1. Anxiety: Yoga has been known to help reduce anxiety and calm the central nervous system. Practicing yoga teaches one to control their breath which in turn calms the mind. When the mind is calm and focused on a single task such as breathing, outside worries, anxieties, and stresses become reduced. Eating disorders are often coupled with anxiety disorders so practicing yoga can be a helpful tool to use outside of treatment to help reduce anxiety.
2. Digestion: Certain yoga poses help with digestion and absorption. Gentle twisting and compressing of the internal organs can help the digestive system move through any blockages, increase absorption, and decrease constipation. Incorporating gentle exercise and movement in eating disorder treatment is important for blood flow and digestion as it may have been impaired from eating disordered behaviors. It’s known that eating disorder behaviors cause distress to the digestive tract and having a regular yoga routine can ease some of the symptoms of these behaviors.
3. Mind-Body Connection: Practicing yoga regularly can help redefine one’s relationship with their body. It can help make the body a safer place to be. Learning to accept one’s body can improve body image distortions. Eating disorder patients often struggle with connecting to their body and yoga can reconnect the mind and body in a safe, non-threatening way. Patients can experience what their body feels like when they move it, how to position their bodies into uncomfortable poses, and how to accept where they are that given day. Working towards recovery includes getting more in touch with the mind-body connection and yoga is a gentle way to bridge this connection.
Post by Sydney George, Nutrition Consultant, and Yoga Teacher