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


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YogaDownload.com's Blog

Feel the Connection Between Nature and Yoga
Feel the Connection Between Nature and Yoga
One of the greatest ways to feel connected to the world inside of you and the world around you is to step into nature. When you spend too much time indoors or with your nose buried in your phone or computer screen, it’s easy to lose touch with how you’re feeling. Where yoga teaches us to use mindful breath and movement to tune out distractions and to tune into the present moment, stepping out into nature allows us to feel connected simply by being. Taking your yoga outdoors to a park or the beach, where you can breathe in clean air and enjoy beautiful scenery, enhances yoga’s myriad benefits. Being in nature reminds us that we are connected to something greater than ourselves.

Yoga for Seniors: 10 Gentle Classes for Everyday Wellness
Yoga for Seniors: 10 Gentle Classes for Everyday Wellness
Whether you began practicing yoga yesterday or thirty years ago, your practice will evolve and change, just like your daily life transforms. You probably don’t enjoy coloring books and the jungle gym like you did in first grade, right? In our teens and twenties, it’s common for many people to practice sweaty yoga with a variety of physically intense asanas. As you move toward the middle and later years, it’s natural to shift to gentler, quieter types of practices. This week, we’re excited to share a program designed for the more mature yogi. In order to age as gracefully as possible, making shifts to how we show up on our yoga mat ideally would mirror the transitions in our professional and personal lives. Different concerns arise with each stage of life and yoga can play a major role. If you’re already a yogi, you know how eating well, moving your body mindfully, and breathing purposefully enables you to feel your best. Even if you’ve always been active and taken care of yourself, aging happens. Diseases, injuries, and degeneration of the mind are realities.

Keep On Moving!
Keep On Moving!
Here’s a mini-quiz for you: In one to three words, how do you feel after sitting for six hours either in an office, plane, car or even after an extended Netflix binge? Now, how do you feel after a long walk in nature, a sweaty juicy yoga class, or your movement of choice? If you responded to the sedentary day with words like stiff, cranky, negative, or anxious, you’re not alone. And if you responded invigorated, happy, positive, or calm to activity, you’ve described how much lifestyle impacts your well-being. Your level of physical activity profoundly impacts your emotions and thoughts. We all experience periods where we aren’t exercising or practicing yoga as frequently as we would like. Sometimes it’s because of injury or illness, but sometimes we fall into a rut and stop moving our bodies enough. And when that’s the case, we often feel heavy, lethargic, fuzzy, and unhappy. According to numerous academic and psychological studies, a sedentary lifestyle negatively impacts your ability to maintain optimal health.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

21-Day Full Body Fitness Bootcamp: Achieve Peak Wellness with YogaDownload!
21-Day Full Body Fitness Bootcamp: Achieve Peak Wellness with YogaDownload!
Are you ready to feel revitalized? When we feel our personal best, we are more confident, have more energy, and have a clear calm mind. When we exercise vigorously, we release bloating, heaviness, and stagnant negative energy. The lighter we feel physically, the more free we feel in our minds and hearts. Check out our new 3-week bootcamp if you are ready to take your health to the next level. What: If you are nodding your head in agreement, join us for a 3-week bootcamp specially designed for you. Challenge yourself and commit to daily yoga and fitness for 21 days. This boot camp program is physical with classes intended to make you stronger and more supple. But don’t mistake this plan for simply a physical one. It is less about what you look like and more about what you feel like. We’ll participate as a community and blast through your personal barriers to ultimate fitness. Why: You can transform your life when you feel your best on every level.

Yoga for Strength and Power: Inside and Out
Yoga for Strength and Power: Inside and Out
Did you know that practicing certain styles of yoga is an excellent way to build not only flexibility and balance, but also strength? Hatha yoga, specifically styles of Vinyasa, Power, and Ashtanga work like a functional fitness program with your own body weight. In a well-rounded yoga practice, you work your body in all planes of motion and utilize not just the large muscles, but the small ones too. When you feel strong physically, there’s a direct correlation to how you feel emotionally and mentally as well. It’s all connected. Let’s focus on the physical aspect and how yoga builds strength.

