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


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.

Goat Cheese & Sage Scalloped Potatoes
Goat Cheese & Sage Scalloped Potatoes
Scalloped potatoes are a classic Thanksgiving dish, but are traditionally loaded with heavy cream, cheese, and flour. Our recipe is an up-leveled version that tastes just as good as you remember grandma making. This recipe falls under our 80:20 eating, as we keep potatoes, yeast, and goat cheese off our plates while cleansing. However, this recipe could be easily modified to be more cleanse-friendly by leaving out the yeast, substituting our Vegan Cashew Cheese for the goat cheese, and swapping out the potatoes for another tender root veggie, like rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, or even golden beets – or mix it up with a combo of your favorites! Do you have a favorite holiday recipe you’d like us to give a Conscious Cleanse makeover? Let us know in the comments below. We love hearing from our community!

How to Prepare for a Yoga Vacation
How to Prepare for a Yoga Vacation
A yoga retreat is a nice opportunity to take a step back from the distractions of daily life. They also help you focus on and immerse yourself in your yoga practice, while also experiencing new places with new people. As rejuvenating as this experience can be, many find the idea of a retreat slightly intimidating. Yes, for some, even a retreat may seem daunting at first, as many wonder if it's really a relaxing vacation or a challenge that puts you too far outside your comfort zone. Here's a few handy tips and tricks to help you get the best out of a yoga vacation and feel ready to immerse yourself in yoga and travel. Pick the right retreat Your experience all depends on the retreat you choose, as different retreats have different areas of emphasis and intensity. Some are more yoga focused, some have more time for sightseeing and others are more about delicious food. Others incorporate other things like meditation, reiki, time in nature or even wine tasting and cooking classes. Some are more of a vacation and others are more serious about yoga. If you're craving discipline and practicing multiple challenging yoga classes each day, there's a retreat for you. If you want a vacation on the beach with nice relaxing yoga class as an addition, there's a retreat out there for you also. Make sure you look around and find the retreat that suits you best. Some are more of a vacation and others are more serious about yoga. At most retreats, all classes and activities optional, which means you get to choose your own adventure and are not confined to a strict schedule either.

Ways Stress Can Impact Your Health and How to Fight It
Ways Stress Can Impact Your Health and How to Fight It
We’ve all experienced stress once or twice (or more) in our lives. It’s a natural physical and mental reaction to life's experiences. Anything can trigger stress, from work responsibilities to serious life events or external factors. For in the moment, short term experiences, stress can actually be beneficial to your health, by helping you cope with some potentially serious situations. Your body responds to feeling stressed by releasing stress hormones, which increase your heart rate, your breathing rate and gets your muscles ready to respond. However, as healthy as a good dose of stress can be - good things come in small packages. Feeling stressed for long periods of time - more than is necessary for survival - can take its toll on your health. Chronic stress and stress conditions can cause a number of physical symptoms, and affect your overall health. Here are just some of the ways stress can impact you and your health negatively. Central Nervous System

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.

Plant-Based Mushroom Soup
Plant-Based Mushroom Soup
I love mushrooms. LOVE! All kinds of mushrooms, but especially those I can pick myself from woods. In Estonia, we have a lot of forests, and unless the area is marked as private property, we are allowed to forage for whatever you like, as long as you act responsibly and do not leave any rubbish behind. I know that this is not the case all over the world, so I consider myself extremely lucky. For this year, the season of fresh mushrooms is, unfortunately, over, but simple button mushrooms work just perfectly for this recipe.

4 Effective Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
4 Effective Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
Those that have office or desk jobs may have to spend much of the day in the same place or sitting at a desk. It can be too easy to ignore our bodies’ need to move regularly and experience stress and tension because of how we have sit to work. Repeating the same cycle for weeks, months, and years can lead to more serious responses from the body, causing the immune system to continually be on defense and increasing poor posture. This pattern worsens as time passes unless you are proactive and take preventative measures, like yoga. The best way to break this cycle is to start making small changes. While there are several ways to start having a healthier and more positive routine at the office, this can be done from the comfort of your desk or chair. Below, you will find 4 of the best poses that you can do while at work and create a more stress-free workday and future.

Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Ways Yoga Can Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Those who practice yoga often know the importance of balance on the mat, be it balance in the body, balance in tree pose, or balance between the breath and the movements. But not many of us transfer this balance into our day to day lives, especially our work-life balance. Yoga can help us practice so much more than the physical movements and poses. It helps us practice things like our breath, calming our minds, pushes us outside our comfort zone and allows us to grow and self reflect. This self-reflection will ultimately help in maintaining a strong work-life balance, as understanding patterns, strengths and weaknesses are essential in setting the boundaries we need to balance our lives. In layman's terms, a work-life balance is how you maintain the time you dedicate to working vs having fun and living your life. Finding a balance that works for you requires work and self-reflection. There are many ways yoga can help you improve your work-life balance.

Chickpea Stuffed Eggplant
Chickpea Stuffed Eggplant
Eggplant is one of my all-time favorite vegetables. Added to curries, baked to moussaka, in baba ganoush or filled with all kinds of things from goats cheese to vegetables. Bring it on! I love it in any shape or form! Today I am sharing one of my favorite eggplant recipes with you. The recipe is vegan, but it is loaded with protein – both chickpeas and peanut butter help out here, and the spices add a nice kick too. Not all people love eggplant.

Sharpen Your Edge at Work with a 2-Week Lunch Break Yoga Challenge
Sharpen Your Edge at Work with a 2-Week Lunch Break Yoga Challenge
We’ve got an invigorating new yoga program designed to fit in during your lunch hour. This collection of 10 short, dynamic classes will give you the structure to stay consistent in your practice. Here are 3 reasons why you should take the challenge to not just improve your strength and flexibility, but also achieve peak performance at work. 1. Improve your mental focus and clarity all day: After a busy morning working or studying, your brain can feel foggy and dull. When you’ve got another several hours at work, you need to reset and find a way to hone your focus and be productive. By shifting your attention to breathing and moving on your yoga mat, you give your busy mind time to rest and settle. Even a short class will provide you the opportunity to feel refreshed. You’ll return to your project with increased clarity and focus and maybe even finish up early!

Yoga & CBD: Benefits, Precautions, and Everything You Need to Know
Yoga & CBD: Benefits, Precautions, and Everything You Need to Know
Yoga has long been known as an effective means of increasing mental and physical well-being. The focus on breathing and poses help increase one’s mindfulness and focus. Yoga has seen a recent surge of popularity in the West due to these mental and physical benefits. However, some are saying CBD can increase the benefits you can get from yoga. CBD yoga has become increasingly popular in recent years and combines the therapeutic effects of yoga with the therapeutic effects of CBD. Several anecdotal stories from users recount how CBD dosing has made their yoga experience more effective and beneficial. However, there is still a lack of clinical scientific evidence on the matter, so it's very important to educate yourself to understand if trying this combination is right for you. In this article, we will talk about how CBD and yoga can work together to relax the mind and body, precautions, and what CBD is.

6 Ways Yoga Makes You Become Braver
6 Ways Yoga Makes You Become Braver
"Feel the fear, and do it anyway." - Susan Jeffers Sometimes fear works in our favor and motivates us, however, most of the time things that scare us are based on nothing more than a story of thoughts. However, we have the ability to ignore, quiet, and overcome any fears if we're brave enough to and yoga can help. Sometimes fearful, made up stories of the future can hold us back from experiencing some of the magic that life has to offer. We have to be brave and get out of our comfort zones to take chances, have new experiences and greater satisfaction. It can be easier to stay and feel stuck and safe, instead of choosing to be brave though. For most, the familiar is more comfortable than the unknown, and it's preferable to stay within the boundaries of what you know, instead of diving into unknown possibilities.

Be Fearless
Be Fearless
What scares you? For some people, it’s heights or public speaking or spiders. Halloween celebrates thrills, chills, and things that go bump in the night. While Halloween tends to be a fun holiday defined by disguising our true identity with make-up and costumes, it echoes how many of us deal with our fears the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year - hiding behind a mask. Yoga provides a safe space for us to examine our fears and offers tools to become more courageous. The Yoga Sutras state that the fear of death is the biggest fear we face and is the basis for all other fears. In the second pada, Patanjali refers to this concept as abhinivesha. Learning to live in the present moment is a powerful way to stop worrying and being scared of the future. Fear can only exist in relation to what you anticipate happening. Fear doesn’t exist when you are in the moment. Every minute of your day is an opportunity to move from a place of courage or from a position of fear.

