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


Working the Night Shift? Your Guide to Getting Enough Sleep
Working the Night Shift? Your Guide to Getting Enough Sleep
While most people are getting ready for bed, others are heading out the door for work. Not everyone is on a typical 9-to-5 schedule; according to the American Psychological Association, about 15 million Americans are on the clock for the night shift. Nurses, doctors, factory workers, and even employees in creative fields like radio and television are often hustling before the sun comes up. Working while the rest of the world is dozing off presents some unique challenges because this routine conflicts with the body’s natural circadian rhythm. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get quality sleep when you return home from your shift. Here’s how to create a cozy sleep environment and enjoy eight hours of sleep, even if you’re working from sunset to sunrise. Have a Good Mattress

Combining Yoga & Different Styles of Music to Create a Flow State
Combining Yoga & Different Styles of Music to Create a Flow State
When we are considering different things to pair together, it is always a subjective matter. For instance, there might be people who love salted chocolate, while others want salt nowhere near their chocolate! The same can be said about adding music to your yoga practice. Some people love vibration support and melodic inspirations when they are flowing from one pose to another and find it improves their practice. Others revel in the silent internal waves of just their breath and prefer yoga without any music. There’s no right or wrong answer here, it’s simply a matter of preference. Regardless, music has become increasingly popular to complement a yoga practice and seems here to stay for those who like this combination. Because of this, there are people who are always looking for new excellent music choices for their yoga sessions. If you’ve been moved by music during a yoga class, you can appreciate the beauty of this combination. Music can add another layer to a deep, rigorous flow and can support you in the challenging moments of a class, or keep your mind from wandering. Many have opened to new music artists and styles of music from tracks they discovered that moved them during yoga. What Is Yoga?

Benefits of Going Back to the Basics in Yoga & Best Poses to Revisit
Benefits of Going Back to the Basics in Yoga & Best Poses to Revisit
When you’ve been practicing yoga for a while, you might have built up a bit of an ego. You might be seeking out the most advanced poses and classes, with the toughest teachers, and you might be pushing yourself as far as you can. Sound familiar? Pushing yourself too far in yoga can get you into sticky situations, especially if you try poses that are too advanced before you are ready for them. This is why going back to yoga basics every once in a while can be immensely beneficial to you, even if you’re not a beginner to the yoga mat. A basics yoga class can be so much better than pushing yourself into advanced practices, and perhaps injuring yourself. Here’s a few simple reasons why going back to basics can actually help you on the way to becoming more advanced at yoga, and a few basic poses to go back and master.

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.

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.

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

7 Mental Benefits of Yoga
7 Mental Benefits of Yoga
Yoga has a great many physical benefits, and mental too, but an aspect of yoga that can be overlooked in our modern day is the spiritual benefits. Yoga helps with happy living by giving us a way to unite our bodies, minds and breath, letting us connect to our inner selves. This is the spiritual aspect of yoga. There are many spiritual benefits of yoga, but here are a few that you can take into your life off the mat, and help you connect with your spiritual side. 1. Mindfulness

Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Benefits of Hip Openers in Yoga
Hip-opener poses and asanas are some of the most popular and requested types. They bring release to areas of tightness that many people suffer from. As there are over 20 muscles that work across the hips, such as adductors in the inner thighs, abductors in the outer thighs, hip flexors and lateral rotators, it’s important to give these a good stretch. Any movement that stretches these muscles is a hip opener, but there are certain poses that give these a deeper release. If you have tight hips, it not only can affect your ability to get into certain yoga poses but can also affect your day to day life.

The Benefits of Warrior Poses
The Benefits of Warrior Poses
The series of warrior poses are the foundations of a strong and solid practice of asana. Warrior poses are among the most common poses in yoga practice, and help with balance, stance and hip opening. Warrior poses are great for nearly every type of body and skill level, are easy for beginners to get to grips with, while still being a great pose for building up strength, confidence, and feeling like, well a warrior! As we do warrior poses more and more often, it’s easy to forget the benefits they can give our minds and bodies. We’ve taken a look at some of the common variants of warrior pose, and the benefits these can give you. Warrior 1 Warrior 1 is a pose that will give you more flexibility in your hips, strengthen and tone your legs when practiced often.

