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


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YogaDownload.com's Blog

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?

Yoga to Strengthen, Protect, & Heal
Yoga to Strengthen, Protect, & Heal
Are you curious about how yoga can protect and heal your body? Why strength is just as important as flexibility and how understanding the way physical postures impact your muscles, joints, and bones can help you develop a practice that lasts a lifetime? We are and we’re thrilled to present internationally acclaimed expert yoga teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh’s new five class all-levels yoga series for you this week, Strengthen, Protect & Heal. Take the time to gain a deeper knowledge of your yoga foundation and learn to appreciate your practice on a new level. Strengthening your muscles through practicing weight-bearing yoga asanas like Warrior series, Triangle and Tree Pose will help support healthy joints. Creating strength will protect your knees and shoulders from injury that could occur if you are stressing the joints too much because of weak quadriceps or deltoids. Stable joints are happy joints.

Yoga on the Go
Yoga on the Go
If you ever say you just can’t squeeze in time for yoga because you’ve got too many other things to do like work, family, or Netflix, we say yes you can! If you ever think, if I can’t practice yoga for at least an hour, it’s not worth my time. We say, yes it is! If you believe committing only thirty minutes a day to yoga wouldn’t really make a difference. We say, yes it does! We all have the same twenty-four hours in our day so, why do we make time for certain activities and not for others? It all comes down to priorities. What matters the most? We make time for what is important and we’re here to tell you that if you can’t commit an hour or more to yoga each day, it’s okay. You can reap all the awesome benefits of a regular practice in small chunks of time.

Slow Down
Slow Down
Transitions are the perfect moment to pause and observe how you are feeling in the present moment. This week, we mark the transition from summer to fall or winter to spring, depending upon where you’re located on the globe. Why not slow down, check in, and use this natural transition to appreciate your life? Savor your experiences instead of anticipating what’s next. Have you been to a concert lately? Noticed all the people with their phones up in front of their faces, videotaping a song instead of actually watching the show? They could be fully immersed in what’s happening on stage, but instead choose to create a barrier with a camera screen in order to save the moment for later. So, they never actually fully experience the gift of the live performance. Now consider in how many other areas of your life you are focused on the past or anticipating the future? It’s easy to be pulled into the “doing” pattern of life.

4 Benefits of Doing a Yoga Challenge
4 Benefits of Doing a Yoga Challenge
The seasons are changing. Whether it’s Autumn or Spring in your hemisphere, it’s September and it’s time to align yourself with nature. Choosing to make a deliberate shift now will give you extra power to transform your life or at least your yoga practice. Our two-week FREE challenge is designed to help you release the past and create space for the future. Autumn commemorates letting go and Spring welcomes the blossoming of new energy. Join fellow yogis from around the globe and let’s transform together. Why participate in a yoga challenge? We all know change isn’t easy and having the support of thousands of other yogis will keep you on track. Here are four benefits we think you’ll resonate with: 1. Increased Strength: Not only will your quadriceps and triceps get stronger from daily practice, your brain will also get a workout.

5 Reasons to Do Yoga in the Morning
5 Reasons to Do Yoga in the Morning
Are you a morning person and already practice yoga when you wake up? Awesome! Feel free to skip down to our list of four fabulous new classes to start your day with and push play. Or, review the benefits of a regular morning practice and let us know if we included all your reasons why you salute the sun first thing. If stepping onto your mat before the sun sets in the west isn’t your preference, check out five great reasons why practicing in the morning could become a ritual you embrace and even learn to love. So, stop hitting the snooze button and who knows, you might even become a morning person. Here are 5 reasons to make yoga part of your healthy morning routine! 1. Create a Good Mood: Start your day out right and create a positive mindset before circumstances conspire against you.

Strong Muscles & Healthy Bones
Strong Muscles & Healthy Bones
We like strong bones and we cannot lie…and toned muscles and healthy joints are awesome yoga benefits too. A regular yoga practice gives you flexibility and mobility, but this week we bring you four classes especially targeted toward building bone and joint health. Without stability and strength, you can become more susceptible to injury and who wants that? Invest some time into bolstering your bones and protecting your joints in order to continue all of your daily activities feeling great. To balance out the flexibility and mobility aspect of yoga, we suggest you try these new classes from two of your favorite YogaDownload.com instructors. Ben Davis' - Fitness n' Yoga: Sea Star Flow will get you moving and ensure you are working your muscles to build strength, stability and functional fitness. You may already know that weight-bearing exercise is vital to keeping your skeleton healthy. You don’t have to jog or run in order to build muscular strength and bone health, because all standing yoga poses are weight-bearing.

