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


9 Physical & Psychological Benefits of Forward Folds
9 Physical & Psychological Benefits of Forward Folds
In some ways, every family of yoga postures has their own unique personality and set of benefits. While there are countless poses and variations, there are some overarching categories of yoga poses, or families, and they include backbends, twists, inversions, balancing poses, arm balances and forward folds, amongst others. These families of postures each have their own set of alignment principles and benefits both physically, psychologically and energetically. In simpler terms, each family of poses make us feel a different way. It can be fascinating to not only examine yoga's overall effect of us, but how specific types of poses provide specific benefits. You will feel quite different leaving a class where you've done predominantly twists, versus a yoga class designed around arm balancing. Physically, you'll emphasize and work certain parts of the body more performing certain poses. Energetically, each pose also has a unique effect on our mind and mood. Forward bends, also called forward folds, are yoga postures where you hinge forward at your hips. There are many forward folds, both standing and seated, that are commonly practiced in various forms across all styles of yoga. Common forward folds in yoga include, Paschimotanasana, Uttanasana, and Prasarita Padotanasana. What makes these poses unique? Let's take a closer look at these postures, and their power to transform our bodies and mind.

Yoga for Legs: Create a Powerful Foundation & Get Strong from the Ground Up!
Yoga for Legs: Create a Powerful Foundation & Get Strong from the Ground Up!
In yoga practice, as in life, it’s vital to create a healthy foundation if you want to be strong. Without a fortified and solid base, it’s impossible to progress to higher levels. Consider if a skyscraper or even a two-story building is built without properly preparing the soil beneath it: any shift in the earth, excess of rain, or other changes can cause the structure to collapse. Just like an architect plans a safe, strong building that will withstand the test of time, yogis need to create strong bodies, resistant to injury, from the ground up. A good yoga instructor will teach standing yoga poses beginning with the position of the feet and legs. Without the feet in proper alignment, the knees can be stressed, the pelvis misaligned and the spine compromised. Standing poses are excellent for creating strong flexible legs and creating the proper balance of stability and mobility in the hips and pelvis.

Vegan Summer Strawberry Cheesecakes
Vegan Summer Strawberry Cheesecakes
These type of cakes are often called vegan cheesecakes, but I call these cakes strawberry cakes, because that’s what they are. The preparation of the cake is relatively simple, but you need to be patient because you need to wait for the cashews to soak and then the cake to set. You also need a very good blender to get the consistency nice and smooth. Once you have the cake ready, you can just keep this in the freezer and thaw it whenever you have unexpected guests or merely overwhelming feeling that you want something sweet. And as far as the sweets go – for the cake it is healthy too! Vegan Summer Strawberry Cheese Cake

Why We Need Bedtime Routines: Treat Yourself Like a Grown-Up Baby
Why We Need Bedtime Routines: Treat Yourself Like a Grown-Up Baby
I remember the days when I was working in an office for 40+ hours per week. I would be completely exhausted in the evening, and know I needed a good night’s sleep so I could rock at life the next day. Since I felt too tired for evening activities much of the time, I would pop on some Netflix and binge out on my favorite TV shows, which would lure me in, and the next thing I knew it was 1 AM when I needed to wake up at 6! Sound familiar? I’m pretty sure most of us have been there. Well I’ve gotta tell you what I've discovered through many of my own struggle days. My nighttime routine makes all the difference!

Simple Tips to Become More Minimalist
Simple Tips to Become More Minimalist
Decluttering and adopting a minimalist lifestyle is a great way to bring calm into your life. However, deciding to become more minimalist is a lot easier than actually doing it! It’s not as easy as simply decluttering - minimalism is a lifestyle change that can affect all aspects of your life. Here’s our top tips to start on the minimalism trend. Have fun with exploring these. Remember, there is no correct way to be a minimalist. It will look different for everyone, so be open in finding the lifestyle adjustments that work best for you. Get clear on why you want to be a minimalist Make a list of all the reasons why you want to become minimalist.