5 Benefits of Inversions: Flip Your Perspective
5 Benefits of Inversions: Flip Your Perspective
​In yoga, students are often sharply divided about inversions. Some people can’t wait and approach headstands or handstands with joyous anticipation. Other practitioners choose that moment to take a sip of water, rest in child’s pose, or otherwise avoid getting their heads below their hearts. We believe as long as inversions are practiced with safe alignment and modifications if needed, there’s a pose appropriate for almost everyone. What is an inversion? It’s any asana where the head is below the heart. So, Downward Dog, Legs up the Wall, and standing forward folds count. More dynamic inversions include Headstand, Handstand, Shoulder stand and Forearm Stand. Of course, if injuries or other physical limitations exist, some of these postures may not be appropriate. People who have suffered a stroke, have neck injuries, heart conditions, high blood pressure that isn’t regulated, or glaucoma may need to modify or skip some asanas. Why inversions?

4 Reasons to Branch Out in Your Yoga Practice
4 Reasons to Branch Out in Your Yoga Practice
Sun Salutations, Warrior Poses, Downward Dog – every yogi has their favourite tried and tested poses and flows that they may be able to do with their eyes closed. As you move through your daily routine on the matt, you might notice your mind drifting. The flows that once took concentration and took your mind away from the humdrum day to day thoughts are now second nature, and you’ve lost your sense of zen. It’s easy to get into a rut if you stick to your comfort zones in life – and your yoga practice is no different. This week we’re challenging you to try a new class every day for two weeks. Here are four key benefits that branching out in your yoga practice can bring you. 1. Keep your brain active Did you know that learning a new skill, such as a different language or something creative like a musical instrument can help your brain form new connections? The same applies when you learn a new yoga flow or try a challenging pose. Stimulating your brain in this way can increase your memory skills, concentration and even your creativity levels. Learning something new, like figuring out a new yoga challenge can create neural pathways in the brain, increasing brain power.

Everything About Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold
Everything About Uttanasana: Standing Forward Fold
What is Uttanasana? Uttanasana might be known to you as a ‘Forward Bend’ or a ‘Standing Forward Fold’, but the Sanskrit name literally translates as ‘Intense Stretch Pose’. This is translated from the three Sanskrit words; “Ut’ which means ‘Intense’, “Tan” which means “to stretch” and “Asana” meaning “pose”. This pose is great for a deep stretch to the hamstrings or back, but should also been deeply relaxing, despite the name ‘intense’! The more you relax into the pose, the better the benefit will be. Uttanasana is found in most yoga sequences, but is a key component of sun salutes and vinyasa flow. It’s usually found as part of the transition sequence between standing poses and chaturanga dandasana, or the four-limbed staff pose. While it can be used as a transition pose, taking the time to practice this pose stand alone, or as part of a slower flow, can help to give more time to work on the technical aspects of the pose.

Forward Folds to the Rescue: Time to Cool Down and Focus Inward!
Forward Folds to the Rescue: Time to Cool Down and Focus Inward!
One of the most magical aspects of yoga is how you can vary the practice based upon the way you feel today. It’s always fluid and adaptable to not just your physical needs, but your emotional and mental state as well. Some days, you just need a well-rounded yoga practice to keep you feeling strong, flexible, and balanced. Other days you need something more targeted and specific. Yoga can be your medicine. You probably know that certain asanas or postures offer particular benefits. Breathing in a deliberate way and utilizing different pranayama techniques can revitalize you or relax you. Back bending opens the heart and energizes you. Twists encourage healthy digestion and are excellent for neutralizing your spine. Forward folds are not just about stretching your back and hamstrings, they also calm your nervous system and encourage you to shift your gaze inward. A well-rounded yoga practice moves you through a full range of motion to encourage a healthy spine and balanced body and mind. This week, our focus is on forward folds, offering you ways to calm your nervous system, manage anxiety, stretch and strengthen the back body and improve your posture.