Broga: Yoga for Men
Broga: Yoga for Men
Hey yogis, this week is all about the men. Broga is our new series of classes geared toward the guys. If you’ve felt that yoga is directed toward women, these new classes are created specifically for the male body and perspective. Look at these classes as a return to the time where only men practiced yoga. What you may not know is that up until 1937, women were specifically forbidden to study yoga. So, how did yoga become a seemingly female dominated practice in the West? Yoga’s eight-limbed path was studied in India, by men only in it's origins. Then, a Western woman, Indra Devi, convinced Sri Krishnamacharya, considered by many to be the father of modern yoga, to allow her to study with him in his school where the pupils were all teenaged boys. Most of the Ashtanga based Vinysasa classes and Hatha yoga come from what Krishnamacharya taught at his school in India. Devi, along with Iyengar and Pattabhi Jois, worked to bring yoga to the West. The rest is history. So yes, real men practice yoga.

Yoga for Your Upper Body & Chakras
Yoga for Your Upper Body & Chakras
If someone asked you what the biggest benefit of yoga for your upper body is, how would you answer? Would you say that all the Down Dogs and chataranguas gave you muscular endurance and strength? That your chest and shoulders are more open and your posture is excellent? Would you mention how your spine is protected because you’ve built up a girdle of mobile muscle to keep you safe from injury? Or perhaps you’d expand beyond the obvious physical benefits. You could share how you are now a person able to live from a place of compassion, speak your authentic truth, trust your intuition, and visualize Samadhi or enlightenment because you’ve balanced your heart, throat, third-eye, and crown chakras. Yoga’s benefits are infinite and whatever your answer, you’d be correct. The fruits of a well-rounded yoga practice encompass the physical benefits for your muscular, spinal, nervous, and digestive systems.

Yoga for Fasting
Yoga for Fasting
Periodic fasting benefits on the human body tremendously, and so does yoga. Fasting is a thorough and healing reset for most systems of our body. Practicing yoga during a fast has the power to amplify the benefits of fasting. Fasting is deeply purifying multi-day process that will cleanse your body and mind in powerful ways. Why is fasting beneficial? Our digestive system is always working hard to digest our food and drink, which requires a lot of energy. During a fast your body gets a break from digesting food and converting it to energy, so it begins to work on healing other parts of the body that need it. Your body then focuses on repairing, resetting and working to get things in better condition. Your immune system, adrenals, hormones, brain chemistry and metabolism can all positively be affected by fasting. After around one day, our bodies transition into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When your body is in ketosis, it begins to convert fat into ketones which become your body’s new fuel source, and is extremely detoxifying. Some benefits of fasting (and entering a state of ketosis) include:

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.

Healing 101: Yoga for Healing Trauma, Grief, & Illness
Healing 101: Yoga for Healing Trauma, Grief, & Illness
One of the beautiful aspects of yoga is that the practice is fluid and changeable, just like our lives. One day you feel called to an energetic Vinyasa flow and the next a peaceful yin class. Learning to adapt your practice to serve yourself best at any given time will ensure you stay healthy, inside and out. It’s natural for your yoga practice to shift with your current circumstances. Sometimes current circumstances are painful, difficult, and seemingly unbearable. Loss and grief affect us physically, not just emotionally or mentally. The pain sits in our tissues and if left untended can result in blocks and stuck negative energy. By practicing yoga and mindfulness, we can help ourselves work through whatever is going on, whether it is loss of a loved one, illness, or trauma. Utilize yoga as one of the tools you use to navigate the difficult times. How can yoga help you process grief? Grief is like a rollercoaster––it doesn’t have a time limit, it doesn’t have a distinct beginning or end.

Hit the Reset Button
Hit the Reset Button
Are you in need of a reset? Maybe you are feeling tired or lack motivation, or you simply woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Perhaps external events are weighing heavily on you. Or maybe you’ve fallen into a pattern of negative thinking and need to flip the switch and find a more positive perspective. Yoga is a practice of looking within and shining a light on our true nature. Enter the yoga sutras! The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are considered the seminal text on yoga and despite the fact they are thousands of years old, their enduring wisdom is relevant today. The practical philosophy can be employed to help us uncover our best selves. In order to shift your perspective, consider Sutra 2.33: vitarka badhane pratipaksha bhavanam. When distracted by disquieting or negative thoughts or feelings, cultivate the opposite point of view and replace with the positive. This is pratipaksha bhavana. Let’s consider a few situations and see how this practice can create a true shift in your attitude.

