Yoga: Benefits to Eating Disorder Recovery and Life Balance
Yoga has grown in popularity over the last decade and small boutique studios are popping up throughout the country. The intent of doing yoga is often different from person to person as well as the perspective of what the purpose of yoga is.
I’ve had my fair share of hesitancy towards yoga. As a Christian from a small southern town in the United states, yoga brought visions of anti-christian, perhaps cult-ish, weird and certainly not energetic nor qualified as “exercise”. I literally felt guilt about looking into it and trying out classes. That is until I tried it, studied it, and finally became certified in teaching it!! The mystic qualities have drifted away and the abundance of physical, mental and spiritual benefits continue to AMAZE me!
Yoga for Physical Benefit
Lets just name a few of the many benefits: flexibility, Balance, core strength, muscular strength, improved oxygenation throughout your body, healthy weight maintenance and pain management. But these physical benefits pale in comparison to the mental and psychological benefits that truly make YOGA unique. People struggling with self doubt, fear, anxiety, body image issues, eating disorders and much much more, can all find a new sense of calm and self love through the practice of yoga.
Yoga for Mental Health
The practice of Yoga can go beyond simply participating in poses and stretching. The physical practice when incorporated with gentle warm up, inspirational music, guided instructing with encouraging, uplifting, positive statements can transform your inner thought world.
A few of the phrases that I love to use in my classes:
- “Honor your body where it is”, “You are worthy.”
- “Breath in Peace, Exhale stress and worry.”
- “Allow your mind to relax and release any negative thoughts that are not serving you.”
- “You are perfect exactly the way you are.“
Through taking classes, reading about Yoga, and training to teach, I was enlightened to the purpose of Yoga. It was created to calm, center yourself, to create movement to energize and build strength, so that you then can feel balanced and release the negative that is not serving you. Buddhists adopted it to prepare their mind and body before entering into meditation.
The culture has adopted the physical practice to become more fit and limber and healthy.
Christians are now incorporating it into a spiritual practice. Worshiping God through music, movement, prayer and stillness.
Mental Health Facilities are beginning to incorporate it into programs to help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood swings, addictions, and eating disorders to name a few.
Yoga within Eating Disorder Recovery:
No matter how the ED originated, once a person is stuck in that mindset, the patterns of self talk and mental exhaustion are similar.
- Doubting yourself and your ability to succeed, ability to recover
- Tearing yourself down
- Lacking self compassion and difficulty fully loving who you are
- Difficulty seeing your future self, difficulty empowering yourself
These are only a few of the reasons why Yoga is a great part of recovery. Clients are training their brain to believe in themselves and giving them a physical outlet to express themselves. I also encourage clients to use simple movements to utilize when they are having powerful ED thoughts. Through the movement incorporated with Empowering phrases, a person can overcome an urge to binge, purge or restrict.
If you would love to try out yoga but are nervous to go to a group class in a studio, I offer 1 on 1 classes in my private office or small group classes if you want to invite friends.
If you are struggling with body image or an Eating Disorder, I love to incorporate yoga as part of your recovery plan.
Or, if I’ve just sparked an interest to try it out, I teach classes at Knox Yoga + Barre Monday 7:30am, Westside YMCA Tuesday 11:45am, and DAVIS YMCA every 3rd Sunday 4pm.
I hope to see you there soon.