Why Shifting into Slow Gear Helps You Grow
Why Shifting into Slow Gear Helps You Grow
It’s universally acknowledged, that life feels too busy these days. While technology, growth, and progress are the way of the world, the acceleration of the daily pace of life can be exhausting. Between work, family, and fun, we’re often juggling a zillion tasks a day in order to “get it all done” or check off the boxes on our to-do lists. Slow down for a moment and see how you feel right now. Are you peaceful, joyous, and focused or frazzled? Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra1.2, Citta Vritti Nirodha, is the premise around which the entire Yoga Sutras are built. Yoga is all about calming the fluctuations of the mind or about learning to direct your attention where you want it to go. In our daily life, if we are slaves to the cult of “busy,” we’re at the mercy of distractions and lack of focus. Stepping onto your yoga mat is the first phase of eliminating distractions and slowing down those crazy thoughts careening around in your head

Fresh Start Green Juice
Fresh Start Green Juice
We love a fresh start. Any chance we can get to clear out the old and bring in the new is an opportunity to celebrate. After all, that’s what cleansing is all about, isn’t it? Recently I’ve found myself organizing and refreshing just about everything I can get my hands on…all my tax receipts are all in order (hooray!), my kitchen knives are all sharpened, I’ve donated a large box of toys and books that my kids are no longer interested in, I bought a bunch of new bins and have taken charge of a messy closet…and let me tell you, it feels good! Really good!

6 Tips to Meditate Anywhere
6 Tips to Meditate Anywhere
It’s been scientifically proven that meditation helps improve well-being physically, mentally, and emotionally. For me, it feels like meditating connects me to the parts of myself that are powerful and clear, and lessens the parts of myself more prone to struggle. However to get the benefits of meditation, one must actually mediate. The form, format, duration of one’s meditation is less important, than the action and consistency of actually meditating. You don’t have to be on a certain cushion, or in a certain place at a specific time of day, to make this practice a consistent and powerful part of your life. Unfortunately, many don’t meditate because of a lack of time, or not having enough alone time. Luckily, you can meditate more easily than you might think in some unexpected or public places. Oftentimes, you can do it discreetly without anyone noticing!

How Yoga Helps Cleanse Your Body & the Best Poses for Detoxing
How Yoga Helps Cleanse Your Body & the Best Poses for Detoxing
Yoga has been said to have a wealth of health benefits, one of which is it’s detoxifying ability. But can yoga really help you to detox your body, through twisting poses and deep breathing? The answer is yes - but not alone. Your body already has its own detoxification system running and in place, and practicing yoga can only help this along. However there are some myths the come along with talking about yoga and detoxing, but here’s how yoga practice actually aid detoxification. As with all physical exercise, yoga will help the body’s natural detoxing systems function the way they’re supposed to. These natural detoxing systems consist of the body’s lymphatic system and blood flow, and digestive organs.

Let it Go with Twists
Let it Go with Twists
When you’re feeling heavy, congested, or blocked, nothing helps you rejuvenate as quickly as a few cleansing yoga twists. How can simple yoga postures help you clear your mind and get your digestion and circulation flowing? Twists help restore and maintain your spine’s range of motion, improve flexibility and mobility, and encourage your liver and kidneys to work at their optimum levels. All of these benefits combine to help you clear out what you no longer need and create space for what you do want. Physically, our spines are designed to work in three different ranges of motion: front to back (sagittal plane), side to side (lateral plane), and rotation (transverse plane.) The odds are you don’t do a lot of twisting throughout the course of your day. Ignoring this vital spinal movement can lead to imbalances in your muscles and connective tissues and create back pain and general stiffness and loss of range of motion of your spine. Twisting more frequently encourages a healthy spine, supple muscles, and massages internal organs.

