Author Archives: Jill

About Jill

Jill Lawson has been a fitness professional for 20 years, and has concentrated on yoga for more than 10 years. She has a bachelor's degree in exercise science, and a master's in physical education. This yogi lives in Southwest Colorado where she teaches yoga and Pilates.

4 Minute Fitness with the Tabata Method

Would you believe it if someone told you that in just four minutes you would not only improve your fitness level, you would also burn more calories per minute than running ten miles an hour, plus increase your metabolism 30 minutes post workout? According to researcher Dr. Michele Olson, aka, the Exercise Doctor, it’s true! It’s been backed up by numerous research studies, and it’s called the Tabata Training Method.

“This particular style of interval training has profound effects even on short-term, post-exercise metabolism,” has explained Olson. “It would take five times the amount of typical cardio exercise, like a twenty-minute brisk walk, to shed the same number of calories that result from a four-minute Tabata.”


Tabata is an interval training workout designed to push you to your anaerobic threshold for 20 seconds, with a 10 second recovery break, for a total of four minutes. Designed by Izumi Tabata, a Japanese trainer of athletes, the Tabata method seems to be a major breakthrough in fitness training programs. However, it should be practiced with caution. (more…)

Bizarre Yoga Class Instructions That are Totally Normal

If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you might have heard your instructor calling out some pretty unique cues. Phrases such as, “fan your collarbones” or “fluff up your kidneys” can be a little confusing if you don’t understand what they actually mean.

The following is a list of usual, yet unusual sounding yoga class cues and instructions used by many yoga teachers and helpful tips on how to interpret their meaning.

camel pose

Open your heart

Not knowing much about yoga, this cue might conjure up an image of someone on the operating table. While it has nothing to do with open-heart surgery, it has everything to do with having an openhearted approach to life.

Physically speaking, what this cue simply means is to improve your posture by rolling your shoulders back, lifting your sternum, and “opening” the front of your heart region. Psychologically, having an open heart in yoga allows you to be more receptive to the subtleties of your practice. (more…)

The Devil Wears Prana: E.W. Jackson Believes Yoga is Satanic

Republican party candidate E.W. Jackson is not only running for a position as Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor, he’s running his mouth as a highly conservative Christian who firmly believes yoga is a straight path to hell, not health.

Jackson is not afraid to tell the world what he thinks. As a Christian minister, Jackson wants to save our souls by warning the 15 million Americans who practice that “Doing yoga may leave unsuspecting people vulnerable to satanic possession.”

devil yoga

I don’t remember ever coming across any information while researching the benefits of yoga that along with better health, practitioners will start to grow horns and breathe hostility out into the world. In fact, last time I checked, those who practice yoga on a regular basis are happier, less anxious, and more willing to make a positive difference in their community.

Atlantic Wire’s Elspeth Reeve’s comment in response to Jackson’s assertions is the best one thus far. Reeve joked, “Behind the ice-cold eyes of Lululemon princesses burn the demonic flames of eternal hell.” Next time you are in your yoga class you better run and hide, because everyone knows the devil wears Prana. (more…)

Yoga Terminology Study Guide for Beginner Yogis

For some, joining a yoga class for the very first time takes a tremendous amount of courage. But if getting to class isn’t the hard part, not being able to understand the different terms and unique language of yoga can make anyone’s first experience not so text

The following is a study guide to help you recognize and understand common yoga terms frequently used by your yoga teacher.


A drishti is a gazing point, meant to serve as a means to help you focus all of your attention on your practice, versus letting your mind wander toward your grocery list. When your yoga teacher tells you to “Focus on your drishti,” or “Find a drishti,” they mean, pick a spot either on your body, such as your hand or foot, or some external gazing point, such as a spot on the wall in front of you, and stare at it. (more…)

Yoga Turns a Bad Mood in to a Good Day

Everyone experiences a bad mood every now and then. However mild or severe your gloomy attitude may be, the practice of yoga can lift your spirits so you can say goodbye to your bad mood for good.

The following are a few examples of how yoga can help turn your frown upside down.

yoga mom daughter

Elevated GABA levels

Researchers have found that practicing yoga can raise the brain’s level of gamma-amino-butyric acid, which is the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter. When GABA levels are low, we can experience anxiety, depression, and a decreased zest for life. When GABA levels are high, we feel elated, happy, and interested in living life to the fullest. (more…)