Since entering inpatient treatment for the first-time yoga has become a huge part of my life.
I remember looking at my mom like she was crazy when she would preach the benefits of yoga and meditation while getting ready for her yoga class. I guess I had to hear it from several other people before I decided it was a beneficial practice. Little did I know, it would be my favorite form of exercise and self-care in the years to come.
Yoga is good for your mind, body and soul. You are able to reconnect with your internal cues, thoughts and desires. It was a way for me to receive these benefits while also feeling like I was doing something productive: moving my body.
One of my favorite things about yoga is that you are able to go at a speed and intensity you choose. Whether you are participating in a class at a studio or watching a video at home, you are encouraged to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary. My favorite way to “take a short break” is in child’s pose. Anyone who has ever done child’s pose knows exactly why I say that. It is reenergizing and relaxing. When you feel like your body can’t hold that really difficult pose today, you can sit back into your hips and breathe.
Breathing brings me to another point. The other amazing thing about yoga is breathing. If you are in a pose and not breathing, you are for sure going to feel the aches and pains much faster than if you were. Breathing cues the body to relax allowing you to stretch a little farther or sit a little deeper. It is the backbone of yoga and without it you wouldn’t receive as much benefit from the practice.
For those who have dealt with malnutrition, yoga is a way to slowly build back muscle that you have lost from not nourishing your body. From my recent relapse, I am beginning to more easily hold poses that I couldn’t maybe a month ago. I can physically begin to see the benefits of recovery in my yoga practice. If you are beginning yoga in early recovery, I encourage you to listen to your body as I said earlier. Don’t get frustrated if your body won’t allow you to do every pose that you are instructed to do. It is okay. Even if you aren’t in recovery from an eating disorder, just getting into the practice of yoga your body may reject poses and again, that is okay. Yoga poses take time to master. I understand the frustration because I have to tell myself this every time I get into a pose I can’t physically do. Just know that yoga is not about who can do the most difficult poses. It is your individual practice to nourish YOUR mind, body and soul.
Currently, until I get the go ahead from my nutritionist, I only participate in one yoga class per week. So, I encourage you even if you don’t have the time or money to go to a studio do it at home. Youtube has many yoga videos and some or 10 minutes or less. My favorite way to begin my day is with yoga because I set my intention for the day and reenergize myself before the day begins.
Yoga is a treat for your soul, as I said in the title of this post. It is a type of exercise that does so much more for you than just get your heart-rate up. It is a gift for yourself and it is revitalizing.