Vegan Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
Vegan Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
There must be thousands of banana bread recipes out there in the world, but I still feel the need to share another one. I have been looking for a good plant-based recipe for a long time, but all the recipes I found always contained a load of added sugar or preparing a flax egg or something third I didn’t like, so I figured out that I don’t follow any recipes and figure out my own recipe instead. This is not the first time I just decide to wing it, and I must admit that I am not very good at following other peoples’ recipes anyway. Even if I choose to follow a recipe, I still somehow manage to switch up half the ingredients and change all the amounts. This is also, why I decided to get blogging years ago, to keep track of the recipes that work for me – with all the changes I always made I wasn’t able to remember anymore which changes I had made and which ones actually worked. Because not all the changes work, especially when baking. Back to winging it – this doesn’t necessarily always work either.

What is a Reframe?
What is a Reframe?
Glass half empty or half full. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Life is what you make it. A silver lining, a blessing in disguise. Seeing the positive in life has been a constant struggle for me. I was that melancholic child, that broody teenager, and that unpredictable young adult. With an artistic temperament, even as an adult I’ve appreciated the existential tenderness of darkness and despair. And it’s true that there’s much darkness in our experience on earth. A lot of shitty things happen to a lot of people. We can’t change this fact. But we can change the meaning about what happens to us and others. This is called Reframing. Reframing is about changing the meaning of an event or experience, essentially putting a new frame around it. Reframing causes a perspective shift, and the practice can lead to greater empowerment over a situation that once felt disempowering.

Benefits of Advanced Yoga Twists & How to Get There
Benefits of Advanced Yoga Twists & How to Get There
Yoga twists can have a wealth of benefits for your core, posture, and organs. These yoga poses can vary from the simple to the advanced variations, and although advanced twists can be difficult to work up to, they’re worth it for the health benefits alone. Twists are yoga postures that move the shoulders to face the opposite direction of the hips. Different twists target different areas, such as the upper, middle or lower sections of your torso, and each advanced twist has their own benefits. Here’s a low down on the benefits of advanced twists, and some tips on how to get there. Improves digestion

Are You Living Your Life in Alignment?
Are You Living Your Life in Alignment?
What does it mean to live your life in alignment with your own truth, your soul’s purpose, and the world around you? When you’re truly living in a state of alignment, it means you’ve taken the time to slow down and pay attention to how you are experiencing life. Really pay attention. If you’ve examined how you are feeling in all aspects of your life, you’ll know if you are living a life disconnected from the real you. Living in alignment with your authentic self means you feel comfortable in your skin. It means you feel energized and excited about the work you’ve chosen to do, about the people you’ve populated your life with, and about the way you inhabit the world. Close your eyes and tune into how you’re feeling right now. Well, close your eyes after you’ve read this paragraph, that is. Ask yourself: are you surrounded with people who inspire you or people who drag you down? Are you in a career that lights you up and fulfills you or do you dread going to work? What about your personal relationships with others and yourself? Signs like anxiety, boredom, lethargy, and even anger point to living your life for reasons other than your fulfilling your desires. If you can’t honestly say you’re living your best life today, take a moment to explore how you can achieve it.

Sautéed Japanese Hakurei Turnips with Bok Choy
Sautéed Japanese Hakurei Turnips with Bok Choy
Summer is here and we’re well into the growing season here in Colorado, and we LOVE all the amazing fresh veggies we can find locally at our farmer’s market and CSA. Signing up for a CSA (community-supported agriculture) is a great way to eat based on what’s in season and try new fruits and veggies you might not be familiar with. Most CSAs provide their members with a weekly or bi-weekly selection of their most recent harvests, so you know you’re getting the freshest veggies available. Plus, the selections are solely based on what’s in season right now, so you might discover a new favorite veggie! That’s how we ended up creating this recipe! Our most recent CSA box included these beautiful Japanese Hakurei turnips, and we knew we needed to come up with a recipe to feature them.

6 Significant Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
6 Significant Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Pregnancy is one of the most amazing experiences women go through. However, it is also an experience that takes a huge toll on your body as you go through drastic changes that no one could prepare you for. Having a healthy pregnancy and delivery is dependent on how well you take care of yourself during the nine months you carry your little one in your belly. Staying fit and active is one of the ways that pregnant women are advised to try in a bid to have a healthy pregnancy. Truth be told, there will be days your fitness game will not be on; either because you don't feel so well or you simply don't feel like it. Also, you may not want to engage in any exercises out of the fear that you could harm the baby in your tummy.