5 Reasons to Strengthen your Abs & Booty: 2-Week Abs & Booty Bootcamp Challenge
5 Reasons to Strengthen your Abs & Booty: 2-Week Abs & Booty Bootcamp Challenge
This week, we are excited to kick off a two-week challenge designed to tone and strengthen your center and bolster your center of gravity. We’ve got the top 5 reasons to focus on your abs and booty during yoga…hint––not just for how you look in a bathing suit! Now, we aren’t saying we don’t love looking our best, but we want to remind you these benefits change how you feel, not just how you look. Ready to get motivated? Here are the top 5 benefits to working out your abs and booty! 1. A Healthy Spine: Strong, toned abdominals will help maintain a healthy back. Often, lower back pain comes from weak abdominals and who has time for that? Many of these classes focus on toning not just your abdominals, but your back muscles too. The muscles of your trunk comprise your core and keeping them in shape will help you protect your spine. By performing specific, targeted work to strengthen your center, you can avoid pain and injury.

Yoga for Strength & Stability: Slow & Steady Wins the Race
Yoga for Strength & Stability: Slow & Steady Wins the Race
You’re familiar with Aesop’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the hare, right? The tortoise moves slowly and steadily and doesn’t stop. The hare bursts out in front with reckless abandon, certain to win against the plodding beast. Yet, in the end, the tortoise’s persistence and refusal to give up, despite a near certain defeat, wins the race. He personifies the traits of stability and strength. These qualities are vital to a sustainable, long-term yoga practice. In your yoga practice and in your life, you’ve probably embodied both creatures, jumping into new postures or endeavors without much thought, just like the swift-footed rabbit. And embracing life full-speed ahead without overthinking it is important. But it can lead to carelessness and injuries if you aren’t mindful. Yoga Sutra 2.46 Sthira Sukham Asanam means the posture should be steady and comfortable. Steadiness is a quality of strength and grounded energy. Working on developing this in your yoga practice will aid you in staying centered and stable.

7 Tips for a Healthy and Enjoyable Travel Journey
7 Tips for a Healthy and Enjoyable Travel Journey
Travel can expand our perspective, recharge us, and be one of the best parts of life. However, long journeys can also be tolling on our bodies and minds. Diet's change, long periods of time sitting, and changes in sleep patterns, are all sacrifices for the joy of travel. Restlessness from sitting and waiting can also be hard to deal with. Exercise routines can also suffer (or disappear) when we're on the go. However, you can stay healthy and enjoy traveling, despite these challenges. Here's 7 tips to enjoy being on the go and stay healthy in the process! 1. Stay Hydrated This simple tip can be the difference between an enjoyable trip and an uncomfortable one! Drink plenty of water while you're on the go. Of course, if you're in a car, this might mean more bathroom breaks, but it'll be worth it, to keep you healthy and feeling good for a long ride. Refillable water bottles can make this much easier, and cheaper as well, as most bathrooms and rest stops have water fountains you can refill in. 2. Stretch Before and After Take Off (and even in your seat) Long trips usually mean long periods of time sitting.

8 Foods that Boost Your Metabolism
8 Foods that Boost Your Metabolism
The combined effects of the biochemical process that occur in your body on a cellular level are called metabolism. They make it possible for you to digest food, think, move and perform all the functions of a living being. Your metabolism is the powerhouse that keeps your body going. Genetics have a large role to play in determining your metabolic rate. But eating right can also speed up your metabolism naturally. The metabolism boosting foods I’m sharing in this article will not only help you burn fat, but they can also keep you healthy in the long run. So, be sure to regularly include them in your diet! Chili peppers Chili peppers are abundant in capsaicin, a chemical compound that has several beneficial properties. Studies have found that this compound gives chili peppers the ability to boost thermogenesis, which is the process by which calories are turned into heat to use as energy. Chilies have the potential to boost your metabolism rapidly and also have high doses of vitamin C, so it is a good idea to add these to your meals.

3 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Yoga
3 Ways to Celebrate the International Day of Yoga
From India to Indiana and everywhere in between, International Day of Yoga is a monumental celebration for yogis around the world. It’s happening on June 21st, the first day of summer and the solstice - when the sun is at its highest peak in the year. This auspicious day brings yogis of all ages, religions, nationalities and social backgrounds together to celebrate both our individuality and universality. Here are 3 ways you can join the International Day of Yoga festivities and promote harmony, foster good health and the overall well-being of the planet: On the Mat New to yoga? International Day of Yoga is the perfect time to start your practice because you’ll have the energy of the world’s yoga community behind you.

