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


Use your Imagination
Use your Imagination
Patanjali, author of The Yoga Sutras, shares that there are five states of mental activity; understanding, misunderstanding, memory, sleeping, and imagination. Imagination seems to be a challenging mental activity for those of us raised and living in our current cultural, social, educational, and economic system. Or so we remember. How often do we as adults imagine, like we did as a child? I remember my childhood imagination explorations including faeries, castles, mythical creatures, dances, romances, flying, time traveling, body swapping, etc. Why and when did we agree with what we were told, by elders of authority, such as to stop day dreaming in the make believe? Why is it that socially we were threatened out of our imaginations to avoid the risks of being labeled as strange, childish, or unacceptable?

What Types of Music are Best During Yoga?
What Types of Music are Best During Yoga?
The beauty of music is that it can drive you to do ‘things’. They say that music often has a positive impact on the mind, though the genre and the selection of music are important for that kind of effect. There are many medical studies that have endorsed the usage of music for restorative as well as curative purposes. Doing yoga is an activity where you have to apply your body and mind—sometimes, you feel out of the zone to put yourself in that crucible and need an inspiration or a driving factor. For some, good music or a song can provide the inspirational energy to engage in the activity. Many yoga centers incorporate music into a routine during their practices and teaching sessions. It becomes imperative to know what kind of music is conducive to yoga. Is there any subtle connection between sound and the way our body and mind responds to it?

5 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
5 Ways Meditation Benefits Your Life
Whether you already like to meditate, are thinking about trying it, or are unsure of why it's useful, here are 5 reasons that taking the time to practice meditation, even for a few minutes a day, can have a profound impact on your quality of life and benefit your well-being.

What is Power?
What is Power?
When we think of power, we tend to think of domination or control. A few years ago, though, I heard of a healthier and more yogic definition of power which resonated with me: power can be measured by how quickly you can make your desire into a reality. When we are in our personal power, we get what we want so easily, as if in the blink of an eye. To access the kind of personal power that allows us to quickly transform what we want into what we have, we must have a clear vision of which possibilities we actually desire. Visualization and goal setting can be a helpful practice to turn the gaze inward and initiate this kind of alchemy.

8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
8 Tips to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Travelling regularly for work or pleasure can be extremely fun, but often isn’t particularly good on your body. Gaining weight is all too easy, sitting for long periods of time on trains or planes and being forced to make rush food decisions or generally unhealthier options along the way can mean adding a few pounds around the waist in a short amount of time. Following a healthy diet and exercising regularly is a lot simpler when you can home cook and exercise at home or nearby, but while travelling these luxuries are gone; eating healthy and exercising become even more of a challenge. At the very least, staying well rested and hydrated as possible should be your two major concerns.

Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
Full Up: Eat and Schedule to 80% Full
I can almost still taste last weekend. Tacos, tequila, BBQ, sausages, mimosas, ceviché, beer, benedicts, ice cream…Two of my best girlfriends and I spent the weekend eating around Austin, TX. Sure, we caught a little bit of live music, did some window shopping, and took a walk around Lady Bird Lake — but mostly we just ate and drank, and ate some more. This week I decided it was time for a cleanse. Yep, time to clean out the ol’ intestines with a reset elimination diet. For the past 7 days I’ve ousted wheat, meat, booze, dairy, sugar, caffeine, most grains, legumes and nightshades. Side-effects of this elimination experiment have been a heightened sensitivity to flavor – good morning, tastebuds! – and an awareness of my tendency to comfort eat. It’s now clear to me that most of the time I put food in my mouth it’s for a reason other than true hunger. Maybe I’m bored, lonely, or feel that I need a reward or entertainment. And stopping at 80% full as recommended? Rarely.

3 Ways to Enjoy Maternity Leave
3 Ways to Enjoy Maternity Leave
We all think it’s going to be easier than it is. We imagine that maternity leave will be like a long holiday in which we can get to enjoy life, see friends, and read books. Because of course we’ll know our baby and of course we’ll be better at it than everybody else! It turns out it’s a bit different than that. Babies don’t keep to our schedules. That’s probably because they don’t know what schedules are. For that reason, if you don’t plan ahead you will find those weeks turn into a constant struggle to catch up to the baby situation. Like desperately trying to figure out where there is a changing room when the little one is wailing like a fire alarm. Here are some things that you’ll definitely want to take care of before the little one arrives to enjoy your maternity leave instead of struggle through it.

