I’m all for medicine and traditional therapies like yoga, to help on the road to recovery for eating disorders. There is something to be said for the ancient art of Yoga, the tried and true Eastern practice that originally hails from India over 5000 years ago.
Combining both Western and Eastern practices has been my method for the past two and a half years since I started overcoming my disorders. Yoga helped me reconnect to my inner self and has allowed me to focus on my body and the things that it really wants, instead of being ruled by my impulses. Before I practiced yoga as part of therapy, I lived as an addicted person who lived largely ruled by compulsive decisions. I’m now able to listen and live intuitively on what is good for me. The art of yoga has greatly helped me get back to the basics of loving my body and myself.
Just how does yoga help to heal anorexia, bulimia and other eating problems? Let’s take a look in this great article written by Velvet Mangan, an eating disorder specialist in Los Angeles, California.
“Using Yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders”
Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders incorporates a holistic mind-body approach and can be a powerful tool when used in conjunction with other therapies. It has been found to provide women with a calm and composed mind, which is then able to fight the tendency to fall into a negative behavior patterns. Eating disorders originate in the mind and are caused by various external factors including societal or peer pressure and can be triggered by and in combination with psychological, behavioral, social, or biological factors.
Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders helps in reducing negative body-image thoughts, provides relaxation of the mind and body, creates positive body awareness and reduces stress. Recent studies have shown that individuals who regularly practice yoga and meditation improve body-image and lessen their obsessions over their body-image and food. Studies also have shown that yoga and meditation have a positive effect on depression, self-esteem, anxiety, and anger. Disordered eaters suppress and ignore the natural sensations of their bodies and adhere to the habits of their illnesses. Estranged from their suffering bodies, disordered eaters are ruled by compulsive thoughts and ideas. Using it in treating eating disorders also improves body-mind relationship, which teaches women to listen in healthy way to what their body is telling them, diminishing negative self talk. Yoga and Meditation treat eating disorders mentally and physically balances a person. Since eating disorders are associated with depression, yoga therapy can be have profound effects in restoring psychological balance and the associated sense of wellness. Physically, a regular yoga practice can help rebuild the strength, energy and bone density that is damaged and lost with Anorexia.
Many women struggling with an eating disorder have health problems that may limit physical activity or in the case of women who have used extreme exercise to limit weight gain have health issues. Using this method treats eating disorders offers a gentle form of exercise and breathing. Anorexics and bulimics, who often suffer from osteoporosis, can begin to build bone and muscle strength again. Using yoga and meditation in treating eating disorders improves overall fitness and boast the immune system, which is beneficial for those with anorexia, who may be experiencing lower energy levels Binge-eaters, who are often obese, and suffer from osteoarthritis can also benefit from increase bone and muscle strength. Yoga also improves circulation, flexibility, balance and stamina. Individuals recovering from all kinds of eating disorders can benefit from these results.
Using yoga and meditation is treating eating disorders also gives women the ability to concentrate and focus on the inner aspects of their body mind and soul. Paying attention to their breathing and any inner sensations that they feel, which will help guide them to a state of calmness and elevate the awareness of ones self. This state will allow them to explore new concepts in your life, past the eating disorder. Enabling them to achieve goals that may have proved too difficult or problematic in the past.
This treat of eating disorders engages the mind and body in a direct collaborative relationship, encouraging women to always balance effort with reverence for the body. The goal of yoga is to hold each pose with grace, ease and stillness of mind. This can be accomplished only by balancing the mind and body together. In addition to being adaptable to any fitness level, different yogic poses can help address the specific attitudes of each eating disorder. Anorexics, who tend to be perfectionists and rigid, can learn psychological flexibility and openness by practicing poses which encourage physical flexibility and calm. Bulimics can benefit from poses which encourage self-containment and stability. Binge-eaters can practice poses which encourage locating sources of inner strength.
Women suffering from eating disorders are have difficulty dealing with life events and stress in healthy, positive manner. In order deny, ignore, stuff emotions or life situations these women practice behaviors that allow them to avoid negative emotions. Feelings of anger, anxiety, shame, depression, trauma or frustration become triggers for these extreme behaviors. Using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders provide techniques that can help disordered eaters learn to constructively meet, rather than evade, these emotions and to self-soothe. Yogic poses counteract negative self-image by providing immediate proof of the body’s grace and strength. Each yogic pose offers a way to engage the body and mind in a productive union and to learn how to exert healthy control over body and mind. Furthermore is a path to healthy self-exploration, both mental and physical.
It has been proven that using yoga and meditation is treating eating disorders can reduce depression, restoring a state of balance and well being in the individual. Also, there are different yoga practices, which encourage heightened levels of self esteem, and promote a positive view of the body. These are crucial factors with eating disorders and it has been shown that the application of yoga and meditation can significantly increase recuperation and healing. Through the elimination of self-judgment, yoga establishes a strong connection between mind and body. This, of course is the natural state of wellness. By re-establishing this strong connection, mind and body will work in harmony to repair the damage.
Because the mental state has an important role in eating disorders, using yoga and meditation to treat eating disorders can be used successfully to reduce negative and harmful thoughts and feelings. An active, well targeted, meditation practice should prove to be very effective. The yoga poses work best when external factors are shut out, and concentration is allowed to focus on your inner self. Giving special attention to breathing and also to inner sensations, will transport you to a state of greater awareness and calmness. This new state will allow you to go on further to explore new concepts, and hopefully pursue new goals that may have been impossible before.
Yoga and mediation should not be viewed as a cure for eating disorders in and of itself. A holistic approach in the treatment of eating disorders includes working with a team of professionals who collaborate to create a treatment plan for the individual so that healing and recovery can begin and be sustained.”
Remember, You are more than any hardships you will ever face, you are an overcomer!
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Thanks for the support and love 🙂 Your REglam Team xx
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