4 Ways to Make YogaDownload.com a Powerful Health Hack
4 Ways to Make YogaDownload.com a Powerful Health Hack
These days, life seems to only get busier and often it’s easy to let your yoga practice fall by the wayside when work deadlines, family obligations, travel, or fill-in-the-blank, get in the way. Staying healthy physically, emotionally, and mentally can be a challenge when you feel pressed for time. What’s important to remember is a consistent yoga practice will keep you healthy. When you feel your best, everything else falls into place. We’re here with a few tips and tricks to help you solidify your yoga habit. Remember there isn’t a one-sized fits all method––what’s key is having a game plan. Whether you prefer practicing first thing in the morning, later in the evening, or anytime you can squeeze in a yoga break, creating an individualized schedule will make the difference. Once you feel the benefits of a clear mind, supple and strong muscles, and a softer heart, sticking to your yoga practice becomes second nature.

5-Day Empowerment Flow Program: A Self-Confidence Overhaul with Jackie Casal Mahrou
5-Day Empowerment Flow Program: A Self-Confidence Overhaul with Jackie Casal Mahrou
Stop what you are doing and close your eyes. Well, close your eyes after you read this article, of course. Take a hard look at your life. Would you say you are living your life to its fullest potential and operating from your highest self? If not, are you ready to make a true personal breakthrough? We’re here to help with a new program from beloved YogaDownload.com teacher, Jackie Casal Mahrou: 5-Day Empowerment Flow Series. First, consider whether you are tapping into your well of inner strength, listening to your inner voice, and expressing your authentic self. Or have external events and global challenges dimmed your radiance? Bouncing back after unforeseen challenges rock your world isn’t always easy. Don’t forget your power exists inside of you. Resilience is the ability to stay strong through times of adversity; to prevent obstacles from destroying your spirit, and to continue to forge your path.

The Magic of Yoga
The Magic of Yoga
Do you believe in magic? Not necessarily the kind of tricks you might see at a Las Vegas show, but more the type of magic that manifests as an intangible feeling that can’t be measured with logic or science. Whatever your initial reason for beginning yoga, you probably know you don’t keep returning simply because your hamstrings are more supple–– there is something more. Let’s call that subtle quality the magic of yoga. Perhaps you felt happy for ten minutes, ten hours, ten days, or even ten years after yoga class and you can’t pinpoint why. We often discuss the tangible physical benefits of a consistent yoga practice, like strength, flexibility, and balance. These qualities are wonderful, but not everything about yoga can be quantified. This week we’re focusing more on what is percolating beneath the surface in the subtle body. Our subtle body is said to contain more than 72,000 Nadis or energy channels and prana encompasses more than the muscles and the ligaments. It impacts our nervous system, our circulatory system, and our organs, whether we are aware of it or not. When we practice yoga, whatever the style, we are shifting and moving around our prana or life force energy. The magic of yoga impacts us on a cellular level. How? Why?

Yoga for Chronic Pain Relief
Yoga for Chronic Pain Relief
​During yoga class, you may have heard that mental and emotional pain can manifest in our bodies as physical pain. For example, an emotional trauma suffered as a child that was never fully processed can show up as pain in the hips and lower back. Samskaras, or shadows of past pain and suffering, exist for all of us. Yoga can assist us in soothing the nervous system and quieting the mind, which helps us process and move through pain. "Practicing yoga has the opposite effect on the brain as does chronic pain." M. Catherine Bushnell, PhD, scientific director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH) says. What an incredible concept! We can help program our brains to feel better simply by showing up on our yoga mats. In fact, a 2015 study from Harvard Medical School, Annals of Internal Medicine concluded yoga increased mobility for people suffering from chronic low back pain more than the standard medical care did.

