If you identify as someone who struggles with disordered eating or body image concerns then this guide is for you. Not all classes are the same and not all teachers plan to inform your needs. Here are some tips to get started.
- Start gentle, choose a beginner’s, or a restorative class. These classes help focus on building your foundation, working on balance, and calming the mind.
- Popular class names that offer this include: Yin yoga, Yoga Nidra, Slow flow, Hatha, Prenatal
- Be cautious about Vinyasa (flow classes), Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Kundalini classes that are described as more vigorous or fitness-focused. Hot yoga practices can be physically demanding and unsafe for those who are not well hydrated or undernourished. It is recommended to seek medical clearance before beginning your yoga practice.
- Find teachers & studios trained in trauma-sensitive yoga. These teachers have an awareness of how to shape classes that support individuals with a trauma history.
- Find studios that offer classes with themes around managing anxiety, mindfulness, building presence, compassion, body positivity, acceptance & healing.
- Know your preference for physical adjustments. If you are uncomfortable signal your teacher not to be touched or inform injuries that you have. Ask for verbal cues.
- Find a yoga studio without mirrors. Mirrors can distract your practice and distort body image concerns. Having no mirrors encourages more work with your internal experience. It is common to practice by performing or accomplishing a challenging pose. Take time to meet yourself with where you are at.
- Focus on listening to your body and notice when your pushing beyond your limits. Be gentle not to force poses, strain muscles, ignore injuries, or compare yourself to others in the room. Make use of supportive props: blocks, bolsters, straps, and chairs. Take rest when you need a water break or feel fatigued.