Earlier this summer Walden staff attended Om Street, a West Hartford, CT yoga event that takes yoga to the streets of Connecticut. With hundreds of yogis’ cobra posing and doing sun salutations in unison, it was great to see how yoga is adaptable for everybody.
Yoga is an integral part of treatment here at Walden. In both our adult and adolescent PHP levels of care, patients learn gentle yoga poses to practice listening to their bodies. Balance, self-awareness, and calming the mind are taught in yoga as skills to integrate a mind-body connection. Yoga is working towards reconnecting with your body, not disconnecting; numbness can feel familiar for people struggling with an eating disorder.
Chelsea Roff knows the true healing power of yoga in eating disorder recovery. Chelsea is the founder and director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a non-profit organization that works with people to fully recover from eating disorders through yoga. Chelsea herself found yoga to be the catalyst of change in her recovery from anorexia and a subsequent stroke. By incorporating yoga into her treatment, Chelsea says she learned how to sense hunger and fullness again, how to recognize and respond to her own needs, and how to cope with emotions she nearly killed herself trying to starve away.
Chelsea is not alone. A variety of research proves that incorporating mind-body skills, like yoga, into eating disorder treatment is proven effective in recovery. One research review in Psychology of Women Quarterly suggests that women who practice yoga, as opposed to traditional aerobic exercise, reported greater body image satisfaction and fewer eating disorder symptoms.
So whether you practice yoga outside on the street or inside a studio, you are receiving amazing skills that can be useful in recovery. The gentle yoga practiced at Walden is adaptable for patients of any fitness level and age. Beginning to listen to your body is a building block not just in recovery, but in other areas of life as well. Remember, people who do yoga are flexible!
About the Author:
Kate Rosenblatt, MA LPC is a clinician specializing in the treatment of eating disorders. She strongly believes that recovery is possible at any age and actively strives to build a world where fewer people suffer from eating disorders. Kate works in both the partial hospitalization program and the intensive outpatient program at Walden Behavioral Care in South Windsor, CT. She received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, where she specialized in Holistic Studies. A coffee enthusiast, Kate is on a constant, cross-country search for the best mocha latte, as documented in her online journal Del Mocha Vista. http://delmochavista.wordpress.com/