It is becoming increasingly apparent in our everyday culture that the prevalence of the practice of yoga is on the rise.
As yoga studios increasingly show up, as well as yoga in gyms, workout videos, studio boutiques, and the subculture of clothing companies such as “Lululemon,” we are starting to take to heart the significant effect that yoga has.
We have heard the great side effects that come from a yoga practice (peace of mind, an open heart) but what if yoga could be used as a therapy for a very severe disorder that is much more prevalent than one might expect?
Eating disorders are an increasing occurrence throughout the nation. According to the National Association for Anorexia and Associated Disorders, up to 24 million people in the United States, including men and women of all ages, suffer from an eating disorder (ANAD, 2012).
The two most well-known eating disorders are anorexia, also known as anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, also called bulimia.
Despite their prevalence, surprisingly little is known about what causes eating disorders and how best to treat them and prevent relapse.
Studies have shown that the practice of yoga has had a positive effect on women whom have participated in its praxis during their recovery from an eating disorder.
In a study by researcher Lourdes P. Dale and colleagues at the University of Hartford, they have found that some traditional interventions for women with disordered eating may neglect some of the mood and body awareness issues that come with eating disorders.
The purpose of a study they carried out was to focus on these neglected symptoms by looking into the effects of a six-day intensive yoga workshop for women with a history of disordered eating.
In this study, what was reported was that the women were able to become aware of and identify their emotional states, and in addition were better able to handle the natural fluctuations of their moods.
Most interestingly, following the practice there was a significant decrease in the women’s level of eating concerns.