The integration of yoga and eating disorders is getting more and more common in treatment settings as time goes on. It seems like a no-brainer! Mindfulness? Non-judgment? Listening to your body? It’s like yoga was MADE for eating disorder recovery!
Another awesome integration? Yoga + God
I was recently introduced to Holy Yoga through a half-day workshop in St. Louis. It. Was. Amazing. I really needed it. Holy Yoga is a Recognized School of Yoga (like Bikram Yoga or Forrest Yoga). It involves yoga poses along with scripture, worship music and intentions set on Christ.
This is a way for us to connect with God. Be with him. It’s a space to experience him. This was probably the first time I was able to experience him without trying so hard. I wasn’t trying to mentally list the benefits of what I was doing, or skipping ahead to how I’d explain this to friends later, or writing down the words that God was telling me. I wasn’t even trying to not try! It was truly a supernatural experience. I let it permeate me.
Will every single Holy Yoga experience be like this for me from now on? Unfortunately, probably not. I know there will be yoga practices in the future when I’ll try too hard to recreate this one. This experience was a sweet, sweet gift that I hope will carry me for a while.
Holy Yoga and Eating Disorder Recovery
It’s exciting to think about the possible effect of Holy Yoga in eating disorder recovery. If you are interested in Holy Yoga and are in the recovery process, I would like to share the following considerations:
Don’t think of it as a workout. If you enter into Holy Yoga with the mindset of burning calories or toning your muscles, you may just get frustrated. You also might miss out on the spiritual aspect if you are focusing so much on the physical. Instead, I would encourage you to enter it prayerfully and without expectations.
It’s not a substitute for church. The yoga instructors are not trained as pastors and don’t take on the responsibilities of a pastor. This is a supplement–an additional way for you to connect with God.
It’s not a voodoo religion. Yes, yoga is practiced by other religions. But isn’t prayer also practiced by other religions? In Holy Yoga, we are connecting with Jesus Christ. The Holy Yoga website describes it as “a spiritual discipline much like fasting, meditation, and prayer that cannot be owned by one specific religion.”
Essentially, Holy Yoga is a form of worship. It’s like singing worship songs. Here’s the thing that God is beginning to teach me: you can sing a Christian worship song without really worshiping in your heart. You can practice Holy Yoga without worshiping too. On the flip side, you can sing a secular song and it can be a form of worship. You can go on a run and it can be a form of worship. The external activity isn’t as important as what’s going on internally. Wouldn’t it be awesome if all of our life’s activities could be worship?!
If you are in the depths of an eating disorder, your mind is likely consumed by thoughts of food and body image, so worship probably seems like a challenging feat. I think this deserves a blog post of its own, so please stay tuned for more. But please know that you were made to worship and you can. Right now.
Even Especially if you are consumed and in the depths of your ED.
Find Out More
Search for a Holy Yoga class near you.
Check out Holy Yoga TV. I believe first month is free!
Holy Yoga for Trauma workshop coming up in October. This is “designed to support individuals and organizations who work full-time with survivors of trauma (but anyone interested is welcome)”
I’m really interested to know if anyone has experienced Holy Yoga or something like it through their eating disorder recovery. Please share, please! In what unconventional ways have you been able to connect with God? What outside activities help you to worship him on the inside? Comment below.
Note: I’m not in any way connected with Holy Yoga and I’m not receiving any benefits from promoting them.