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Health & Wellness

Making Your Brain Work for You with YOGA

 I love having guest bloggers sharing interesting and informative content on Re-Discover Washington. This post comes to you from Yael DiPlacido, owner at Life Balance Counselling, LLC. Yael is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in the State of Missouri. She holds a  Bachelor of  Science  in Social Work, a Master of Social Work  and Certification in Clinical Social Work with Families from St. Louis University. Yael is also a good friend of mine, who recently started her blog. Her third entry is on yoga, and for the purpose she interviewed our wonderful yoga teacher Elaine Blackmur. 

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 brains.

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!



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.



Yoga helps you to be in harmony with what surrounds you and to surrender to the present moment.


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.


Stress is always present in our lives, but we can choose how to react to it. Yoga helps us to focus on what’s really important.


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.

I’ve started my yoga practice with Elaine a year ago, and I can vouch that it has tremendously helped me to deal with stress and keep my focus on the important things in life. Come and join us this Friday at 8:30am at the Washington Healing Arts Center – you will be glad you did!

You can reach Yael at 314.660.7473 or lifebalancemo@gmail.com. Visit her website here. Life Balance Counseling is part of the Washington Healing Arts Center. Yael also provides Individual, couples, family and group therapy. To follow Yeal’s blog, click here.

About Slava

I am a twenty-something Bulgarian girl in the USA, re-discovering the world through the lens.


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