Yoga for Greater Flexibility
Yoga for Greater Flexibility
Ask any yoga teacher what the most common excuse they hear from people who don’t practice yoga is and you’ll probably receive the same answer: “I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.” We’re not sure where the myth started that naturally flexible and bendy people were the only ones who could practice yoga. In fact, it’s really the opposite. Flexibility looks very different depending on if you are a twenty-year-old former dancer, a thirty-year-old professional athlete, a fifty-year-old desk jockey, or an eighty-years-young retiree. No matter your age, anatomy, or physical abilities, yoga can help you become more flexible. The beauty of yoga is there are several styles and levels of classes and at least one is suited for you. How wonderful is that?

Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
Happy and Healthy Hips: Unpack Your Saddlebags!
This week, it’s time to unpack those saddlebags and release the heaviness and stress weighing you down and impeding your emotions. It takes a lot of work to create the tight hips many of us are experiencing these days. Almost everything we do in our daily lives create tension: from sedentary activities like sitting at a desk and driving to running or even simple everyday stress. We accumulate unprocessed emotions in our hips and we’ve all got one or maybe fifty of those, right? Let’s unpack them. When your hips are both open and strong, you have a balanced center of gravity and are able to maintain not just a healthy spine, but also a happy heart and mind. Physically, your pelvis houses several ligaments and muscles.

5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
5-Day Absolution Intensive with Mark Morford
Set Yourself Free! Take a moment to check in on how you’re feeling. Go ahead; take a quick scan from the crown of your beautiful head to the soles of your bare feet. If you are wearing shoes, go ahead and slip your feet out and wiggle your toes. On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your feeling of personal freedom right now? Where are you physically, emotionally, and mentally today? If you are feeling restricted in any or all of these areas, rest assured that your yoga practice can help you shed the tightness in your muscles, soothe any discord in your emotions, and quiet your thoughts. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali teaches that learning to detach or let go is necessary in order to find freedom. But what does it mean to truly let go? And let go of what, exactly?

Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Yoga for Self Care: Do You First!
Self-care is a priority, not an after-thought. Yes, you come first. When was the last time you were on a plane? If you were actually paying attention to the safety presentation before take off, you’d recall that the flight attendant always advises each passenger to place their own oxygen mask on first, even before their child’s. The message here, like our theme this week, is that taking care of yourself first is key before you can help anyone else. Do you ever feel guilty if you take time to go get a massage or put off a work call until after you’ve practiced yoga or worked out? Or how about feeling somehow naughty that you took a nap in the middle of the day instead of going to get your car washed? As yogis, we often consider ourselves experts in self-care when often, we are the ones focused on caring for others, and our own needs are at the bottom of the list. We get it: we are all busy and juggling responsibilities. Problems arise when obligations to your work, your family, your cat or your dog, supersede your obligations to your own health and well-being. It’s time to put yourself first before you burn out and can’t show up in your life at your best. Shifting your perspective to view self-care as a necessity and not a luxury is all you need to do for a happy, healthy lifestyle.

Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga for the Upper Body: Heart, Shoulders, Throat & Head
Yoga’s benefits are all-encompassing. This ancient practice affects our entire body, mind, and heart. Yoga can be approached in hundreds of different ways and can be utilized for specific areas of focus. This week, we’ll focus on how yoga benefits the upper body and that includes not just muscles and bones, but your four higher chakras or seats of higher consciousness. Many of us sit at the computer, drive a lot, stare at our smartphones, and as a result, our shoulders begin to round forward, proper posture disintegrates and we can actually become more closed off in our emotional expression. By focusing on asanas that open up the heart, shoulders, throat, and neck, we not only improve our posture, but we learn to keep the heart open and to communicate with truth and kindness. So yes, you can loosen up the physical tension and tightness that plagues you, improve your posture, and get rid of aches and pains. But the benefits go deeper by balancing out your Anahata or heart chakra, Vishudda or throat chakra, Ajna or third eye chakra, and Sahasrara or crown chakra.

