Helping Your Mind with Yoga

After a particularly wonderful yoga class at the Washington Healing Arts Center, as I was feeling refreshed and renewed, I decided to ask my most amazing yoga teacher Elaine Blackmur, if she would graciously agree to be a guest blogger and tell us some things about the benefits of yoga to our minds.

She compiled for us the information below (thank you so very much Elaine.)


Yoga is a form of exercise that links breathing with controlled movements. It is a popular way to relieve stress, increase focus and improve your mental health overall

Yoga becomes part of your mental life. Yoga teaches you to focus on breathing while you hold the poses. This attention to breath is calming; it dissolves stress and anxiety. I use yogic breathing in the dentist’s chair, when I’m stuck in traffic, etc… You should always leave a yoga practice feeling energized, not tired. If you feel tired after yoga, it means you spent the time “fighting” yourself, trying to force yourself into poses. In yoga, you “surrender” to the pose by letting go of the tension.

Stress Reduction

Modern life is filled with multiple types of stress, and these can begin to weigh on you and affect how you go about your day. By adopting a yoga practice, you may not be able to reduce the amount of stress in your life, but you should notice an improvement in the way you respond to it. People who do yoga regularly often claim a reduction in the irritability and nervousness associated with having too much to do and not enough time to do it. By teaching you to clear your mind and focus on the present, yoga can help you manage your stress levels and approach the day more calmly.

Increase Mental Clarity

Yoga can also enhance your attentiveness and help increase your focus. Because yoga requires you to move precisely and maintain balances that call for concentration, the practice can make you more alert and better able to pay attention to the task at hand. The meditation component of yoga also teaches you to quiet your mind and direct your thoughts to a single point of interest. It can help renew your willingness to take on difficult or important tasks.

Better Sleep

With less stress and a better ability to focus comes peace of mind, and this can lead to a better night’s sleep. Yoga can help get rid of several sleep disorders, such as insomnia or those caused by anxiety and fatigue. You can take yoga’s breathing methods into bed to help quiet your thoughts before you attempt to go to sleep. Concentrating on your breath instead of the busyness of the day may help you drift off sooner and stay asleep for the night.

Elaine moved to Washington, Missouri in 1991 from Berkeley, California. She has worked as a Recreational Therapist at St. John’s Mercy hospital, was a substitute teacher for the Washington School District and for Our Lady of Lourdes. She began her Yoga practice with Present Moment Yoga in 2005. Elaine has a black belt in the martial art of Tae Kwon Do and is a certified Aerobic Kickboxing teacher. Elaine has worked with the Four Rivers YMCA as a Group Exercise Instructor and is certified in Yoga from NETA (National Exercise Trainers Association). She has also completed the Zumba Fitness training, Indoor Cycling, Turbo Kick and PiYo Strength training Systems. Elaine is currently working on her Level 1 Training with the Yoga Fit Training Systems.   Elaine teaches Yoga at the Washington Healing Arts Center on Friday mornings 8:30 AM.  She makes yoga easy and enjoyable to all levels of fitness.  Come and meet her this Friday!

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Yael DiPlacido, LCSW


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10:00 am-6:00 pm


10:00 am-6:00 pm


10:00 am-6:00 pm