Finish Strong!
Finish Strong!
Week 3: Finish Strong! You’re almost to the finish line, challengers! We hope you’re feeling stronger, lighter, and more radiant. We know it isn’t easy to create a new habit, especially when it means committing to practice every single day. Whether you are fired up and roaring to the finish line or if you’re stumbling a bit in your resolve, we’re here to help you finish strong. YogaDownload offers these four tips to blast you to the stars and accomplish your Pre-Holiday Challenge (and life) goals.

Yoga Poses Scientifically Proven to Ease Depression
Yoga Poses Scientifically Proven to Ease Depression
A study titled 'Treating Major Depression With Yoga: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Pilot Trial' published in PLOS ONE Journal earlier this year. It was completed by a group of scientists from the University of California, Johns Hopkins University, and Cornell University. The main purpose of the study was to examine how an 8-week hatha yoga intervention impacted people with mild to major depression. To achieve this purpose, the researchers recruited 38 adults who were diagnosed with depression. According to the results, the group who practiced yoga during the study period exhibited a considerable decline in depression scores than the group who did not. The decline was statistically and clinically significant, so the study concluded that the yoga intervention can serve as a tool for reducing depression severity.

Free Your Mind From Stress & Worry
Free Your Mind From Stress & Worry
So, I bet you have some person in your life who has a blessed, abundant life but still runs around like a worry-wort victim, right? You also have inspiring examples of people in the worst situations who maintain grace and love and gratitude despite their circumstances. What’s the difference between the two types of people? The second type of person – let’s use Nelson Mandela as an example – gets that our stress and suffering levels correspond to our attitudes around our external circumstances, rather than the circumstances themselves. They take responsibility for their peace of mind, knowing that it can never be controlled by other people or external situations. Stress and suffering come from the stories we create from our circumstances. We dwell on the past with regret and shame. We project into the future with anxiety and worry. We are disconnected from the present moment, which, in reality, most likely holds much to be grateful and joyful about.

Yoga for Transition & Transformation
Yoga for Transition & Transformation
Transitions are part of life and the change of seasons is a perfect time to focus on transitions and transform your life. When we tap into the essence of the season and align ourselves with nature, we can create lasting change. Now that you’re in week two of the YogaDownload.com Pre-Holiday Challenge, we hope you’re feeling stronger and determined to stay the course.

Simple Ideas to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
Simple Ideas to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
I'm intrigued by people who've been able to reduce their yearly waste to just a bag or two of trash. Even though our circumstances have had us without a garden for a couple of years, I've composted for more than two decades. But the idea of being so completely aware of every single thing I touch in a day and determining how much to reduce, reuse, recycle is astounding to me. The three Rs of environmentalism have become a mantra of sorts for me. I figure if I can keep it on repeat in my brain the actions will become second nature. Where to start? Let's take them in reverse order...

Organic vs. Non-GMO labels
Organic vs. Non-GMO labels
Whether it’s from concern for the environment, their health, or both, shoppers are choosing organic foods and foods made without using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The upsurge in popularity of these two categories has helped organic foods become one of the quickest-growing sectors of food production in the United States. For anyone who has an interest in what goes into the food they eat, walking up and down the aisles of the grocery store today reveals a rising number of options. Not only do foods carry the familiar nutritional facts labels mandated by the FDA, but they also bear the symbols of organizations that certify organic food products as well as non-GMO food products. Even if these foods are distinctively labeled, there still may be some misconception about what those labels mean.

Types of Yoga: Which Style Fits You Best
Types of Yoga: Which Style Fits You Best
When someone completely new to yoga looks at Instagram photos, they might get confused. Is yoga all about handstands and backbends? There should be something more to it. When they do a brief research, they get even more confused. There are too many types of yoga, and all of them are quite different from one another. According to the Eastern approach to understanding human nature, each one of us has a unique personality and temperament. It’s no wonder why yoga has taken so many forms. It constantly evolves, and that’s a good thing. Since there are so many types of yoga, everyone can find a method that suits them. We’ll list few important types of yoga, so you’ll distinguish them and decide: which one suits you best?

When Fear Has You In Its Grip
When Fear Has You In Its Grip
Let’s get real about fear. Fear has been on my mind and in my heart. All the ways in which we experience fear, are taught to deal with (or avoid) fear, false expectations around fearlessness, and so much more. I’ve been holding hands with fear a lot lately. Sometimes it’s a firm, solid hand hold, and sometimes it feels like fear is trying to break my fingers and crush my hand. It’s so interesting being a human. I’ve tried so many different things to get rid of fear- avoiding it, seeking it out, making choices based on it or in spite of it, saying a lot of positive affirmations, focusing on love and light, pretending it doesn’t exist- you name it, I’ve tried it.