Yoga for Crossfit: Why it Improves Performance & 3 Poses
Yoga for Crossfit: Why it Improves Performance & 3 Poses
Yoga is not only a good way to relax your mind and body, it is also being praised for improving Crossfit performance. Yoga creates more flexibility and creates more mobility, which are beneficial for the rigors of Crossfit as well as reducing the risk of injury. While the practices are different in many ways, Crossfit and yoga actually have a lot in common, so if you practice yoga, it’s can be easier to learn to practice Crossfit, and vice versa. Benefits of Yoga for Crossfit: Here are a few reasons why you should consider using yoga as a part of your crossfit training regime. Yoga has many gentle poses that develop your core which is an important part to Crossfit. Being capable of balancing and holding the body with the core is essential. When you regularly practice yoga, you promote strength, endurance, and flexibility and have a greater awareness of how to use your core effectively. You also find your inner strength which is important in Crossfit training. You practice cultivating calm, in challenging moments in yoga, and that can really help during Crossfit. Yoga can help us have more fun in Crossfit. Studies have found that yoga allows you to become more self-aware and improves your energy levels, helping you to enjoy life more fully. Sometimes in Crossfit, training and progress becomes such a focus point that we forget to be light and have fun. Yoga can help here.

Give Props to Yoga Props
Give Props to Yoga Props
Props? I don’t need props! Props are for beginners, right? Nope. Props are for everyone and can benefit any level of yoga practice. As yogis, we strive to make mindful decisions, so why do we shy away from props? The most common examples of yoga props are blocks, straps and bolsters. As a yoga teacher, I sometimes include props as part of the class. Occasionally, when I ask participants to get their props prior to the start of class there is someone who doesn’t. I will usually request it again and explain we are all going to use them. If I attempt to deliver props to someone already on their mat, I am sometimes shooed away. Whether they come out and say it or not, the message is clear – “I don’t need props.” There is a stigma associated with the NEED for props. However, there are many benefits of yoga props. Don’t believe anyone who tells you using yoga props is cheating! I have never found anyone who could not benefit from the use of a prop for one or more poses, myself included.

Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About Sun Salutations
Infographic: Everything You Need to Know About Sun Salutations
Because we know how important Sun Salutations are in every yogi's life, we’ve put together an infographic with everything you need to know about the energizing sequence. Here is how to do a proper sun salutation step by step. Sun salutations are not only an important yoga sequence, but it’s also a great workout for weight loss. Furthermore, it’s a fabulously effective way to steady the mind and learn to coordinate breath with movement. Check out the endless benefits it brings, the affirmations you could associate with every asana and tips on how to do each pose correctly.

Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
Come on Yogis, Do the Twist
We all have our favorite yoga asanas or postures and most yogis agree that twists are awesome. This week, we’re focusing on twists and how beneficial they are for your spine, your digestive organs, and your general sense of well-being. Of course, like all physical practices, it’s important to make sure you are using proper form and breathing techniques to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks. Twists help nourish your entire spine, help maintain spinal health and prevent back pain. Twisting is one of the major directions in which your spine moves, but how often do you twist throughout the day? Most of us move primarily in the sagittal (front to back) and frontal planes (lateral) which can lead to compression. Without balanced movement for our vertebrae, muscles, and connective tissues, our spine can grow stiff and tight.

6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
6 Amazing Benefits of Yoga Backbends
Backbends are exceptionally and uniquely beneficial yoga postures. This family of poses have impactful physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Understanding and practicing these poses can allow one to access these benefits and experience real-life breakthroughs and improvements to their well-being. Here are the 6 best benefits of yoga backbends! 1. Get Happy. Backbends bring strong emotional benefits. Iyengar and other yoga teachers recommend backbends as to cure for depression. These shapes have the potential to relieve heavy sadness, and you can see it in their form. When one is sad, their posture and body language is often hunched forwards, with their head hanging down. Backbends are the opposite, and reverse this pattern, giving an uplifting improvement to one's posture and a boost to their mood.

Body & Mind Connection
Body & Mind Connection
Why did you start practicing yoga? Many of us come to the mat for the physical benefits of flexibility, strength, balance, and equanimity. Some people start a yoga journey for the promised benefits of relieving stress and quieting the mind. Others seek spiritual enlightenment. No matter what path you travel, you’ll receive the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of yoga. Yoga’s benefits are interconnected. According to T.K.V. Desikachar, the author of the Heart of Yoga, it all stems from Patanjali’s eight-limbed path of yoga and his seminal text, the Yoga Sutras: “…the essence of Yoga, was formulated by the great Indian sage, Patanjali, more than two thousand years ago in this succinct definition: Yoga is the ability to direct the mind exclusively toward an object and sustain that direction without any distractions.” -Yoga Sutra 1.2 Citta Vritti Nirodhah We live in a busy world governed by multi-tasking, speed, and technology. Choosing to turn off your phone, and to leave work, relationships, and daily stress behind is the first step to creating a clear, peaceful mind.

