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Move

Filtering by Category: Yoga

Accomplishing the Yogi Backbend

Lisa Eberly

Urdhva Dhanurasana, also known as Wheel Pose or Upward Bow, is an energizing, strengthening pose that offers a great full-body stretch. It utilizes your shoulders, hips, thighs and spine, resulting in a super energizing and heart-opening pose. Although it seems daunting, and even after achieved leaves room for improvement, there are several poses to help strengthen these muscles and make your backbend stronger. These poses will help ensure that the muscles needed in the backbend are loose and supple; ultimately improving your full wheel. There are my go-to backbend strengthening poses to try practicing a few times a week (or even daily!) to reach your backbend one day soon:

  • Bridge Pose: Lay on your back and bring your feet up toward your tailbone. Exhale and lift your hips and buttocks into the air. Bring your hands together underneath your pelvis so you are leaving on the tops of your shoulders.

  • Bow Pose: Lay on your belly with your legs outstretched. Slowly reach both of your hands back while lifting your chest. At the same time bend your knees, lift your legs, and bring your ankles into your hands. The only part of your body touching the floor is your pelvis.

  • Plank Pose: Begin in Downward-Facing Dog. Bring your torso forward until your shoulders are over your wrists. Press the front of your thighs upward while pressing your tailbone toward the floor. Keep your torso parallel to the floor.

  • Table Pose: Come to your hands and knees. Have your hands under your shoulders and your knees hip width apart. Press the top of your head frontward and your tailbone backward elongating the spine. 

Remember, it's called yoga 'practice' for a reason -- it's always practice, never perfect. 

Photo by Mariya Moore

How yoga accidentally helps you lose weight

Lisa Eberly

Wellness-14.jpg

People do yoga for many reasons, however, it’s never been the go-to for weight loss. I’m about to bust that, and explain how yoga actually helps you lose weight, if that’s what you’re going for, of course!

First, yoga lowers stress. Yoga calms down the sympathetic nervous system, leading to reduced chronic and acute anxiety. Research has proven that people who regularly practice yoga have more brain cells in areas that increase focus, regulate stress, and promote self-awareness.

Sooo….people under high stress typically crave junk food. Thus, less stress means less unhealthy cravings!

The stress-lowering effects of yoga also decrease levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes belly fat and fat storage in general.

Second, yoga has been proven to ward off depression symptoms, making you more happy when you’re doing yoga. Happier people are proven to be more active, burning more calories than depressed or unhappy people per day.

Third, research has shown that regular yoga practice improves quality of sleep. Sleep deprivation is linked to weight gain and decreased levels of leptin, which suppresses appetite. Therefore, yoga improves sleep quality, increasing leptin, suppressing appetite for high-calorie food!

Last, yoga makes you more mindful. Similar to increased self-awareness, yoga helps you slow down and pay attention to your actions. Regular yogis slow down and pay attention to how their food tastes and smells, making them eat less and have fewer cravings than those who don’t, according to research in Appetite.

All these factors form a chain-reaction that makes yoga change your way of living, warding off excess fat. The best part about this form of weight loss is that it’s a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Yoga affects your hormones naturally, which controls cravings and habits in a sustainable, healthy way.