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Can Yoga Help in Treating Eating Disorders?

Understanding Eating Disorders and Emotions:

Eating disorders are a type of complex and serious disorders that can be related as an addiction. These are potentially risky and can arise from a combination of various emotional, biological as well as behavioral factors. People who are struck with such disorders often use food as a medium to curb their emotions, feelings and put a stop to those situations that are overwhelming.

Can Yoga Help in Treating Eating Disorders?

Out of all the possible medications, yoga can be an effective medication to balance out the correlations between body and mind. They can effectively relax the symptoms that cause the eating disorders and balance out the emotions. Practicing various forms of meditation can prove to be effective as eating disorders lay a huge impact in the minds. They may also help in reducing the compulsive thoughts that result in losing self-control.

While this disorder is seen commonly affecting women of all ages, they are widespread and is often not directed towards women alone. Estimation shows that out of 10 million women, 1 million men in the USA were seen affecting with the eating disorders. The number of affected men has increased consequently in the past decade.

The symptoms that a person suffering from such disorders include binge eating and purging, use of laxatives and excessive exercising without any need. Patients often develop these strategies to cope with the emotional pain and the dissatisfaction that they are facing because of lower self esteem, stress, depression or trauma at times.

Such disorders are often classified upon the grave disturbances that are observed in the eating behavior. The sufferer often thinks of eating just to survive from the disturbances. This survival mechanism often demands the use of laxatives etc… Restrictions from dealing with the problem can also be a cause of coping with them. The practice of haphazardly eating may be due to the fact that the person has an inability to express the emotions using some other means.

Types of Eating Disorders

Persistent behaviors that are related to eating can often lay a negative impact on the health and emotions of a person. They deteriorate the functionality of the body and make them vulnerable. The most common eating disorders that are observed in patients involve Binge Eating Disorder, Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa.

Link between Emotions and Eating:

Types of Eating Disorders

The contributions in controlling the behavioral systems in the body of a man or a woman are done by the emotions. Emotions always supply the necessary control to various motivational functions in the body. Peculiar emotions like grief, fear, joy and anger along with mood swings are associated with the eating disorders. This may even result in lowering down the ingestion rate of all the people who are suffering from such emotional imbalances. The person may lack motivation to consume a food, show inactive responses to food, affective eating speed and it may also affect the metabolism as well as digestion rates. A survey shows that emotional stress often leads to various eating disorders in a person.

Increased body weight because of stress-eating is also a factor that contributes to eating disorders. The causes and the effects of the eating disorder have been determined, however, due to its extensive types it is difficult to find the exact age group that gets affected by it.

How Yoga Can Help You Become Emotionally Strong and Treat Eating Disorder?

Through yoga, a person will be able to maintain stability between the body and mind. The postures will also help to get rid of uncomfortable emotions that trigger a person’s mind for binge eating. These poses have to be practiced for a long time and the breathe has to be maintained in a stable way. With daily practice, an individual will gain control and be disciplined as well. He or she will be able to tackle all the uncomfortable emotions that compel him or her for eating the food uncontrollably.

The binge eaters who are higher on the weight aspects can successfully bring it down by controlling their eating habits. Regrettably, many people have tried controlling their habits through dieting and often fear to consume the food as they are unable to decide the perfect quantity of food to be consumed. The trust issues that you are facing with the food consumption can be combated by practicing yoga. It will help you in understanding the signals that a body sends when it is hungry.

Yoga also encourages eating mindfully. This way, an individual will learn to consume food by knowing its taste, texture and color. Along with this, he or she will also have an understanding about the quantity of food that is being consumed. By practicing yoga, they also learn to rely on higher wisdom and improve the daily life decisions. Yoga also teaches to be mindful and maintain an active state of mind at all time. When the mind wanders, people often lose control in thinking and through yoga they are taught to bring them back in sync with the body and mind. The addiction can be reduced to a considerable level by relaxing the mind and the body through various yoga poses or asanas. A person learns to let go of the emotions that are hindering the daily life activities and making it complex.

