Clinical style check-in’s at the beginning and end of a yoga session helps the teacher understand where each client is in their day as well as their recovery. Eating disorders are sensitive, dealing with the tedious challenge of embracing imperfections. Often, normal yoga teachers encourage their students to correct their posture, focus on particular areas of the body, and always remind them to keep their core tight. Such language can seem aggressive and triggering to someone who is recovering from an eating disorder. By checking in, a teacher can understand if a client will be sensitive or not to certain language, modifying the yoga sequence accordingly. The check in following the session always reveals a happier note. Most often, clients are relieved, feel more grounded, have a greater sense of connection to themselves and their bodies.
Helping Clients Thrive
Yoga and mindfulness go hand in hand. Without using the triggering language, a yoga teacher for eating disorder recovery can still help clients mindfully integrate with their physical form. The practice of noticing, becoming aware, and paying attention has been scientifically proven to reduce the intensity of symptoms which accompany mental illness. As a result, clients begin to feel more peacefully aware of themselves. Most importantly, both yoga and mindfulness are pronouncedly nonjudgmental. Eating disorders are perhaps some of the most judgmental mental health disorders, criticizing a person’s every bite, thought, and pound on the scale. Removing these judgments and embracing a more detached observation helps clients realize things are perfectly okay exactly as they are, precisely when they are.
Handle with Care
Typically, clients have to be in a relatively advanced stage of their recovery in order to begin a yoga practice. Though eating disorders do not always become extreme, they often are. Clients have to be handled with the utmost care, with tender consideration given to both their mental and physical shape. Those suffering from anorexia nervosa, for example, can drop down to dangerously low weights, leaving them to be nothing more than skin and bones. Bulimia nervosa can drop metabolism and blood sugar levels dangerously low as well. Burning any kind of calories is not the focus of eating disorder recovery focused yoga, but it is a side effect. Until a client’s physical health has been stabilized, they will not benefit from the mental boost of yoga practice.
Once they are able to practice yoga, clients immediately fall in love. Appreciative of the individualized practices and the safe space for mind body connection, most report feeling as though yoga helps them to fall in love with themselves again.
Avalon By The Sea provides residential treatment for eating disorders as a primary mental health condition as well as a co-occurring condition. If you or a loved one are experiencing suffering as the result of an eating disorder, call us today for a confidential assessment and more information on our programs: 1 888-958-7511.