We believe it’s useful for parents to have a few yoga poses available to use in times of great stress during their child’s recovery process.
If you have a child who has a binge-oriented eating disorder like bulimia or binge eating disorder, you want to help them move through the discomfort of the urge to binge.
The urge to binge is not the same as having natural, healthy hunger. Binging is a coping mechanism that your child is likely using to avoid processing difficult emotions.
Catching a binge before it begins and stopping a binge mid-flow is very challenging, and they typically happen at home or otherwise away from their therapist’s care.
As parents, we can help our children begin to recognize the urge to binge or even recognize that they are in a binge in real-time. This recognition is critical to the healing process and is one way that we can be instrumental in the healing process.
Once a binge urge or episode is recognized, your child may not be able to talk it through with you, but he or she may be able to utilize some simple yoga moves to re-group and center.
One pose that can be very helpful when the urge to binge comes on, or even mid-binge, is Tree Pose. This balancing pose requires focus and is best performed with a strong sense of the ground. Literally grounding one’s self during a binge urge or episode may, with practice, reduce the urge and lessen the impact of the binge.
Vrksasana (Tree Pose)
1) Start Standing (use a wall for support if you need it)
2) Root through your right leg and place your left foot on your ankle, calf, or inner thigh (AVOID PLACING YOUR FOOT AT YOUR KNEE).
3) Keep hands at hips, heart center, or extend your arms to the sky.
4) Stay for 5-10 even breaths and switch to the other side.
Do this pose with your child any time a binge episode is imminent or in progress. This is not a competition – it’s OK if you can only get your foot to your ankle. It’s OK if you wobble and topple. Just keep practicing together, breathing deeply and focusing on the ground beneath your foot as a stabilizing force.
Ginny Jones is the editor of More-Love.org. She writes about parenting, body image, disordered eating, and eating disorders. Ginny is also a Parent Coach who helps parents handle their kids’ food and body issues.