Align the Mind
Align the Mind
Alignment is a buzz word these days in the yoga world. Since more and more people are practicing yoga, and more people are speaking out about how yoga has injured them in the past, instructors and practitioners alike are concerned about safety. And that’s a good thing. But for all the talk about alignment as it refers to the body, what about the alignment of our thoughts, decisions, and actions?

9 Simple Ways to Live Authentically (Even When Life is Messy)
9 Simple Ways to Live Authentically (Even When Life is Messy)
As I’m approaching 30, I often find myself pondering on living authentically. What does being authentic mean? How do I know if the life I’m leading is authentic? Am I happy with the person I’ve become? Finally, is authenticity overrated? And if you’re anything like me, your train of thought may be similar.

Yoga Tips For a Healthy Back
Yoga Tips For a Healthy Back
Over 50% of all working Americans report having back pain each year. That's 5 out of 10 of you will have back pain this year! As a yoga therapist and a teacher of thousands of public yoga classes over the last 16 years I see many people with poor alignment, and the inability to flex, extend and twist their spine normally.

Plantain Pancakes
Plantain Pancakes
I have sort of a love affair with pancakes. Or rather, it’s more like a Nicholas Sparks style recollection of that one summer when I was eating gluten.

The Art of a Well-Paced Class
The Art of a Well-Paced Class
Every day during my teacher trainings I give my students time to practice on their own—at their own pace. The practice period is only 15 to 20 minutes, but it gives everyone a little quiet time to integrate the work we’ve been doing as a group. And, it gives everyone the opportunity to work on whatever it is they need at the time. I’ve watched hundreds of students practice in this environment and one thing that stands out: No one goes fast. No one. I’ve never seen one person choose to move at a pace that outstrips their breath. I’ve never seen someone go so fast that they get winded. I’ve seen people choose to practice quiet, restorative poses. I’ve seen people choose ridiculously demanding poses. I’ve seen people choose everything in between. But, I’ve never seen someone move so fast that they can’t breathe deeply.

Why We Should Retreat and Do Yoga
Why We Should Retreat and Do Yoga
Vacations are a good chance for you to try something new. It allows you the opportunity to be braver being in a new place and seeing new sites. Brave, relaxed, and in a mood for fun, yoga is one thing you could consider trying out. It’s new but offers the same type of relaxation that a vacation provides.

Love Hate Yoga
Love Hate Yoga
Pop culture continues to enjoy a glossy-eyed love affair with yoga. But many long-time practitioners and professionals are discovering that, somewhere along their journey over the last decade or so, either yoga or they have changed. As once die-hard yogis attempt to discern what, if anything, of their practice has stood up against the test of time, their relationship to yoga needs to be allowed to evolve or they’ll likely feel compelled to part ways.

Get Clear on Meditation
Get Clear on Meditation
One of the reasons why the Yoga Sutras are somewhat hard to understand for a first-time reader is because of the presentation and organization of the sutras themselves. Rather than presenting a chronological order of yoga with clear instructions, the very first chapter sets out to explain the unexplainable – the end goal of yoga, or samadhi. In fact, it takes an entire chapter and 51 sutras to really define and deconstruct what yoga is. Keep in mind, asana isn’t mentioned once!

5 Reason to Start Your Workday
with Morning Meditation
5 Reason to Start Your Workday <br> with Morning Meditation
Greatness can be achieved through dedication and daily meditation. Highly successful people are doing it so why won’t you? Each of us has different reasons for meditating. Don’t worry though, as all possible outcomes are always positive. Practicing meditation in the morning might be much more beneficial for you than in any other time of the day.

Curried Chicken Salad
Curried Chicken Salad
This salad was inspired by those gorgeous, colorful Bollywood flicks that offer a feast of singing, dancing, and romance. I love Indian food, as it was my first real introduction to all things curry. Only much later did I learn that turmeric, a typical curry spice that gives curries a yellow tint, has tremendous antitumor and anti-inflammatory properties. And to think, I loved it just for its taste! Here, I was hankering for a swirl of flavors with an Indian feel. The chicken makes a great starting point because it’s full of protein and amenable to all sorts of accessorizing. In this case, the apple and raisins play delightfully off the curry spices.