? We’re still in the midst of the holiday season and if you’re like many of us, your typical routines have receded in the rearview. Don’t feel guilty if you’ve abandoned your usual healthy workout routine or eaten a few dozen frosted sugar cookies washed down with crisp champagne. Life is meant to be savored, enjoyed, and lived in the present moment. Sometimes this might be the only chance you’ve got to spend time with family, see old friends, or simply hibernate. But if you’ve abandoned your usual exercise, yoga, and diet, you may be feeling lethargic and heavier than usual. When your body feels bloated, your mind and emotions can also feel slower and foggier. To counteract these weighty tamasic sensations, see if you can carve out some time to recharge your body’s natural cleansing powers. What do you need in this moment to feel more like yourself until you return to your habitual routine?

5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Solstice
5 Ways to Harness the Power of the Solstice
One of the most powerful ways to manifest change in our lives is by aligning with nature and stepping into its flow. On December 21, 2019, the last Solstice of the decade occurs. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the longest day of the year and the shortest night. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is the longest night of the year and wherever you live, this momentous day marks the time to pause and reflect and renew our energy. While the world is shifts and transforms, it’s the perfect time to assess how you want to shift and transform individually. Here are 3 ways to harness the power of nature in your own life: 1. Go Outside!

Focus on Strong Foundations: Revisit the Basics for Your Best Yoga Practice
Focus on Strong Foundations: Revisit the Basics for Your Best Yoga Practice
Are you seeking to find your best yoga practice? Often, the most powerful way to manifest transformation in your life and your yoga practice is to stop wherever you are and assess the strength of your foundation. Just like you can’t build a home that will last for generations on unstable soil, you can’t build a sustainable yoga practice by focusing only on how it looks or feels on the surface. This week hit the pause button and dig deeper to ensure your foundation is solid. If you’ve been rolling out your yoga mat for a while, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of just focusing on learning new skills or taking every asana into its most advanced variation. Practicing this way isn’t necessarily the path of becoming an advanced yogi. In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, cultivating an enduring yoga practice was compared to being a gardener or a farmer. Planting seeds and tending the soil on a consistent basis is key for successful growth. A healthy lifelong yoga practice at times isn’t apparent from looking solely on the surface. The strength stems from the roots, beneath the soil.

It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress
It’s All About the Nervous System: Try Yoga to Relieve Stress
We’ve all been burned out and exhausted and not sure how to cope at some point in our lives. Whether it is looming deadlines, emotional demands, climate change, political battles, family drama––the result is the same. Sometimes juggling all the challenges and all the wonderful gifts in our lives can feel overwhelming and we’re not sure how to feel better. Here’s how: Yoga can help lower your stress levels and your blood pressure because it’s an excellent practice to calm your nervous system. By combining physical asanas or postures with Pranayama or controlled breathing techniques, yoga can have a profound impact on your nervous system. When we are stressed out, our adrenal glands are working overtime and we’re often in a state of “fight or flight,” which doesn’t allow for adequate rest and recovery. Over time, if we fall into this type of pattern of constantly being in heightened over-active mode, our bodies and minds begin to suffer. As you’ve heard over and over, yoga offers a three-pronged approach to improving your life: physical, mental, and spiritual. While taking your usual sweaty Vinyasa or Power class will definitely impact your mind and heart, sometimes slowing down a bit and taking a more mellow class can give you more of the mental stress relief you’re craving. Our parasympathetic nervous system is designed to soothe and lower our stress levels. Certain styles of yoga, like Yin and Restorative, emphasize postures that can reset your nervous system in minutes. Gentle Hatha classes also focus more on unwinding and relaxing you. Of course, you’re releasing tightness and tension from your muscles, but you’re also soothing your brain.