Sweat it Out!
Sweat it Out!
Depending upon where you live, breaking out into a sweat when you step out your front door may happen regularly or never. If you reside in a hot, humid climate, you probably are accustomed to glistening and glowing. Sweat’s primary purpose is to help you maintain your body temperature as close to 98.6 as possible. Put another way, sweat is your body’s built-in air conditioning system. Sweating is beneficial for many reasons above and beyond cooling you down. When you engage in a vigorous workout or power Vinyasa class like the ones featured this week, one of the benefits is kick-starting your circulation and ensuring efficient blood flow to oxygenate and fuel your muscles and organs. Increased blood flow and heart rate work to maintain a healthy metabolism and optimal level of fitness. When your vital bodily functions are moving efficiently, your immune system gets a boost. Often, sweating is touted as a method of detoxification.

The Scientific Benefits of Sweating
The Scientific Benefits of Sweating
Many people aren’t aware that sweating is actually good for you. Working up a sweat can release built up tension, refresh your skin, boost your endorphins, and release toxins from the body! There’s also other more unknown benefits such as health benefits and decreased recovery times. We’ve put together some of the scientific benefits of sweating to encourage you to build up a sweat this week! What is Sweat? The human body contains around 4 million sweat glands! These excrete a mix of water, salt, proteins, amino acids - aka sweat. The composition of this can change based on a number of things, such as hormones, bacteria and viruses in the body. Sweat can tell us a lot about our health, and how our sweat glands function. We sweat mainly to regulate temperature, to cool the body in heat and in stressful situations. This can be triggered by anxiety, elevated body temperature and working out. Sweat also detoxes the body. The Benefits of Sweating

Light Chocolate Mousse
Light Chocolate Mousse
Have you ever met somebody who does not like chocolate? I remember meeting one girl who was not fond of it years ago, but this is also the only time I have seen anybody who does not like it. As a general rule, every dessert that has chocolate in it vanishes from the table within minutes. Chocolate in itself is not unhealthy at all. Having a little square of dark chocolate a day even has proven health benefits. However, the chocolate really needs to be dark to be healthy. Most of the chocolate bars, loaded with sugar and different additives, do not qualify as healthy. I usually choose the chocolate that contains at least 75%, sometimes even more than 90% of cocoa! The chocolate mousse, usually, is full of everything unhealthy – heavy cream and white sugar. But here is good news – the recipe I share with you today only contains ingredients good for you and I let you be the judge of the taste, but in my humble opinion, it is just perfect.

Lessons on Yoga and Life from My Computer Rage
Lessons on Yoga and Life from My Computer Rage
I recently bought myself a new computer and became so caught up in the frustration of trying to transfer information from the old to the new that I almost found myself in tears. I am mostly a calm and balanced person, who does lots of yoga and uses breathe to get through life’s tougher times and yet when a little piece of technology doesn’t play according to plan, all that practice seemed to go out the window. Feelings of frustration and lack of control ruled as I did what the manual said to do, waited hours, and the desired effect never came. What did come, was clenched fists, shoulders around my ears, a sore jaw from clenching, back stiffness from sitting too long and a very agitated mind and mood. I felt jumpy as I lost connection with my breathe. I then got annoyed when I tried to breathe perspective back in and moments later lost the awareness. Does this sound familiar to any of you, when technology seems not to work how we want it to? I was so far from the grateful girl I try to be. Hours spent scratching my head from my computer malfunctioning, certainly was not going along with the idealistic plan that I had created of my perceived future. Rather than being present, letting go of the ideals and attachments and accepting the truth of the situation, I was going into a tailspin of frustration. Then, I started to see things began to work technologically, and I started to have lightbulb moments about what computers can teach us as humans.

