I started yoga practice the same year I entered recovery. Yoga and the mindfulness practices have been absolutely transformational. So much so that I've devoted my life to sharing these teachings with others. Through yoga I learned to be more aware of my body, thoughts and feelings. From my perspective, when you are more in tune with your experience in the present moment you naturally find yourself making more intuitive and healthy choices - rather than letting obsession guide you.
According to one study, yoga practitioners have 60% less eating disorder symptoms and individuals who engage in cardio exercise have 40% more symptoms of eating disorder. Many individuals who battle with eating disorders are actively engaging in rigorous cardiovascular activity to try to loose weight or balance the scales from a binge. Before I found yoga, I was a long distance runner and I enjoyed burning off tons of calories in a short amount of time. However, if you really want to create a healthier relationship to food and your body - cardio may not be the best exercise option.
Yoga practice is geared towards promoting union or balance of the body mind and spirit. It helps you listen to your thoughts, feelings, body signals and even the energy of the world around you. Oftentimes, when an experience is uncomfortable or challenging we want to avoid it. I love the quote by Robert Frost, "The best way out is always through." In my experience recovering from eating disorders and working with those in recovery you have to dive into the dark uncomfortable experiences of life in order to move on from them. Yoga can help you learn to be in the present moment rather than spending your days lost in thoughts and hoping for change. It's like standing up and saying, "I'm ready and willing to do what it takes to get better."
If you're interested in starting a yoga practice here are some suggestions:
- Find a well-trained yoga teacher in your area. Preferably one with at least a few years of experience or trained in yoga therapy.
- Consider whether you'd prefer: private sessions, small group sessions or normal public classes. Sometimes students benefit most from one-on-one work while other times the experience of having a community is equally healing.
- Notify your teacher of the journey your on so that they can support you and customize the practice to meet your specific needs.
- Practice regularly most research on yoga therapy suggests that "dosage" or frequency of practice is integral. Aim to practice 2-3x per week for a minimum of one hour.
Keri Marino is an internationally Registered Yoga Teacher, Propmaker, and Yoga Therapist. She owns and operates Yoga Unique LLC offering mobile Private classes, Yoga Therapy and Yoga props. Keri teachers both privately and publicly around the Greenville area. Check out more here: YogaUnique