Exercise can play an important role in eating disorder recovery when combined with professional treatment. In particular, health professionals consider yoga a potentially beneficial component of an individuals’ recovery journey (NEDA, 2021). Yoga encourages mindfulness, self-compassion and peacefulness, promoting positive body image. It can also provide a means to manage anxiety and depression, emotions commonly experienced by those suffering from an eating disorder (The Minded Institute, 2021). Unfortunately, yoga and fitness studios often project specific body types to aspire to. Certain aspects of fitness-orientated classes may also be triggering. This can be highly detrimental to body image and recovery, causing more harm than good (NEDA, 2021). Body-inclusive studios offer a great option for those recovering from an eating disorder to experience the benefits of exercise without jeopardising recovery.
Four body-inclusive studios:
Body Positive Yoga focuses on building confidence though yoga, offering both in-person and online options. Founder Amber Karnes’ personal journey is a testament to the potential the benefits of yoga: “For me, yoga has been an integral part of a decade-long journey toward self-acceptance and body positivity – a journey of making peace with my body and helping others to do the same” (Body Positive Yoga, 2021). Ms Karnes’ signature online course Making Peace with Your Body teaches individuals to accept their body and overcome low self-image. She also hopes to re-start in-person body positive yoga retreats when safe to do so. Individuals interested in this can register on their website for updates (Body Positive Yoga, 2021).
Founder Shreen El Masry established Be You, Be Free, a body-inclusive exercise studio after recovering from an eating disorder. Based in Cronulla, Sydney, this studio offers both personal training and group fitness classes. Members can expect a supportive and fun environment focused on health and well-being that “welcomes, values and respects all bodies” (Be You, Be Free, 2021).
The Self Care Sisterhood is a female-only studio based in Broadmeadow, Sydney that focuses on building healthy behaviours and strengthening mental health as opposed to intentional weight loss. There is no place for diet culture or scales in this studio! Participants can join a wide range of small group classes, including strength training, bend and stretch and yoga, or work on their goals with a personal trainer (The Self Care Sisterhood, 2021).
Haven Wellness is a female-only body-inclusive fitness and yoga studio in Summer Hill, Sydney which aims to help women achieve a healthy relationship with their body through movement and self-compassion. Newcomers can sign up to the Haven Sisterhood Program to connect with another member and gain support regarding their relationship with their body, movement and exercise (Haven Wellness, 2021).
Be You, Be Free. (2021). Body Inclusive Personal Training. Accessed 25 July 2021, https://beyoubefree.com.au/body-inclusive-personal-training.
Body Positive Yoga. (2021). Body Positive Yoga. Accessed 25 July 2021, https://bodypositiveyoga.com.
Haven Wellness. (2021). Haven Wellness Fitness and Yoga Studio. Accessed 25 July, 2021 https://www.havenwellness.com.au.
NEDA. (2021). So you’re ready to add yoga to your eating disorders plan?. Accessed 25 July 2021 https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/so-you’re-ready-add-yoga-your-eating-disorders-recovery-plan.
The Minded Institute. (2021). Online Yoga Therapy Training. Accessed 25 July, 2021 https://themindedinstitute.com/product-category/courses/.
The Self Care Sisterhood. (2021). Body Positive Fitness for Mental Health. Accessed 25 July 2021, http://www.theselfcaresisterhood.com/?fbclid=IwAR0G9OknGg6tf8l7OX5xc-b-UI5xd3e3e_TpXM_T07Z_x5tmrluT9qB7tJ4.