6 Simple Solstice Rituals. Ideas for Honoring the Change of Seasons.
6 Simple Solstice Rituals. Ideas for Honoring the Change of Seasons.
What is the solstice? If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, the solstice is the first day of Summer, the longest day of the year, and the days will begin to get shorter for the next 6 months until the winter solstice. If you are in the Southern Hemisphere, the solstice is the first day of Winter, the shortest day of the year and the days will slowly start to get longer. When is the solstice? The solstice occurs on Friday, June 21st. Why does it symbolize? Beyond just daylight hours, the solstice is a powerful time for reflection, intention setting, and feeling your place in the natural world as the seasons change.

Learn Yoga Massage: Tap into the Power of Touch
Learn Yoga Massage: Tap into the Power of Touch
Did you know that the first sense we become aware of as babies is touch? More than sight, smell, taste, and sound, touch is what helps us feel a true sense of connection with the people around us. There’s nothing quite like a hug from a friend you haven’t seen in a while, holding hands with your partner or child, or simply receiving a pat on the back. In certain cultures, kissing on the cheek is a common greeting, while other countries might frown upon even a handshake. Within your family or group of friends, touching could be common or non-existent. No matter the environment, many of us can go through an entire day or days without touching anyone at all. Lack of touch correlates with feeling disconnected, and we’re here with some new ways to change that. Touch is vital for overall health and wellness on a long-term basis.

Simple Soba Bowl with Seared Salmon
Simple Soba Bowl with Seared Salmon
Sometimes the simplest meals are the best, and this bowl full of goodness is a perfect example. The recipe is even simpler to prepare when you have cooked your soba noodles in advance. I often cook a larger batch of chickpeas, lentils, or rice over the weekend and then use throughout the week for my meals. I would never consider cooking pasta in advance, because pasta cooked yesterday…. well, it is just not very nice. Soba noodles, on the other hand, work very well cooled down and in fact, I sometimes deliberately cook soba in advance for chilled salads on hot summer days. It is important not to overcook the soba and mix it with a drop of oil, so the noodles would not stick together. For this recipe, however, you do not need to chill the noodles – they are just as good warm.

Yoga & Pranyama for Drivers: 5 Techniques to Stay Calm and Focused on the Road
Yoga & Pranyama for Drivers: 5 Techniques to Stay Calm and Focused on the Road
Having a peaceful mind despite a sometimes chaotic environment while driving is a hard job. But, with the right guidelines, you can gain composure more than you can ever realize. Read on how yoga can help you to stay calm and focused on the road. Getting stuck in traffic is one of the most displeasing situations to find yourself in, especially, if you’re late. In such an occasion, at the slightest provocation, you can easily insult your fellow drivers, or even raise your middle finger at them, or at the least, feel stressed, stuck and frustrated. Yoga can help alleviate such stressful moments and work to get back into a place of love and compassion, to replace any negative feelings the arise because of traffic and road rage. Driving with a calm mind is not always an easy task. Yoga is recommended as a remedy for stress. With practice, you can be in a position to be elevated, and the stress caused by traffic experience can be transformed into joyous and healthy driving experience. While being in a state of joy and love while driving, might sound impossible, it is possile however, and feels better than feeling mad or stressed in your car. Here are 6 ways that help stay calm and focused on the road.

6 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Strength Training
6 Reasons to Add Yoga to Your Strength Training
Yoga is well known as a calming and relaxing practice, so if your fitness goals are more performance and aesthetically based, you might have dismissed yoga as not being useful to you. There is a common misconception that yoga is purely for those looking for spiritual or relaxing exercise practice. However, more and more gyms, studios and trainers are incorporating yoga into their everyday fitness practice, as it’s a great exercise to add to your regime to see results. Yoga is a very important part of strength training. When used in combination with other more high impact exercises, yoga can help you to increase your endurance, increase your strength, improve your posture and technique, and improve your balance as well as your flexibility. Adding yoga to your strength training will help you achieve your peak performance, as well as calm your mind and improve your mental balance. Still need convincing? Here’s our top reasons why you should add yoga to your strength training. 1. Increased Flexibility