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


5 Ways to Eat Like an Olympian
5 Ways to Eat Like an Olympian
Nutrition affects the health and performance of athletes, bodybuilders or anyone simply exercising to improve their health. Good nutrition plays a key role in optimizing the beneficial effects of physical activity. Learning to eat healthily can help you implement a healthy relationship with food and enjoy special treats and food that makes you feel better. Nutrition should be a priority for any athlete. Watching the best athletes in the world performing at such high levels, it is obvious there have been countless numbers of hours put into training at their respective sports. What may seem less obvious, is importance of the food these athletes eat, in helping them get into proper shape and maintain peak performance. Importance of Good Nutrition for Athletes Without proper nutrition, you will not attain your full athletic potential, and you are more susceptible to fatigue and injury. To achieve the full benefits of a well-designed performance enhancement program, you must include a balanced and nutrient dense diet.

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.

7 Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
7 Yoga Poses You Can Do At Your Desk
Let’s face it: When you spend a lot of time at a desk, it’s all too easy for your mind and muscles to get fatigued, bogged down by the ongoing stress stemming from your job. You’re hunching over your computer, straining over documents and tightening your shoulders, even as you sit and type. Plus, there’s the mental pressure of deadlines and workplace conflict looming over you, making your body tense as well. Yoga is a great solution for this. It’s known for strengthening your body and easing muscle tension, while calming your mind and improving stress levels. But can you practice yoga in the workplace? The good news is, the answer is yes. Even when you’re stuck in a desk, there are several simple moves that you can practice that will provide the benefits of yoga right where you are. Through basic moves such as a chair cat/cow stretch or a short spinal twist, you can take steps to relieve back pain, clear your mind, improve your posture and more. Interested in regaining some of the clarity and energy you’d like to have on the job? Check out the accompanying infographic to get inspired with ways to practice yoga in the workplace, even during a busy, stressful day.

Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes”
Did you know that the average distance your food travels to get to your plate in the United States is 1500 miles? Often times, it’s much more when you get your fruit from other continents. Admittedly, I can’t live without my lemons, but I try to really stock up on the freshest foods when they're in season. I like to buy extra blueberries, peaches, and raspberries so that I can freeze them and use these delicious, out-of-season fruits during the winter months for my smoothies. Although, I’m not complaining about the abundance of local food, sometimes I find myself saying, “what do I do with that zucchini blossom?” I also like to have a variety of recipes up my sleeve for simple foods like cauliflower, which to be honest I don’t love raw because it’s too harsh on my stomach. My favorite recipe for this sometimes gas producing food is Cauliflower Mashers! Maybe I shouldn’t be using the word gas and cauliflower in the same sentence to make this recipe look enticing. But, it’s delicious and almost reminds me of mashed potatoes, I swear!

A Year Without Alcohol: Month 1
A Year Without Alcohol: Month 1
I’ve decided to stay “Dry” for all of 2018, and more importantly to share this journey with you all! It may not seem like a stretch to do a whole year without alcohol but for me it’s represents more than just staying sober. It represents being comfortable in my own skin. Alcohol has never been a super strong pull or vice, well ok, maybe in college when I’d be sober and diligently working towards a dance degree all week and when the weekends came we’d start things off with 5 shots of straight Absolut Vodka. Reality check! At 36 my relationship to alcohol is far from that youthful folly. A craft cocktail after a long week (or day) of work feels luxurious.

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.

10 Steps to Heal Heartbreak
10 Steps to Heal Heartbreak
If falling in love is the best thing in the world, heartbreak has to be the worst. Heartbreaks are tough and understandably so; what you just believed to be true is no longer the case. While it may seem like your life is over, please know its not and you will get through this. Having gone through a recent heartbreak myself, I feel you. After I realized another romantic relationship had come to an end, I experienced many peaks and valleys of emotions. Luckily, my yoga practice has taught me many things like patience, non-attachment and compassion so I was able process the breakup in a healthy way. If you’re going through a heartbreak right now, please know you are loved by many. Then read on and test out my 10 steps to break away and return to you. STEP 1: Breathe. Take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose. Exhale out the mouth. Repeat as many times as you need to calm your nerves. Your breath is your strength, your energy, your life force. Even in times you find yourself in complete disbelief, just breathe. When you heart is broken and you can’t imagine another day without him, just breathe.

