Does this girl look like she has an eating disorder to you? She’s a fairly healthy looking girl of 23 who happens to model for a living. Some people would say no and some would say yes, it all depends on your personal perspective, but 7 years after this picture was taken she passed away due to a heart condition caused by long term anorexia and abuse of her body.
There are many personality and body types attracted to the practice of yoga. Eating disorders are not the only issue at the forefront of the yoga world but it certainly has a stage. Is it because it’s simply another form of exercise designed at maintaining a certain figure and how can you tell who’s suffering? Anyone who has practiced yoga, especially for the first time, notices how many lithe females are running around a yoga studio. This is not the ONLY body type yet it’s a predominant body type. Is the skinny girl anorexic or is that truly her body type and why are there so many in one place? One guess is that the practice of yoga is sometimes a fairly gentle practice. The ectomorphic body type has less physical energy that can be used for exercise and yoga doesn’t deplete that so they tend to be drawn to the practice. If you’re not familiar with body types there’s the Ectomorphic: characterized as linear, thin, usually tall, fragile, lightly muscled, flat chested and delicate; described as cerebrotonic inclined to desire isolation, solitude and concealment; and being tense, anxious, restrained in posture and movement, introverted and secretive. Mesomorphic: characterized as hard, rugged, triangular, athletically built with well developed muscles, thick skin and good posture; described as somatotonic inclined towards physical adventure and risk taking; and being vigorous, courageous, assertive, direct and dominant. Endomorphic: characterized as round, usually short and soft with under-developed muscles and having difficulty losing weight; described as viscerotonic enjoying food, people and affection; having slow reactions; and being disposed to complacency. Whatever the natural body type a person is born with, there can always be the propensity towards an eating disorder as the cause of it runs much deeper than a physical goal.
Eating disorders are mental disorders defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person’s physical or mental health. They include binge eating disorder where people eat a large amount in a short period of time, anorexia nervosa where people eat very little and thus have a low body weight, bulimia nervosa where people eat a lot and then try to rid themselves of the food, pica where people eat non-food items, rumination disorder where people regurgitate food, avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder where people have a lack of interest in food, and a group of other specified feeding or eating disorders. Anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse are common among people with eating disorders.
For a person who is detached or trying to detach from their physical body yoga is a great place for them to be. Yoga at its core is healing, you can utilize it within your comfort level and time frame. For all of the movement that you see from the outside the real practice of yoga is within. They may stand out to you at an event where you notice they aren’t eating. As a part of the yoga community be kind, be compassionate, and be patient. Know that yoga is a medicine and everyone is on a journey.
Written by Kristen Carla-Blogger/Acupuncture Physician for Kodawari Studio www.facebook.com/kristencarla