It has long been theorized that eating disorders were caused by mental disorders alone, but doctors have found this conclusion to be false. Through numerous studies and a deeper look into disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, it has been discovered that other factors contribute to eating disorders. Social, psychological, and biological elements have a great deal of impact on people with these types of food issues.
Eating disorders, as well as other problems that stem from the mind, should be dealt with through the mind. Additional mental issues such as depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder are associated with eating disorders, and may be the key to why they manifest from thoughts to impulses. Psychiatrists and doctors alike agree that the key to ridding one’s obsessive thoughts of food, sadness, or other things is to practice controlling one’s own thoughts. To calm the mind and assess the thought process, yoga is an essential tool in healing people from the inside as well as the outside. This may reduce or eliminate the need for people to act on their food related impulses.
Numerous studies have found that yoga practitioners who suffered from depression before they began yoga had decreased symptoms of depression after taking up yoga. The mind and body work together to create a healthy balance that is present at all times, not just while doing yoga. Yoga students are taught to accept one another as well as their own bodies by becoming aware of their movements and the ways in which the exercises affect their body parts. Yoga invalidates the need that people have to constantly judge themselves. This is a natural way to heal the mind, and the harmony of the body and mind is the first step to recovery. Meditation is also essential to practice to recognize debilitating thoughts and rid them from the mind.
Practicing yoga on a regular basis tones and strengthens the body as well as the immune system. Anorexia nervosa is a dangerous health problem that can affect the heart, bones, and stamina which yoga will improve. The constant reminder of balance also offers bulimics insight to maintain better eating habits and consuming as much as they need instead of large amounts of food.
In yogic terms, eating disorders are directly related to the first chakra, which is an energy level in the body that can become unbalanced. Certain asanas can help to return this energy level back to normal including Pigeon, Full Wind, Staff, and Crab. Other postures such as Goddess, Mountain, Prayer Squat, and Standing Squat allow a person to feel bold and courageous once again. Poses that can specifically help anorexics are back and forward bending poses for happiness and a steadier mind.