Lemon Balls
Lemon Balls
We’re big chocolate lovers and with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to indulge in some dark chocolate. If it’s chocolate you’re looking for be sure to try our favorite sugar-free chocolate from The Good Chocolate. They are offering our community 15% off your order when you use coupon code #victoryissweet. You can also check out many of the chocolate-filled sweet treats we’ve made here. Today’s 80:20 recipe is as decadent as it is nostalgic of the oh-so-sweet-and-tart lemon bars we all grew up with. Lemon Balls

Discover Your Inner Warrior
Discover Your Inner Warrior
Within us all, rests a powerful warrior. An ally, full of belief, support and courage. A passionate protector, ready to go into battle when there is risk. When harm comes your way, your inner warrior rises into full defense. The reaction of your inner warrior is usually not to external threats, but to the struggles which we create ourselves. Called to action by ego, doubt, fear, ignorance, self-sabotage and neglect. The battle of your inner warrior, is to restore and reveal your best self. Fueled by passion, the inner warrior is strengthened by being open, raw and real. Life experience cultivates wisdom and calling on our inner warrior inspires resilience. Intelligent and articulate, our warrior is fine tuned to rise when needed, acting in support of our highest self. Think of your warrior as your biggest cheerleader.

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.

Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Downward Facing Dog: The Incredible Benefits (& How to Do the Pose)
Adho Mukha Svanasana, as the name suggests is a cumulative of three Sanskrit words, ‘downward, face and dog’. Hence, it is also known as the ‘downward dog pose’ due to its resemblance with the downward facing position of a dog. The pose is one of the most traditional postures, and is practiced in both Hatha and Ashtanga yoga styles. With that being said, Adho Mukha Svanasana pose is one of the most widely acclaimed poses in yoga due to its multiple benefits. It can an accessible pose for most, regardless of their yogic expertise and skills, or age. While most people experience benefits in downward facing dog, there are certain contraindications and precautions that need to be kept in mind before performing this wonderful pose and some of them are mentioned at the end of this blog post. Here are some amazing Adho Mukha Svanasana benefits:

Ginger Spice Cookies
Ginger Spice Cookies
Last week at our Zeal dinner we were talking to several cleansers about cleansing with a family or significant others. Inevitability the topic of “vices” came up and we encouraged these cleansers to slowly start to uplevel some of their family member’s favorite foods. Learning to prepare and bake healthy sweet treats has definitely been one of the keys to our own 80:20 success. Our 80:20 Plan is centered around the idea that you can live the Conscious Cleanse as a lifestyle – and that includes indulging in pie, cookies, ice cream, and candy from time to time. Today we have a new, delicious 80:20 cookie recipe that you must try! These Ginger Spice Cookies are chewy and super simple to whip together.

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.

The Joy of Drinking Coffee
The Joy of Drinking Coffee
What if the answer is simple and is hidden in your daily cup of coffee or tea? Datamonitor states that in Australia alone, the “hot drinks market had total revenues of $1.4 billion”, so there is plenty of opportunity to practice the art of being mindful when you indulge in your favorite cup. It is weird to think that I grew up hating coffee. The smell made me feel sick and up until my mid twenties I was disgusted by the idea that anyone would want to drink the stuff. Fast forward a decade and I enjoy a barista made cup each day. It’s not the caffeine, as I am someone who can consume the last sip and take a nap a few moments later. I like the taste but I’m not addicted or obsessed by it. I have given up and can easily do so again, with no side effects. For me, it is the ritual, an indulgence, a romantic gift to myself celebrating how amazing my day and therefore my life is.

Born to Breathe
Born to Breathe
Did you know babies can instinctively swim from their first second out of the womb? It’s true, and I highly recommend dipping your toe into the hundreds of adorable online videos demonstrating it. When underwater, they naturally know to hold their breath, and on the surface, they breathe deeply and fully, utilizing their bodies to the fullest capacity. When you notice a baby’s breath, it is obvious to see their relaxed, expansive, and unrestrained nature. It’s the way we are all meant to breathe. Yet, for many of us slightly larger humans, that skill of deep breathing disappears, overshadowed by stress and worries. The perfection of the present moment is easily lost amongst a sea of distractions. As it turns out, babies are the masters of the key to wellness. The quickest and easiest path to health is through returning to our baby bliss is through deep breathing and complete surrender to the present moment. This is the ultimate stress antidote.

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.

Turmeric Tonic Latte
Turmeric Tonic Latte
We have a guest blogger for you today and we couldn’t be more excited about it. Maria Uspenski is the founder of The Tea Spot, a leading producer of craft teas, based in Boulder, CO. The first time we met with Maria to co-create a line of detox teas, we quickly realized what a special human being we were with. MIT graduate, inventor, former ballet dancer, athlete, and author of Cancer Hates Tea, Maria’s passion for tea is infectious. Maria is the The Tea Spot’s innovative force, having realized the powerful healing benefits of tea through her own personal journey with cancer. Her message is simple and powerful – tea in its freshest form is not only sustainable and delicious, it’s a powerful elixir with unmatched health benefits. Maria is a social entrepreneur, cancer fighter and certified tea and fitness nutrition expert, and we couldn’t be more excited to share her story with you today!

