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


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.

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.