National Eating Disorders Week: Yoga for Eating Disorders

The research base indicating the benefits of yoga for people struggling with eating disorders has been growing for some time.

Like Comment

This is kind of an 'old' paper (was published in 2006). But it is as relevant today as ever.

Last week was National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Eating disorders are a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. They are serious mental illnesses and include anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder. Over 725,000 men and women in the UK are affected by eating disorders. Although serious, eating disorders are treatable conditions and full recovery is possible. The sooner someone gets the treatment they need, the more likely they are to make a full recovery.

The research base indicating the benefits of yoga for people struggling with eating disorders has been growing for some time. In the paper linked here, Robin Boudette writes about her own experience of supporting people with eating disorders through yoga. It is certainly worth a read.

It would certainly appear from the increasing body of research that yoga offers a range of benefits to those struggling with food and body image issues at many ages and stages of the journey including promoting interoceptive awareness, engendering embodiment, enhancing connection to emotional states, diminishing drive for thinness, lessening body dissatisfaction, reducing the desire to binge, soothing anxiety and depression, balancing the autonomic nervous system and weakening self-objectification. In addition to its physical, emotional and psychological yields, yoga can also enrich our spiritual lives and provide a lived sense of existence beyond a pained identification with the appearance of the physical body.


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