5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Brain
5 Ways Yoga Benefits Your Brain
It’s no secret that yoga is great for your body. It helps build strength, flexibility and overall body awareness. However, did you know yoga is also great for your brain and has an array of benefits to arguably your most important organ? Here are 5 ways doing yoga can bring benefits to your brain and why! 1. Stay in the Present The practice of yoga, is really the practice of being present on the mat. Yoga has the power the bring back into the present, a mind that is off in the future trying to plan dinner for the rest of the week or worrying about an important phone call with your boss. By learning to be present during your yoga practice, you’re actually retraining your brain. You’re teaching it to stop worrying about the future and to concentrate instead on the present more in life. This results in less stress and an increased ability to think things through logically instead of defaulting to your typical stress reactions. Presence is powerful, can help our minds recognize the present moment.

Strong to the Core
Strong to the Core
What if we told you that by strengthening your core, you could not only reap physical benefits like improved posture, a healthy back, toned abdominals, better digestion and organ health, but also fire up your self-confidence and inner radiance? This week we’ve got four new classes to power up every aspect of your center from the outside in and the inside out. Your core houses the Manipura or navel chakra, which is considered the source of your identity and the center of your ego and personal power. Self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and fire are all qualities associated with the third of seven main chakras or energy centers. By employing asana, pranayama, mantras and guided meditation to stoke the fire in your belly you can burn through any layers of self-doubt and trust in your self. Look at it this way: You aren’t simply working to create toned abdominals.

Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana, as the name suggests is a cumulative of three Sanskrit words, ‘downward, face and dog’. Hence, it is also known as the ‘downward dog pose’ due to its resemblance with the downward facing position of a dog. The pose is one of the most traditional postures, and is practiced in both Hatha and Ashtanga yoga styles. With that being said, Adho Mukha Svanasana pose is one of the most widely acclaimed poses in yoga due to its multiple benefits. It can an accessible pose for most, regardless of their yogic expertise and skills, or age. While most people experience benefits in downward facing dog, there are certain contraindications and precautions that need to be kept in mind before performing this wonderful pose and some of them are mentioned at the end of this blog post. Here are some amazing Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits:

Surya Namaskar: Connect with the Sun
Surya Namaskar: Connect with the Sun
Even if you’re brand new to yoga, you’ve probably heard about Sun Salutations or Surya Namaskars. Why do yogis honor the sun with physical postures and often accompanying mantras? This sequence of physical postures or asanas is a way of expressing gratitude to the sun for the energy and life it bestows upon us. It emphasizes our connection to the Universe and our profound need for the warmth and light the sun provides. The Gayatri Mantra, a beautiful ancient Vedic prayer often chanted before or after practice, calls the sun, “the one who illuminates our minds.” Honoring the sun has profound power and infuses the body with solar energy. Our inner vitality is composed of fire and we need to nourish ourselves in order to brighten our Shakti to it’s fullest potential. The practice of sun salutations transform darkness and stagnation to fire and light. We want to burn as bright as we can and Surya Namaskar is a great place to begin.

Be Vigorous : Strong, Healthy, & Full of Energy
Be Vigorous : Strong, Healthy, & Full of Energy
How is 2018 treating you so far? Are you brimming with energy and excitement and making the most of each day? If you need a boost so you can feel like the strongest, most vigorous version of yourself, we’re thrilled to offer four new classes and five tips to motivate you. We step onto the yoga mat for different reasons at different times in our lives. Sometimes our needs center on a spiritual practice, sometimes we need to release mental stress and tension, and sometimes we simply seek the physical benefits of strength, flexibility, and balance. The beautiful thing about yoga is with all the various styles; you can find classes suitable for whatever you need. This week, our focus is on practicing yoga to cultivate a sense of vigor, which is defined as being strong, healthy, and full of energy. When you feel strong physically, there’s a direct correlation to how you feel emotionally and mentally as well. It’s all connected. Building strength takes tapas or discipline, dedication, and inner fire. Here are the top five reasons focusing on your asana practice pays off for your overall health and well-being:

A Yogi's Survival Guide to the 2016 Election
A Yogi's Survival Guide to the 2016 Election
"Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ~ Bertrand Russell