Yoga for Eating Disorders

In this pilot study, yoga practice combined with outpatient eating disorder treatment were shown to decrease anxiety, depression, and body image disturbance without negatively impacting weight

Go to the profile of Heather Mason
Dec 18, 2016
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27980773

There is a lot of fear in the psychiatric community about offering yoga to in- or out-patients with an eating disorder diagnosis. A lot of the fear appears to centre on ideas around people potentially losing weight or engaging in yoga to excess, to the detriment of their physical health.

It is indeed the case that care is required when planning and offering yoga to people with eating disorders. Electrolyte imbalances in the body (which are very common in both anorexia and bulimia) can make physical activity dangerous, as can heart arrhythmias, which are again very common in this population. Yet, if the person has been supported to reach a state of physiological equilibrium, there appears to be no reason to withhold the practice of yoga from them, as this new study very usefully highlights. (It is also very worth noting that even people with physiological compromises can engage in many aspects of yoga such as some forms of pranayama, most forms of yogic meditation and even moving through the asanas in their minds and hearts without moving the physical body).

In this pilot study, yoga practice combined with outpatient eating disorder treatment were shown to decrease anxiety, depression, and body image disturbance without negatively impacting weight. Researchers concluded that preliminary results suggest yoga to be a promising adjunct treatment strategy, along with standard multidisciplinary care.

Go to the profile of Heather Mason

Heather Mason

Founder of the Minded Institute, The Minded Institute

Heather Mason is a leader in the field of mind-body therapy and the founder of Yoga Therapy for the Mind. She develops innovative methods for mental health treatment drawing on her robust educational background including an MA in Psychotherapy, an MA in Buddhist Studies, studies in Neuroscience and a current MSc in Medical Physiology.. She is also a 500 RYT, a yoga therapist and an MBCT facilitator. Heather offers various professional trainings for yoga teachers, healthcare professionals and therapists, lectures around the world, and delivers training to medical students. She also develops protocols for different client populations by translating cutting edge research from the psycho-biology and neuro-biology of stress into yoga practices, breathwork, mindfulness interventions and therapeutic holding. Further she is involved in research on the efficacy of these practices, holds the annual UK yoga therapy conference and is blazing the trail for the integration of yoga therapy into the NHS

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