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


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.

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.

5 Celebration Ideas for Earth Day
5 Celebration Ideas for Earth Day
Get Grounded. Celebrating Earth Day with 5 Rituals and 4 New Yoga Classes How will you thank Mother Earth and celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd? 193 countries around the globe hold events to celebrate Earth Day. To honor the planet that provides our home and sustains us with air, water, food and all our necessities, take the time to attend a local event or create your own ritual. This week, we’ve got five celebratory suggestions for you, in addition to four new classes that embody the qualities of our planet. Grounded, strong, reliable, and generous. Here are 5 celebration ideas to make give thanks to the Earth and make your Earth Day meaningful!

4 Ways to a Good Night's Sleep: Yoga for Better Sleep
4 Ways to a Good Night's Sleep: Yoga for Better Sleep
“Yo-yo”ing between little to no sleep can be frustrating, unproductive and draining both physically and mentally. We’ve all been there at some point, making it worse with the anxiety of knowing we’re supposed to get 8 hours of sleep every night. Whether your sleep is hit by insomnia, children or pressure at work, here are sure shot ways to take back your night and sleep soundly. 1. No Really, Cut Your Caffeine This is not new, but maybe you thought you were immune from this rule because you don’t feel jittery before bed. Well, the caffeine from your afternoon cup of coffee or tea is staying with you longer than you might think. Everyone’s cut off time is different, so say no to caffeine after noon and when hit by the urge for something warm try herbal tea. What’s even better at helping you stay awake and focused is meditation. Try Keith Allen’s 15-minute Meditate and Cultivate Calm. The happy hormones released during meditation will set you up for a goodnight's sleep later.

Get in the Flow
Get in the Flow
When is the last time you were “in the flow?” You know, when you were doing something you love, like surfing with the sun warming your face and the water glistening around you? Or, when you were dancing to your favorite band and responsibilities disappeared or when you were running with the breeze kissing your skin? When you’re so immersed in the activity, you aren’t conscious of the doing; you are simply doing. We’ve all slipped into involuntary Dhyana and often believe we need a certain activity to find that beautiful sense of being in the moment, free from external distractions. What if you could achieve that state voluntarily without the ocean, concert hall, or running shoes? You can. Yoga can help you discover this place. Roll out your yoga mat because you can get into your zone right now. We bring you four new flow classes this week, all focusing on different aspects of finding your flow state through breath and movement. "Flow, also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity."

Yoga for Detox, Cleansing, & Vitality
Yoga for Detox, Cleansing, & Vitality
Our bodies are incredible. In our natural state, we are designed to function perfectly, and our systems are formulated to eliminate toxins. When we eat whole, natural foods, stay active, and practice yoga, we shouldn’t need help to maintain digestion, circulation, and lymphatic flow. Environmental factors such as the air we breathe, the soil where our food is grown, and the water we drink, however, are often out of our control. Even if we are doing our best to take care of ourselves, external influences accumulate and can leave us feeling heavy inside and out.

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.

5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
5 Hacks for Busy Yogis
Does seeing #yogaeverydamnday make you wonder how do people do it? Because you for one, are struggling to find the time to do yoga ANY damn day? We know why we should practice, sometimes we just need help with the when, and how. The old adage ‘you don’t have time, you make time,’ is not very helpful. We know you’re busy, we’re all (insanely) busy. And if by some miracle we do find the much needed ‘me time,’ it’s hard not to sink into the familiar urge to relax into Netflix. But the truth is, the busier you are, the more you need a daily practice (which is way healthier than binging Black Mirror). Practice takes practice, so we’ve put together our 5 favorite tips to get busy yogis on the mat every day, for both, a quick and instant pick-me-up, and the long term benefits of yoga.

Back to the Basics
Back to the Basics
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few. -Shunryu Suzuki Do you remember your first yoga class? Or maybe you’ve never stepped onto a mat and something intangible is holding you back from beginning a yoga practice. Wherever you are on your yoga journey, pause and take a moment to let go of all you think you know about yoga, whether you’ve been practicing for a decade or a day. It’s great to go back to the beginning and remind yourself of how far you've come and that there isn’t only one way. A certain freedom exists when you come from a place of curiosity and openness. If you’ve been practicing for a while, you might have your favorite teachers, classes, and regular practice schedule. While that’s great, there’s a thin line between continuing to grow and sinking into a rut. This week, return to that place where you are open to hearing, processing, and accepting new information. You know, before you knew it all? Be open and step outside your comfort zone.

It's All About Balance
It's All About Balance
One of the primary benefits of yoga and main reasons to practice is to achieve balance in your body, your mind, and your heart. Yoga Sutra 2.46, Sthira Sukham asanam, is commonly translated to mean the posture should be steady and comfortable. By finding a balance between effort and ease on your yoga mat, you can create a sense of wholeness in your life. Hatha yoga is the broad umbrella under which most physical forms of yoga are housed. ‘Ha’ means sun and ‘tha’ means moon. Hatha yoga seeks to balance the masculine solar energy and the feminine lunar energy that exists within all of us. Because at any given time, each of us is experiencing some level of imbalance, right? Your career is on fire, but your personal life is in shambles or vice-versa. Playing with the concepts of effort and ease through asana and pranayama helps bring the energy within you into a sustained state of balance.

Yoga for Desk Jockeys
Yoga for Desk Jockeys
This week, we’re excited to share a collection of classes specifically designed to counteract the effects of prolonged sitting and stressful work environments. Even if you don’t work at a desk for long hours, this package of classes can benefit you. No matter why you practice yoga, you’ll reap the physical, emotional, and mental benefits. Major physical issues arise from spending long hours sitting at a desk including a stiff neck, sore shoulders, a painful compressed lower back, tight hips, and sluggish digestion. When you’re rounding forward focused on a computer, your shoulders tend to hunch the remainder of the day too. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect antidote. Yoga is the perfect remedy to open your chest and the front of your shoulders, stretch out and strengthen your entire spine and release tight hips.

