Yoga and Recovery

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An oft-debated truism about the nature of pain says that “all suffering is equal.” For many, the notion that starvation or torture and anxiety are on the same plane can feel offensive. According to renowned yoga teacher, Tiffany Cruikshank, founder of Yoga Medicine, “All suffering is similar. Whether we’re suffering from relationship trauma or low-back pain it wears on our consciousness in a similar way.” Step into any yoga studio around the world and you’ll likely find that many people in the room came to yoga because they needed to heal in some way

Dear Readers,

 

Please find below a very motivating post from Ali Kerr on Yoga and recovery. We’ve covered this topic before. We hope you’ll find the post below unique and motivating in your journey to recovery and healing.

 

Yoga and Recovery

 

Woman meditating practicing yoga outdoors

It’s no secret that I love yoga. It was a major part of my recovery, and a wonderful way for me to reconnect with my body after years of life with an eating disorder.

Let’s take a closer look at this recovery tool. Is yoga for everyone? There are so many types of yoga, how do you find a class that suits you? And how can yoga actually benefit recovery?

Let’s take a closer look at how you can incorporate yoga into your normal recovery routine if you choose to, and a few ways it can help.

During my own recovery journey, yoga helped me to:

  • Become more aware of how I felt within my own body, helping me feel my hunger and fullness
  • Feel more gratitude for what my body can do, which boosted my body image
  • Learn to relax and breathe more deeply, which helped me fight off binge urges
  • Be more mindful in general, which translated to mindful eating

If you’re interested in any of these aspects, you might consider trying yoga.

First, it’s important to learn a bit about the different styles of yoga available in your area. Classes range from Yin, relaxing style, to vigorous Ashtanga or Vinyasa sessions. Also remember that instructors put their own personal touch on the style of classes taught.  If you are already an established yogi with an understanding of alignment, an online class may even be a good fit for you. However, new students are best suited with a live instructor who can help ensure safety and proper form.

Secondly, be sure to communicate with your instructor any specific needs you have, especially relating to recovery. Things like staying at the back of the class, away from the mirror would be important if you struggle terribly with body image anxiety. If there’s any history of trauma, you may choose not to allow manual adjustments using physical contact.

And finally, don’t take things too seriously! Your yoga practice is just that: practice! It’s your time to connect to your body, relax and enjoy the movement.

As with any form of exercise, consult your physician and don’t push yourself too hard at first. Watch for any ‘red flags’ indicating that Eating Disorder Culture is prevalent during class such as:

  • Promoting fad diets
  • Selling meal replacements
  • Talk of weight loss or ‘toning up’ during class
  • Promoting any type of restriction or excessive exercise

Your yoga practice should feel restorative and beneficial to your recovery, as well as to your body image. If it doesn’t feel this way, try another class or instructor. Yoga can be for everybody, so don’t settle for a class that’s not the right fit. And if you decide that yoga just isn’t for you, then don’t worry about it! There are many recovery tools out there, and everybody is unique.

Here’s to your own unique journey through recovery! Remember that you are remarkable, so celebrate who you are today!

In love and light,

 

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Islam and Eating Disorders founded in 2012 – run by Maha Khan, the blog creates awareness of Eating Disorders in the Muslim world, offers information and support for sufferers and their loved ones.

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