Your Seasonal Wellness Makeover: A 2-Week Yoga Challenge for Body & Mind
Your Seasonal Wellness Makeover: A 2-Week Yoga Challenge for Body & Mind
After last week’s celebration of the Equinox and official change of seasons, we figured it was the perfect time for a two week Yoga Challenge. Why not harness the power of Mother Nature to boost your motivation and discipline? Whether you already practice yoga daily or if this is a big change to your routine, participating with yogis around the globe in a supportive environment will help you feel healthier and happier. You’ll even receive inspiration, structure, and goal setting techniques with life coach and YogaDownload teacher Elise Fabricant. Transformation isn’t easy, but we do have the power to make shifts in our thoughts, emotions, and physical strength and flexibility. Change doesn’t happen overnight, which is why we’ve carefully chosen two weeks of yoga classes to keep you engaged, excited, and on track.

Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
Equinox: The Power of Change and Transition
"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and the seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But, there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power. " - Alan Cohen Happy Equinox yogis! Whether you are celebrating the budding and blossoming of Spring in the Northern hemisphere or accepting the shedding of layers that personifies Autumn in the Southern hemisphere, we are all in the midst of powerful transition. When we align our own intentions and goals with nature’s rhythms and patterns, we strengthen our positions. We’re all living this one life on the planet together and the earth impacts everything we do, from how we feel physically to our thoughts and emotions. Why not harness these seasonal shifts to reflect, set intentions, and implement change?

Yoga Nidra: 1 Week Program for Ultimate Relaxation
Yoga Nidra: 1 Week Program for Ultimate Relaxation
Attention busy yogis: one hour of Yoga Nidra is like getting a few hours of deep sleep. Yes, one hour of Yoga Nidra practice has many benefits, but its power to provide you with the nourishing effect of true restful sleep can transform your life. This practice is designed to help you learn to completely relax, delve into your unconscious, and maximize your total well being. What’s even more wonderful is that anyone can learn this practice, no matter your age, physical abilities, and current state of health. If you aren’t familiar with Yoga Nidra, it is a healing practice of total relaxation. Your teacher guides you into a deeply relaxed state, kind of like how you feel right before you fall asleep where you are relaxed, quiet, yet aware of your surroundings.

Yoga for the Solar Plexus
Yoga for the Solar Plexus
Come on yogi, light your fire! Join us this week as we work to stoke our inner fire, to stimulate our power center, and to increase our confidence in all aspects of our lives. As you know, yoga transcends the physical, and one of the most important benefits of a regular practice is the ability to impact your subtle body and change how you feel from the inside out. Through targeted breath and movement, you can increase the flow of prana (energy) in your system and live your life feeling your best. Who doesn’t need a little boost? As you’ve probably experienced, different types of yoga classes yield different effects. Sometimes you need to quiet and calm, other times you need to strengthen and balance, and other times you need to rev up your engines. When you’re ready to manifest your desires, focus on the Manipura or navel chakra. Of the seven main chakras in the subtle body, Manipura houses the fire element. It’s the seat of ego and self-confidence, relationships with others and our boundaries, willpower, self-discipline, and it’s truly the center of our power and personality.

Quick Yoga Fix: Ways to Stay on Track when Time is Tight
Quick Yoga Fix: Ways to Stay on Track when Time is Tight
Can you believe it is almost March? Time seems to be zooming at the speed of light these days and with that swift pace, some priorities in life seem to shift. Work, school, family, travel, all the little responsibilities…some days it’s tough to complete all the things you want to do after you’ve done all the things you need to do. And you want to do yoga, right? If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, you may be battling the Polar Vortex and spending an hour shoveling your driveway or taking thirty extra minutes to get to the office. That precious time could have been spent on your yoga mat. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, perhaps your holidays and vacation time created a lapse in your regular yoga practice. Regardless of why you’ve not had time to practice yoga as frequently as you would like, the result is the same. You’ve fallen out of your routine and aren’t feeling as balanced, strong, and flexible as you’d like. Maybe you feel like if you can’t get a full hour or ninety-minute practice in, it isn’t worth your time to step onto the mat. Not true!