Yoga For Your Heart
Yoga For Your Heart
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. ~ John Lennon Imagine filling your heart so full of love for yourself and others that no space for fear exists! One of the most powerful aspects of yoga is the ability to create openings in your physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies. The heart chakra is the seat of compassion, love, joy, and happiness. This week, our focus is all about opening and nourishing your heart. February 14th is known around the world as the day of love and it’s not just limited to romance. Documented celebrations as long ago as Roman times emphasize that the power of the heart justifies rejoicing. Our heart is the connection point where we are magnetically drawn to others. Love stems from our powerful fourth Chakra, the heart chakra.

Heal Your Back Pain Program
Heal Your Back Pain Program
If you’ve ever suffered from back pain, be it a fleeting twinge or a long-term debilitating condition, you know how much it can impact your life. A healthy spine and strong core are essential for feeling your best physically, emotionally, and mentally. Luckily, yoga can help. This week we’re excited to bring you four classes specifically designed to alleviate back pain and techniques to prevent it in the future. Often we think of back pain as a purely physical issue, but it’s not so simple. Back pain often doesn’t have a physical cause, but instead is caused by the manifestation of mental or emotional stress. Yes, injuries to your spinal discs, spraining or straining muscles and ligaments, or suffering a specific injury to your back or neck is physical. In yoga, we address not just the physical body, but also the subtle body, which is a blueprint of the physical one.

Yoga for Healthy Lungs & Happy Breathing
Yoga for Healthy Lungs & Happy Breathing
If you aren’t breathing fully, you aren’t living fully. One of the best ways to maximize your oxygen intake and breathe to your maximum capacity is to practice yoga. We all have our reasons for stepping onto the yoga mat: flexibility, strength, balance, stress-relief, and even enlightenment. One major benefit of yoga you may not have considered is improved lung power. Yes, practicing yoga regularly results in healthier lungs and a stronger respiratory system. Because respiratory health is what keeps us alive, we’d say garnering this benefit from a regular yoga practice is essential. Your lungs are muscles and benefit from practices to promote healthy breathing and overall well being. Yoga is associated with overall improved lung function and can help reduce effects of respiratory diseases like asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Dosha What? A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Ayurveda
Dosha What? A Modern Yogi’s Guide to Ayurveda
“It is not that the person needs to accommodate him or herself to yoga, but rather the yoga practice must be tailored to fit each person.” - Krishnamacharya Ayurveda and yoga are inseparable - yet the ancient health-science of Ayurveda is still so mysterious to us in the west. Here’s what you should know about Ayurveda, why it matters, and how you can use its principles to better understand your body type and better enhance your practice.

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:

New Beginnings and Fit & Fearless 21-Day New Year's Challenge
New Beginnings and Fit & Fearless 21-Day New Year's Challenge
Welcome to 2018! The New Year offers an excellent opportunity to start anew. Sometimes we need a nudge or reminder that every day we have a chance to create a fresh start. Use this New Year milestone to release what’s holding you in the past and open up to the next step on your journey through this beautiful crazy life. Whether you like to create resolutions or not, you can benefit from treating each moment as an opportunity to begin again. Harness the energy from the Full Wolf Moon on January 1, 2018, to leave your unhealthy patterns and habits in the past. Take the time to write down your true desires and dreams for a vibrant today and a richer tomorrow. Consider your top intentions for your health, your personal life, and your career, then commit.

Decompress from the Holidays
Decompress from the Holidays
Happy Holidays from YogaDownload.com! We hope you’re enjoying the last days of 2017, and are filled with positive energy and peaceful light. Sometimes, however, the holidays can feel more stressful than joyful. On one end of the spectrum, you can take the celebrations too far and overindulge with cookies and pie, wine and cocktails, and too many family obligations. On the flip side, the holidays could stir up mixed emotions and even sadness. Whether you love the holidays or hate them, we’re here to help you navigate the last week of the year with four new classes designed to make you sweat, smile, and shed lingering stress. Sometimes you simply need to take some time for yourself to maintain your equilibrium. A vigorous asana practice can snap you right out of your thoughts and launch you into a place where you’re tuned into your physical body. By stepping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself physically, you can quiet your mind and refill your emotional well.

The Sun, Moon, & Stars: Yoga & Astrology
The Sun, Moon, & Stars: Yoga & Astrology
Let’s put on our party hats and howl at the moon because it’s time to celebrate the solstice. Whether you’re in the southern hemisphere and enjoying the longest day of summer or in the northern hemisphere savoring the longest night of winter, now is an opportune time to align yourself with the natural cycles of the universe. On December 21, 2017, the Sun reaches its southern-most position as seen from the Earth and appears to be motionless before reversing its path. In Latin, solstice literally means “sun” sol “stands still” sistere. Celebrating the change of seasons on the solstice reminds us we are anchored to the earth, and are merely a tiny speck floating in a vast, mysterious universe filled with other suns, moons, planets, and galaxies. Yoga is our time to connect not only with ourselves, but also with the world around us. We can capitalize on this universal pivot point in our solar system and adjust our perspective to the subtle changes and cycles both outside of and within us. Ancient yogis recognized our bodies’ connection with the Sun and Moon. Hatha yoga’s name derives from Ha-tha, which means Sun and Moon in Sanskrit. Ha = Sun. Tha = Moon. Astrology is the study of how we are influenced by the stars, sun, and moon. By aligning the practice of yoga with astrology, we are empowered to become more attuned to the universe and achieve a deeper state of wellness and fulfillment.