We’ve all been there before: The feeling of self-disgust — did I really just eat an entire bag of potato chips and that leftover Chinese? In college, binge eating is inevitable, from stress, boredom, or whatever else it may be. It’s important to know that binge eating is a result of lack of mindfulness.
Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being aware of something.” When you are focused on something else, it is easy to become neglectful of your eating. There are many ways to reach a state of mindfulness, such as exercising, engaging in an activity you enjoy, or going for a walk.
Practicing yoga allows the mind to relax and refocus, making us less likely to engage in impulsive behaviors. Research shows that those who engage in yoga (for just 90 minutes a week) had better body image and self-esteem.
In this study, conducted by Deakin University in Australia, women engaged in a 12-week program where they practiced yoga for 60 minutes in a class (once a week) and were encouraged to practice for 30 minutes at home. By the end of the 12 weeks, the participants reported having higher self-esteem, a better body image, and less binge eating episodes. To top it all off, they also reported lower BMIs and hip and waist measurements.
Practicing yoga may be intimidating, especially if you have never tried it before. Here are some poses to get you started on your mindfulness.
How: Start with your feet together. Take a large step to the right, bend your right knee so it’s over your ankle with your toes pointed to the right. Keep your left foot forward and extend your arms out to the sides. Why: The Warrior II pose is great because it stretches our your ankle, groin, shoulder, leg, lungs, and chest.
Standing Forward Fold
How: Start with your feet hip-length apart. Bend down, reach for your knees and pull your body in as close as possible. Why: The pose stretches out your hips, hamstring and calves. It also stimulates your liver and kidneys, so maybe you should try a standing forward fold in addition to your post-weekend detox.
How: Start standing with your feet together. Lift your left leg and place it onto your right thigh (not knee). Inhale, and put your hands in prayer position at your chest. Repeat on the opposite leg.
Why: The tree pose improves balance and stability while strengthening the legs and hips. In addition, on a mental level, the tree pose improves self-confidence and esteem due to the balancing nature of the pose.
Downward Facing Dog
How: Start standing with your feet together. Begin to reach for the floor and slowly walk your hands away from your body, creating an upside-down “V.” Press heels towards the floor.
Why: The downward dog is a great pose if you experience pain and tension in your shoulders and upper back since it increases spinal flexibility. Plus, it is proven to help you feel more awake.
#SpoonTip: Try eating these foods to feel more energized.
How: From downward facing dog, walk your legs back and reposition your body so it is in a straight line from head to toe, keeping your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
Why: The plank pose is awesome because it not only stretches out your body, but it also strengthens and tones your core. Since you are keeping your abs in a tight, upright position, it can also improve posture.
How: From a plank, lower your body to the floor. Keep your hands under your shoulders and lift your chest off the floor while pressing your palms, hips and feet into the floor.
Why: The cobra pose, like the downward facing dog, increases spinal flexibility and stretches out your back as well as your abdomen.