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Friday, July 24, 2015

Yoga a therapeutic force for teens with eating disorders. 3 need-to-know truths

Dr. Melody Moore in action.
The numbers are hard to swallow. Ten million Americans are suffering from anorexia and bulimia and many more cases go undiagnosed, says Dr. Melody Moore, Ph.D., RYT, a licensed clinical psychologist, yoga instructor, and the founder of Embody Love Movement. The non-profit organization aims to empower girls and women to commit to kindness, celebrate inner beauty, and create meaningful change in the world, says Dr. Moore. 

“For a long time, it was the wealthy, white, privileged skinny girl with anorexia, but now, the profile is much more...
diverse and includes boys, different ethnicities and backgrounds,” says Dr. Moore, who spent seven years in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery. 

Kids spend an average of ten hours per day on a screen, a disturbing fact, says Dr. Moore, since, “The media climate continues to promulgate beauty in thinner, photo-shopped images of women’s and girls’ bodies. 'Thinspirational’ social media websites promote one ideal of beauty in order to find acceptance. Such messages are part of the reason so many are struggling,” says Dr. Moore. “The things teens are invested in and have access to, are scary.” 

Having practiced yoga for nine years, in 2010, Dr. Moore first introduced it to her patients, which proved to be a significant tool on their road to recovery.  

Here are 3 truths Dr. Moore has discovered about yoga, teens and eating disorders… 

TRUTH: Yoga can help to restore the mind-body connection. Many of my patients had lost their ability to talk and instead, expressed their feelings through food – either by restricting or overeating. They ate or didn’t eat not from belly hunger, but based on rules in their head and emotions in their heart. I realized yoga could be a way to get my patients out of their heads and in to their bodies. It is a way for them to reintegrate the mind-body connection, slowly heal, and see their body as a temple –something to be loved and nourished. 

TRUTH: The breath has restorative powers. Learning to breathe through a difficult experience provides a great lesson off the mat. A patient often realizes, ‘oh wow, I can be in conflict with my parent, sit through it, and not run to food.' When patients gain the capacity to sit with a feeling – or tolerate a pose – it’s a miracle cure for someone with an eating disorder. 

TRUTH: Yoga is self-acceptance. The practice teaches you to be where you are in a pose, with no other purpose than to be accepting of the body you’re in -- in the moment.   

Later this month, Dr. Moore will team up with high profile yogi, Seane Corn, offering an online class series titled, “Yoga, Body Image and Disordered Eating” and has plans to expand her specialized coursework further.


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