The practitioners of yoga are often thought to focus on inner peace and improve the strength of the inner core as well. They are extensively encouraged to ward off all the stresses due to the competitive environment and learn to combat them easily. Yoga also teaches a person to find the right point in life where they feel good. It not only enables them to challenge their body and mind, but to follow a balanced diet as well. These practices can be implemented in the daily life, which will in turn grant a person, a complete state of mind.

The most effective way of treating the eating disorders have not yet determined. The use of traditional treatments often involves talk therapy. They can help in building a strong correlation between the body and mind at all times. Talk sessions are arranged by the therapist and they help in lightening the feeling of anxiety. When this is done along with a continuous yoga practice, the individual learns to get let go and get focus in life.

Emotional Benefits of Yoga Which Helps Treat Eating Disorder:

  1. Brings down the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  2. The efficiency of learning is improved.
  3. Improves focus and concentration.
  4. Advances strength of mind.
  5. Broadens the realm of creativity and imagination in kids.
  6. The moods and feeling of contentment are put on a pedestal.
  7. Amplifies an awareness of the soul.
  8. Boosts self-assurance.
  9. Enhances hopefulness.
  10. Offers time for self containment.
  11. Boosts will power and mental health
  12. Renders great help in OCD- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
  13. Reduces warning signs of PTSD- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  14. Encourages in maintaining a healthy body.
  15. Helps in gaining control over anger and fear including other emotions.
  16. Brings in the feeling of pleasure and joy in living a life.
  17. Brings down the level of depression and negative thoughts.
  18. Helps in synchronizing the body and mind. The interrelation is improved significantly.
  19. Helps in improving the interpersonal relationships.
  20. Deprives the feeling of staying aloof.
  21. Elevates the relaxation experience.
  22. Creates mindfulness or renders a deep enjoyment of the moment.
  23. Compels a person to control the thoughts and maintain stability.
  24. Clears mind extensively.
  25. Helps in improving the symptoms of various neuropsychiatric disorders.
  26. Fosters emotional care and contributes to body-mind stability.
  27. Increases the skill to handle and understand stressful situations.
  28. Increases non-judgmental attitude.
  29. Helps in recovering intuitive abilities.
  30. Elevates the spirit of communal harmony.

Yoga Asanas Which will Help Strengthen Your Emotions and Overcome Eating Disorder:

  • Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand helps in bringing down the emotions of fear and releasing the long held emotions.
    Sarvangasana or Shoulder Stand-Yoga Asana Help Strengthen Your Emotions and Overcome Eating Disorder
  • Janushirshasana or head to knee pose helps in deteriorating the levels of stress and emotional imbalances.
  • Dhanurasana or the Bow pose arouses the adrenal glands and helps in maintaining a strong correlation.
    Dhanurasana or the Bow pose-Yoga Asana Help Strengthen Your Emotions and Overcome Eating Disorder
  • Balasana or Child’s pose makes the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems relaxed.
    Balasana or Child’s Pose-Yoga Asana Help Strengthen Your Emotions and Overcome Eating Disorder
  • Garudasana helps in balancing the internal and external body parts by sending positive signals.
    Garudasana-Yoga Asana Help Strengthen Your Emotions and Overcome Eating Disorder
  • Marichyasana or Sage pose helps in making the body active and harmonizes the mind.
  • Wood chopper pose helps in releasing the feeling of anger and depression. Stand upright and lift your imaginary ax with every deep breathes. On the exhale, chop the imaginary log amidst your legs with a strong sound.


  1. National Eating Disorders Association. Get the Facts on Eating Disorders. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/get-facts-eating-disorders
  2. Harvard Health Publishing. Yoga for anxiety and depression. https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/yoga-for-anxiety-and-depression
  3. International Journal of Yoga. Effect of yoga on academic performance in relation to stress. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667439/
  4. Yoga Journal. Sarvangasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/shoulderstand
  5. Yoga Journal. Janu Sirsasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/head-to-knee-forward-bend
  6. Yoga Journal. Dhanurasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/bow-pose
  7. Yoga Journal. Balasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/child-s-pose
  8. Yoga Journal. Garudasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/eagle-pose
  9. Yoga Journal. Marichyasana. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/marichi-s-pose
  10. Yoga Journal. Wood Chopper Pose. https://www.yogajournal.com/poses/wood-chopper

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 20, 2023

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