Yoga can be an effective tool to restore the imbalances in both the body and the mind that occur with eating disorders. Yoga has a profound ability to balance the emotions and has been shown to help relieve depression, anger and anxiety and to promote equanimity: a calm, clear focused mind. Yoga can also promote self-esteem and a positive body image, which play primary roles in eating disorders, through the cultivation of non-judgment, confidence, self-acceptance, openness and inner strength. Physically, a regular yoga practice can help rebuild the strength, energy and bone density that is damaged and lost with Anorexia.
When practicing yoga postures, the use of Pratyahara (inner focus) should be applied. The exterior alignment should be de-emphasized and the focus should be drawn deeply inwards to experience and explore the feeling and sensations that arise in the poses. View our Complete list of Postures for eating disorders.
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Pranayama (yogic breathing exercises) are also helpful to calm the body and mind and to balance the energy in the body during the recovery stage of the disease. Use Dirga Pranayama for calming, grounding and nurturing and in in conjuction with Nadi Sodhana Pranayama for balancing, calming and reducing anxiety.
As eating disorders have a large mental component to them, the practice of meditation is very beneficial to cultivate a sense of control over life’s events and to reduce obsessive thoughts. Use one of the following by itself and/or at the beginning and end of your yoga practice: Inner Peace Meditation, Root Chakra Meditation, Prana Healing Meditation.
PBS – Perfect Illusions
NIMH – Facts About Eating Disorders
Yoga is not a substitute for conventional western medication; please consult your medical professional before starting a yoga practice.