Yoga Education: Therapeutic Alignment Program with Shy Sayar
Yoga Education: Therapeutic Alignment Program with Shy Sayar
Whether you love a power Vinyasa flow class with minimal cues or an Iyengar class with seventy-five minutes of specific directions for one posture, you can benefit from digging deeper into alignment principles to enhance your yoga practice. Yoga Sutra 2:46, Sthira Sukham Asanam, states the posture should be steady and comfortable. Learning about intelligent yoga alignment will aid you in reaching this state each time you step on the mat. When you gain more knowledge about healthy alignment in yoga and philosophy behind a pose, you can benefit more fully––physically, mentally, and emotionally. We’re excited to share a special collection of nine short alignment tutorials, each specific to a certain yoga asana (posture.) These ten-minute classes will help you find the best version of each asana for you. The classes in this package cover common yoga poses and touch on all families of postures including forward bends, balancing poses, arm balances, twists, and backbends. We aren’t saying each posture needs to look a certain way or that every person will practice the asana in the same manner. Instead, we suggest if you increase your awareness of how each posture feels when you adapt alignment cues to feel right in YOUR body, you can deepen your experience.

Yin Yoga Chill Out
Yin Yoga Chill Out
Life is all about balance. Hot and cold. Day and night. Sun and moon. Dark and light. Yin and Yang are opposites and they complement each other perfectly. Without balancing the opposing forces that exist within us and in the world around us, it’s tough to become centered and strong. Yin is stable and quiet. Yang is active and intense. Yin is stillness. Yang is movement. This week we’re focusing on how Yin Yoga can help you quiet your mind and delve deeper into your yoga practice. Many of us love our flowing linear styles of yoga like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Power yoga. An active Yang practice has many benefits, but if your life is busy and intense, it might not be the best way to achieve balance and yin yoga can help.

Challenge Yourself!
Challenge Yourself!
You’ve built a regular yoga practice and step onto your mat several times a week. Congratulations on your commitment and your positive healthy lifestyle. Consistency and dedication are key elements in creating a strong yoga practice you love. Wait one second––hit the pause button right now and check in with where you are today. Are you challenging yourself or have you settled into a nice comfortable routine? Have you had any ‘aha’ moments lately on the mat, like when you noticed your concentration was laser focused or you managed to hold Tree Pose effortlessly? Or perhaps you are just going through the motions and have lost a little of your yoga high. We all have our favorite styles, teachers, and classes, but sometimes in order to develop, you need to get uncomfortable. We aren’t suggesting you toss out all your favorites and start over, but what about adding in a challenge every week? In order to grow and progress on your yoga mat and in your daily life, you have to push beyond your boundaries and try something new or different.

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.

A Tribute to Yoga Mamas
A Tribute to Yoga Mamas
Ever noticed how the word Mom has OM in it? It’s no surprise then that moms across the globe consider yoga to be an antidote to the sacrifices that come with being a mom. Whether you are going through the thrills of your first pregnancy, finding your footing as a new mom, living in the grey zone of your child’s teen years or readjusting to an empty nest - doesn’t everything seem better with yoga? On Mother’s Day we thank you for showing us how yoga can double the joys of motherhood, no matter where you are in the process. To The New-Mom Yogi From guilt-free naps during Savasana to chanting a low “Ommmmmmmmmm” to pacify a crying baby, the New-Mom Yogi finds ways in which she can extend the lessons on the mat to her new life. New moms often don’t have time for a shower, let alone for a 75 minute yoga and meditation session. There’s no shame in spit-up stains or greasy hair, and whoever set the expectation that you can “snap back” to your old body in a couple months (or ever) has obviously never tried it themselves.

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.

Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
Yoga to Improve Self Confidence
We all have that friend who seems naturally confident and fearless about being exactly who they are, regardless of the situation. Or, perhaps you are the confident one and have learned to tap into your true self and exhibit your personal power. A healthy amount of ego can be a good thing—a strong sense of self-confidence drives success and helps us live an authentic life. True confidence comes from within and self-assurance is a quality that can be cultivated, practiced, and strengthened. It's not just something that comes naturally to some people, and not to others, with nothing we can do to improve our sense of self-confidence. Utilizing yogic techniques of asana, pranayama, and meditation, we can uncover and address the layers of insecurity obscuring our inner strength and practice improving our own self-confidence. Sound good? How can yoga work to help you feel more self-assured in public or be able to speak your truth in a difficult relationship? Yoga can help balance your Manipura chakra, which is associated with the ego, self-confidence, willpower, self-discipline, and fire.