How Not to be S.A.D. this Winter
How Not to be S.A.D. this Winter
I spent most of my youth in rainy Oregon. When I moved away it was to even gloomier England. Throughout my childhood I was known as grumpy, bratty, and moody (i.e. a “difficult kid”). I’ve done a lot of work on myself since then, arriving finally at a place of happiness, health and ease. One of the best gifts I’ve ever given myself was to move to a sunnier locale. I was 20 when I transferred colleges and ended up in sunny Arizona. Although the drama of the early 20s continued, I was able to see that with enough sunshine I was not an inherently gloomy young woman, but rather susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that corresponds with the changing of the seasons, usually provoking symptoms to start in late fall or early winter. Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:

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.

Yoga & Fitness: Bringing Different Worlds Together
Yoga & Fitness: Bringing Different Worlds Together
Yoga in itself is a very unique discipline and contrasts what fitness and exercise represent in ways. It is called a discipline simply because it is one; a very complex discipline that has existed on earth for centuries at least. Yoga is a sacred journey. It is a spiritual practice, not solely focused on health and physicality. Today, it is a positive part of the lives of a growing number of people worldwide, as it continues to gain in popularity and people practicing. Then, there’s fitness, which is growing in popularity as well. For many, the fitness lifestyle is sought-after and is more than just a hobby or practice. Most people want to look and feel fit. For some, going to the gym has even become a social event, with a sense of community. These are just a few reasons the number of gyms and fitness centers in the world have increased tenfold in a very short period of time. Although different from yoga, the fitness industry is a lucrative industry that is also doing good for people’s well-being.

Recipe: Amazeballs
Recipe: Amazeballs
If you’re an SNL fan, you probably can’t talk about one of our cleanser’s all-time favorite bite-size snacks without busting up laughing. To get the inside joke, be sure to check out SNL’s Sweddy Balls skit. Our beloved Joy Balls (recipe in our book, page 260) have been known not only as a life-saving snack during the cleanse, but also a source of ongoing office humor, banter, and silly text messages between cleansers. Is it us or do the words “nut balls” just make you smile? Our ball obsession has led us to make several incarnations of the original Joy Balls. Protein-Packed Almond Butter Balls (in our book page 261) Nut Free Joy Balls (get the recipe here) And new today…Amazeballs!

Why I Meditate
Why I Meditate
I was listening to a podcast the other night and the woman speaking said that meditation makes life a little “LSD-y.” I burst out laughing and nodded my head with understanding. Every day I feel like my senses are becoming sharper as I choose to show up more presently in life. Maintaining a meditation practice has been a priority of mine and I seem to be getting a lot of feedback that I should continue doing it. I’ve come to believe that life will give us feedback if we’re being present or not. We know when we’re taking care of our minds, our bodies, our relationships, our responsibilities… We know because life begins to flow more smoothly, we feel more confident and connected to what’s going on. Things feel lighter. Life also gives us feedback if we’re not taking care of those things, things begin to feel sloppy and awkward. Life feels a little heavy. Meditation trickles into every area of my life. Since I spend so much time teaching, that’s where I get the most information about the state of my mind. If I’m off my game, I know that it’s time to start re-prioritizing things so that I can get back on. I love teaching more than ever right now and I’m totally certain that I’m on the right path. The more present I become, the more I know what’s going on. It feels good to know what’s going on because that’s when we can begin to shape our reality and our life.

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:

A Desire to be Inspired
A Desire to be Inspired
Aim to live in a perpetual whirl of inspiration. The source of inspiration is different for each individual but produces the same result- a feeling of peace, acceptance, surrender, and excitement for the flow of life. Ahhh, how great does it feel to pop out of bed, ready to kick the days booty?! If only we could infuse our lives with a constant feeling of inspiration… maybe it’s not as hard as we think. Often, you’ll find inspiration within your own heart- guiding you fearlessly and motivating your actions. Acknowledge this- inspiration will naturally arise depending on your day, your activities, and your life situation. Some periods of your life will flow abundantly with creative energy while other times, you might feel as if you’re sleepwalking through existence. Of course circumstances occur which you cannot control. You’re not alone if you find yourself on a constant rollercoaster of inspirational ups and downs. However, you do have a choice to make habit and consistency of bathing in inspiration every morning.

Crockpot Bison Stew
Crockpot Bison Stew
This time of year can be busy, making it easy to push aside our health! Simple self-care requires that we take the time to make a green smoothie, exercise, and cook good meals at home every day! Life can feel overwhelming at times, but here’s the thing – time and health are two of the most valuable resources we have. If you’ve been struck down by the flu or other health crisis, you know this to be true! And time, much like our health, is in our control. We just have to make a plan and put health on our to-do list. During our Healthy Challenge (get the details here) we’ve found many of your responses have had to do with remembering to eat or cooking food at home. Today’s recipe is made in a crockpot (or Instant Pot) so you can set it and forget it. Come home to a warm home-cooked meal without having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Crockpot Bison Stew