How to Make the Perfect Low-Sugar Green Smoothie
How to Make the Perfect Low-Sugar Green Smoothie
One of the foods our cleansers struggle with giving up most is SUGAR. Added sugar is everywhere, even hidden in your favorite salad dressings or condiments, which makes it particularly hard to avoid, and the more you eat it, the more you become reliant on it. Sugar can lead to health issues such as chronic weight gain, an overgrowth of candida, blood sugar imbalance, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and more. It’s also been linked to an increased risk for more serious health concerns like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. During the Conscious Cleanse, you’ll give up added and refined sugars completely, but if you think you might have a sugar sensitivity, you may need to do even more to tame your sugar cravings (take our Sugar Sensitivity Quiz here). Many fruits, grains, and other healthy foods still have naturally occurring sugars that can sabotage your health if you’re sensitive to sugar.

8 Magical Benefits of Turmeric You Never Knew!
8 Magical Benefits of Turmeric You Never Knew!
Turmeric, the powerful golden root that makes our favorite golden milk lattes, is most commonly known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Since I was a young child, my mom taught me how to replace taking ibuprofen and other pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs by instead drinking turmeric tea, or even soaking the desired body part in hot turmeric water. What I didn’t know my whole life, was that turmeric does so much more for the body than simply reducing inflammation and making delicious lattes. Here are 8 benefits of turmeric you might not have known before: Cures and prevents some cancers Could Turmeric be a new cure for cancer? Although there aren’t too many studies out there yet, Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) has been shown to inhibit proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of different cancers through interaction with multiple cell signaling proteins. Additionally, Turmeric has been shown to prevent the growth of cancerous cells and prohibit growth as seen in different testing.

10 Reasons Why Fear Can Be Good for You
10 Reasons Why Fear Can Be Good for You
Many people shy away from fear and see it as a negative, a danger and something to be avoided. However, fear can sometimes be good for you! Fear can keep you on your toes and help you experience new things. Here’s our top 10 reasons why a dose of fear every now and again can be good for you. Fear keeps you safe The fear instinct is the bodies’ internal danger alarm. The feelings of fear compel you to take action against danger. Without the fear instinct, you wouldn’t have an awareness of threats around you - so you wouldn’t be around very long! Fear gives you the flight or fight reaction to make decisions when you may be unsafe - such as if a car drives towards you when you’re crossing the road. Without fear - you wouldn’t be able to make a decision to help you stay safe.

Arm Balances as the Fountain of Youth
Arm Balances as the Fountain of Youth
Need to make a major shift in your perspective or boost your confidence? We’ve got you covered this week with poses designed to help you feel strong, focused, and humble. Whether you love to balance on your hands and take flight or if you fear falling on your face, this week we’ve got four classes for you to get engaged and turn your world upside down. These practices are empowering and invigorating. Regardless of how you feel about inversions, these postures are excellent for your circulation, mental focus, and overall mood. It’s helpful to use your full yoga practice to keep your spine flexible, your hips open, your core and upper body strong, and your attitude positive. You may have heard yoga called the Fountain of Youth, and often going upside down is what helps keep your skin glowing with the boost of fresh blood from the heart to the head.

Lightly Spiced Tomato Soup
Lightly Spiced Tomato Soup
I have had a problem for a few months already, but it is one of those good problems – how to eat all the beautiful produce I get?! In Estonia summers are rather short, which means that most of the crop is at its best at the same time – zucchini, tomatoes, cucumber, kale, you name it! And, even if I have my rooftop garden, my mother’s garden and my grandmother's garden, I still also like to go to the farmers market too, because, well, I love going to the market to look at the abundance of produce. I do need to hold myself back with shopping, though. I really really hate throwing away food and always try to eat everything from root to leaf, so I always try to make the most of everything I have. Oh, I wish I could somehow spread the harvest over the whole year! But I can’t, so this time of year my 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is easily 15 or 20 portions of fruit and veggies, and everything else has to wait until I run out (although I do miss lentils and pasta already).

Yoga for Addiction Recovery: How it Heals the Mind, Body & Soul
Yoga for Addiction Recovery: How it Heals the Mind, Body & Soul
Addiction is a threefold disease. It affects the mind, body, and spirit in various ways. While there are many traditional methods of treating addiction with behavioral therapies, more and more programs are beginning to incorporate holistic methods into their treatment programs. By taking a holistic approach to treating addiction, the healing process occurs on the mind, body, and spirit. As a result, individuals in recovery are given tools to achieve and maintain lasting recovery. One holistic method that is becoming increasingly popular in the treatment industry is yoga. It is a safe, healthy, and natural medicine that can greatly enhance the recovery process. Since addiction affects the whole person, the whole person must be treated. Yoga allows people to learn how to connect the body, mind, and breath to focus their attention inward and gain self-awareness. Why Yoga?

