The yoga therapy program at the White Picket Fence Counseling Center is a powerful combination of traditional yoga with a therapeutic approach that specifically addresses body image issues as a result of an eating disorder or food addiction.
(There is another article here with more information about how the principles of yoga can help heal food issues.)
The following guidelines will help you feel more comfortable and get the most out of your yoga therapy experience.
Be ready – Open your mind to having a positive experience, and let go of assumptions or expectations. Trust me, you won’t have to bend like a pretzel! First and foremost, know that nothing should feel uncomfortable or painful (please speak up if it does), though you will be asking your body to stretch into what may be unfamiliar poses.
Be gentle – Yoga is about getting into a space of unconditional and non-judgmental self-acceptance, so that you can discover your own unique brand of yoga that will help heal your food and body image issues, whether related to anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating.
Be comfortable – Wear well-fitting clothing that won’t ride up when your body is stretching into different postures. It’s actually best to not wear socks, because you want your toes to grip the mat. Consider bringing a second layer such as a top or shawl, since it’s common to feel cool during the relaxation segment at the end.
Be flexible – In order to adjust each pose to fit your body, your yoga teacher or therapist may show you how to use cushions or blocks to prop up against. Sometimes he or she will suggest an alternative position just for you.
Be yourself – When you need to adjust any of the poses, relax and know that your yoga experience is just for you. It’s common to compare yourself to others. If this happens, here is a yoga expression and philosophy you can use: “Keep your eyes on your own mat.”
By enhancing your capacity for mindfulness, self-care and self-acceptance, yoga can deepen the effectiveness of other therapy and recovery tools.