You want to break free from dieting once and for all. You want to leave the restriction behind. You wish you could stop binge eating every night at 8pm like clockwork. You want to love your body unconditionally and not be afraid of the food that’s in your “forbidden” cupboard.
But none of that has anything to do with yoga, so why are we talking about yoga for food freedom?
Have you ever thought about yoga as being a piece of the puzzle? Most people haven’t! Well, I’m here to tell you how yoga has helped me recover from a super unhealthy relationship with food and how it can help you too!
Now before we begin, I want to start off by saying that yoga is most definitely not about how flexible you are or how long you can hold tree pose. Yoga is all about connecting to yourself and your body. When you think about it, it goes hand-in-hand with intuitive eating. Which is why yoga is so great for food freedom and loving your body!
I’m going to share 5 reasons that yoga has led me to find food freedom and body love with you today. So let’s get to it!
1. Self Acceptance
Yoga allows you to connect with yourself on a different level. It is a time to connect with your breath, your body and your soul. Whenever I’ve felt like I’m not good enough or my eating is out of control, I simply remind myself of this while I breathe:
Inhale self-love and compassion,
Exhale guilt, shame and negativity
Letting go of the feelings of guilt and shame for having your favourite treat while you exhale is so powerful. If you don’t believe me, try it out right now! Yup, let’s do this together:
- Sit comfortably, with your palms facing upwards
- Close your eyes (maybe read the rest of the steps first, then come back to this one)
- Take a deep breath in, and let a big sigh out
- Breathe in thinking about the positive emotions you want to embody (self-love, kindness, patience, etc.)
- Breathe out thinking about the negative emotions you want to let go of (shame, guilt, worry, etc.)
- This works best when you pick 1 positive emotion and 1 negative emotion
- Repeat this 5 times
Did you do it? How did that make you feel?
This exercise has helped me in many situations but has especially helped me to accept myself the way I am and let go of any negative thoughts I have about myself.
2. Awareness of Your Body
When you practise yoga you become gradually more and more aware of your body. How it moves, what feels best, what you need more of, I could go on and on.
Yoga allows you to dive into your intuition and focus on how to make yourself feel good. The principle is simple: If a certain pose makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t do it. Try a modification or a different pose instead.
This same concept can be applied to your journey to food freedom. You can take what you learn while you practise yoga to bring intuition to your eating experience.
- How do certain foods make you feel?
- What foods make you feel energized?
- What foods make you feel sluggish or uncomfortable?
- How can you incorporate more foods that make you feel good into your everyday life?
Being aware of these things is one of the first steps to food freedom and providing your body with what it needs to flourish.
3. Practice Being Present
It’s hard to be present when society has us conditioned to be busy all the time. The hustle and bustle of that never-ending to-do list can be draining and not allow you to focus on other things that really matter, like your wellbeing.
Yoga is a great place to start practicing being fully present. In yoga, you learn to pause, breathe, and let go. Have you ever been to a yoga class and completely forgotten about everything else you have going on in your life? Yah, me too. If not, I hope you get to experience that feeling sometime soon!
Breathing exercises and meditations are great tools to enhance mindfulness. The more you practice these skills, the more you can use them in your day to day life and you will learn how to become more present.
Mindful eating is a great example of how being present relates to healing your relationship with food. In order to understand what your body really needs and what will nourish it best, you need to pay attention to what it’s telling you.
Eating without distractions, tuning into your hunger and fullness cues, and reflecting on your thoughts and feelings are all components of mindful eating. To learn more about how you can incorporate mindful eating into your life, download my free guide to get started today!
4. Respect for Your Body
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me! (who doesn’t like a little singing am I right?)
I used to punish my body by doing long, intense workouts after I had a day of bingeing. I thought I had to “earn” my calories and make up for what I ate by burning as many as I could. I used to obsess over the number of calories I had burnt on my Fitbit and push myself to do more if it wasn’t enough.
I was totally stuck in a mindset that I had to restrict foods to have a beautiful body. And of course, that’s not true. The restricting lead to bingeing which led to more restricting and more bingeing. It’s a vicious cycle.
I was not treating my body with respect at that point in my life.
Yoga taught me that my body is a temple, it is my home, and I should take care of it. I am thankful that I have a body that gives me life, provides me with energy, and allows me to do the things that I love.
Learning to respect my body meant that I:
- stopped exercising to “earn” my food
- worked on stopping the negative self-talk about my body
- started looking at my body differently, in a more positive way
- started nourishing my body with foods that made me feel good
- viewed my body as a home that I should protect, not punish
Learning to respect and love your body isn’t an easy process, but yoga is a great tool to use to get you there.
5. A Joyful Type of Movement
Yoga leaves me feeling energized and grounded. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I like a good sweaty workout, but more often than not I find more joy in a good yoga flow rather than pushing myself to the point where I feel like I’m dying during a crazy workout.
Like I said at the start, yoga is not about how flexible you are, it’s all about tuning into your body. I love using yoga as my joyful movement because I am able to stretch my body in a way that feels good on days where I feel like I need a slower pace. But also strengthen my body and bring up my heart rate a little bit if I want a little more of a workout.
Yoga is so versatile and can help you feel good in so many ways. If you’re thinking that yoga is super overwhelming and you don’t even know where to begin, check out my favourite beginners yoga video that teaches you all the basics from Yoga With Adriene.
I hope you learned more about yoga for food freedom and body love in this post and how you can use yoga to cultivate feelings of self-acceptance, awareness, presence, respect and joy in your journey to health and happiness.
If you want to see more about how I incorporate yoga into my food freedom journey, head over to my Instagram to follow along for all the goodies and tips!