Simple Ways to Show Love to Yourself & Others Regularly
Simple Ways to Show Love to Yourself & Others Regularly
Love, it makes the world go round. All you need is love. It’s so simple right? Actually, maintaining and nurturing loving relationships in our lives can take effort and practice. However, showing your love to others, as well as yourself, can make a huge positive impact in our lives. Love comes in many forms, from our significant others to family, to friends and even pets. Feeling loved can harbor a sense of caring, and inspires you to make others in your life feel good. It’s really quite contagious, so here’s our top ways to help you show love to others (and a few to show some love to yourself too). Listen to others

Practice Yoga with Love
Practice Yoga with Love
One of yoga’s most beautiful benefits is how it can shift your emotions in a pure, positive way. Even if you come to the practice for other reasons, your emotional makeup will transform, whether you’re trying to or not! Our subtle body, which is a blueprint of our physical body, contains our emotional energy. Through targeted practice, we can enhance how we feel. The subtle body contains the chakras or emotional energy centers. In order to feel more loving, we want to make sure our energy is balanced from the base of our spine or Muladhara (Root) Chakra to our Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra. In order to tap into your own heart and open to more love in your life, you’ve got to be willing to release fear. Yoga practices that create more space in the Anahata (Heart) Chakra will create space in your physical body to experience joy and love. The Anahata Chakra contains the essence of compassion and selflessness and symbolizes when we rise above our egos to care more for others than ourselves. Anahata is associated with the element of air, the color green, the sense of touch, and the thymus gland.

Jalapeño Cilantro Mezcal Margarita
Jalapeño Cilantro Mezcal Margarita
We thought this was the perfect time to share a Conscious Cocktail recipe! Since we eliminate alcohol during the cleanse, this recipe is a great way to transition into your 80:20 eating plan. For more information about our 80:20 Lifestyle Program, click here. This recipe features a spirit that got a lot of attention this summer – mezcal! Mezcal, like tequila, is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant. While tequila is only made from blue agave plants, mezcal can be made from any agave plant. When making mezcal, instead of steaming the agave before distilling as is customary for tequila production, the agave is cooked in large earthen ovens with charcoal and lava rocks. This is what gives mezcal its signature smoky taste.

Want to be a Traveling Yoga Teacher? Here's How to Mentally Prepare Yourself
Want to be a Traveling Yoga Teacher? Here's How to Mentally Prepare Yourself
Being “Nomadic” - the idea of traveling the world, bouncing from place to place doing as you’d like, exploring culture, exploring untapped parts of the world, and most importantly, better exploring yourself, is quite the popular trend these days. Often I get asked “how do you do it? How do you travel the world so much? What are you doing for work?” When my answer to them is: "I teach yoga", most people question how I do it. After all, teaching yoga isn't a job that is known to make you rich, nor fund you the needs to travel long-term. The short answer in how I travel and teach yoga is Yogatrade, which has allowed me to find teaching jobs all over the world. But to be honest, it takes a lot more than just finding a job to take a risk, leave your friends and family, and move across the world. If you've been playing with the idea of teaching yoga abroad, here are a few small steps to mentally prepare yourself:

Power Yoga: Everything You Need To Know
Power Yoga: Everything You Need To Know
If you’ve never tried this invigorating and fast-paced practice of power yoga, you might be wondering what it’s all about. Here’s our rundown on what power yoga is, where it came from, and how it might improve your health! What is Power Yoga Power Yoga - it sounds daunting, but what actually is it? Power yoga is a sequence of postures that are specially designed to build on strength, stamina and flexibility, all while being fast moving. Power Yoga is derived from the Ashtanga yoga tradition, which can be equally as physically demanding, but works through building heath in your body, and moving through the vinyasa sequences in a fast paced way. Unlike Ashtanga, power yoga practice doesn’t have a set sequence of postures, and any class can be different from the next. However, it will usually start with Sun Salutation poses, to build heat within your body, and will often feature a strong focus on yoga poses that will build up strength and get your heart pounding and body sweating - power yoga can be a full on cardio workout!

5 Reasons to Practice Power Yoga
5 Reasons to Practice Power Yoga
​Are you ready to feel empowered, strong, and challenged this week? Power Yoga is a sweaty Vinyasa flow class with increased intensity, usually through a faster pace or an emphasis on strength. Or both! While Power Yoga does focus more on the physical body than some more spiritual classes, you’ll still gain all the emotional and mental benefits too. Here are 5 reasons you should try these invigorating Power Yoga classes this week. 5 REASONS TO PRACTICE POWER YOGA 1. Build Stronger Muscles, Bones, and Joints