How Does Yoga Help Someone Suffering From An Eating Disorder?
A Tool For Discovery:
Delve into a mindful practice that lures you into a venue of freedom.
Yoga can be defined as the combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or teachings that has its roots in ancient India.
Recovery, just like yoga, is a timely yet beautiful journey"
How Does Yoga Help Someone Suffering From An Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders, such as Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating Disorder provoke a significant impact on the individual who has suffered through various mental illnesses, including eating disorders. However, those who pursue recovery - the true light - begin to transform into individuals who practice mindfulness and begin to nurture not only the body but the mind and the gruesome wounds that have been caused by the mental disorder. Overall, yoga is calling to the body - a tool for discovery.
Yoga originates from the very dawn of civilization. It dates back to thousands of years ago, way before the first religions and belief systems were created. Yoga has the power to improve the energy within one's body, mind, emotions, and energy by incorporating breathing techniques, mindfulness, and meditation in order to obtain the maximum health benefits. However, it requires one to be fully conscious in the present rather than worrying about recurring events. In addition, practicing yoga can help increase the mental energy and positive affirmations while decreasing negative thoughts and self-inflicted harm along with improving anxiety and depression. The practice of yoga helps relieve anxiety (which mainly triggers thoughts about the future) and sadness, which has a major connection to the past. All yogic poses incorporate present movements and non-judgemental environments as the main foundation. Once an individual learns to listen to oneself, they can begin utilizing the tools needed to diffuse the negative feelings and other activities that are the opposite of self-care.
Connected to Anorexia, the brain is extremely deprived of essential nutrients to the extent where reasonable and logical thoughts and decisions cannot be made. Along with this, eating disorders mainly affect the emotions, relationships, and awareness of an individual to the point where they begin adapting unhealthy coping mechanisms. Even though recovering from an eating disorders requires medical professionals, a support system, and other treatment options that help improve the mind and body, the practice of yoga therapy teaches one to become aware of their body and feelings which can be helpful in a person who has been disconnected from both the mind and body for an extended period of time.
Mindfulness is one of the core factors of yoga therapy - this encourages the individual to delve deeper into oneself and discover self-care activities that were often neglected in the trenches of the eating disorder. Most people who struggle with an eating disorder say that they feel distant from their body - a barrier to recovery. However, when a yoga instructor tells a person to do a certain pose, an individual solely focuses on that pose. For someone who suffers from providing their body with self-care, yoga reveals a place that sparks feelings of comfort and safeness that leads to exploring the feelings of being connected to the body again. Even though yoga may seem simple to others; performing the poses with mindfulness present allow the brain to rewire. This prompts an individual to become apart of an experience that presents safeness, fun, obstacles, and empowerment within a person. This is a powerful yet transformative journey with those who struggle with an eating disorder since those individuals often feel guilty and unsafe in their own body. By learning to breathe deeply and remain in the present, it opens the mind and enhances the strengths within an individual and can be incorporated in ones support system group. Lastly, yoga aids in regaining trust, flexibility, and strength. Aside from the advertisements that involve yoga, any well educated and experienced yogi will tell any individual that yoga is not about being the most flexible but rather focusing on their practice and revealing mindfulness.
Recovery from an eating disorder is an extremely hard journey but well worth it. It is a journey that regenerates the positive healing, thoughts, and feelings. The practice of yoga is beneficial to the recovery process. Various goals that are established through one's recovery journey can be obtained through yoga; including, learning to respect personal boundaries, accepting oneself, and accepting discomfort. Becoming educated about the benefits of yoga can be a healthy factor and can aid in developing a wellness plan. The practice of yoga is a highly therapeutic gateway for engaging in physical activity while incorporating an outlet for those to relieve the negative symptoms connected with eating disorders. One of the most transformative processes that can be shown through yoga is how do deal with discomfort. However, the practice does not magically appear after one certain pose - it is cumulative.
The feelings that are provoked by the disorder can be defined as horrendous and terrible - often leading to relapse. However, yoga provides a venue for people to build a tolerance towards discomfort. Whether it is holding the tree pose for an extra second, an individual is practicing waiting a moment for a response. For instance, learning to hold an uncomfortable pose for more than a certain count can help and individual deal with discomfort. Practicing these set of skills train the neural pathways to respond more mindfully to situations that occur off the mat; this is essential in the recovery from an eating disorder. In conclusion, the next time one feels the need to restrict, binge, purge, over-exercise, or do destructive activities - they begin to wait a moment longer. This results in an individual sitting through an urge or need and therefore, not act out on it. In addition, yoga leads to tolerating various emotional triggers, for example, falling out of a pose is seen as victorious and courageous.
Recovery, just like yoga, is a timely yet beautiful journey. The more kind a person is to themselves during moments of difficulties and troubles, the more successful they will be in recovery. Once again, there is no overnight cure for recovery. It is a dedicated and mindfulness practice. However, one must keep in mind that yoga is not a replacement for medical and mental health help, education, and support but rather a tool and adds an additional healthy coping mechanism.
The website provides inspiration and information on eating disorders. Recognizing the lack of awareness in Spanish-Speaking countries, the entire website is translated into Spanish to provide various communities a valuable resource. BALANCE is excited to have Alyssa join our team as a blogging intern!