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re­quire con­stancy of at­ten­tion and sel­f­re­spect. As a re­sult, this prac­tice will also build your men­tal mus­cles, those re­quired to de­velop ad­di­tional self­nur­tur­ing skills. This is self-nur­tur­ing dis­ci­pline, the dis­ci­pline re­quired to nur­ture, not to pun­ish or “get con­trol over,” your­self.

To nour­ish your in­nate vi­tal­ity, use the Seven Body Dash­board Es­sen­tials:

hy­dra­tion (enough wa­ter through­out the day)

deep rest (good sleep as well as brain-restor­ing yoga prac­tices)

nour­ish­ment (main­tain­ing bal­anced blood sugar)

heart rate up ex­er­cise)


con­nect­ing with na­ture (through all five senses)

right-brain ac­tiv­i­ties (mind­ful move­ment, cre­ativ­ity, imag­i­na­tion)

elim­i­na­tion (the ob­vi­ous, plus laugh­ing and cry­ing)

Be­gin­ning with any one of these re­veals and de­vel­ops your re­la­tion­ship to self-nur­tu­rance and to your vi­tal­ity. Bless­edly, com­mit­ting to this self-nur­tu­rance im­proves not only your abil­ity to nav­i­gate food and body choices, but also your brain chem­istry—while teach­ing you the es­sen­tial life skills of re­cov­ery. Food might have be­come a di­ver­sion, pre­vent­ing you from fur­ther de­vel­op­ing your life skills, but just as yoga heals the body, it also teaches you the life skills you need for re­cov­ery and for life. GET­TING IN THE GAP: This mind­ful­ness­based skill trains the mind to get Grounded in the here and now, to wield At­ten­tion, and to grad­u­ally be­come Present. Whether you are mind­fully breath­ing or stretch­ing a mus­cle, de­velop non-judg­men­tal cu­rios­ity and kind­ness to­ward your thoughts, feel­ings, and sen­sa­tions. This process fun­da­men­tally calms your brain and soothes fear. GET­TING COM­FORT­ABLE FEEL­ING UN­COM­FORT­ABLE: Life, re­cov­ery, and per­sonal growth will all re­quire you to nav­i­gate discomfort. If you’ve nar­rowed your band­width for tol­er­at­ing discomfort, you’ll be more anx­ious, which is echoed in your breath­ing. Yoga teaches you about get­ting com­fort­able feel­ing un­com­fort­able with va­ri­eties of body-cen­tered sen­sa­tions, such as mus­cles stretch­ing, as well as the sen­sa­tions of and any discomfort as­so­ci­ated with ease, con­tent­ment, ela­tion, poignancy, or joy. MOV­ING FROM LOVE, NOT SHAME: As you breathe, move, and re­spect your body and brain, you also trans­form your in­ter­nal con­ver­sa­tion from one of shame to one of love. This ex­pands your kind­ness with your­self as well as to­ward oth­ers. You’ll de­velop net­works of com­pan­ions also re­cov­er­ing from shame. We all be­come more kind, com­pas­sion­ate, and wise. PER­SONAL BUOY­ANCY: Yoga teaches you to care for and in­crease your re­silience. Through the Body Dash­board ac­tiv­i­ties, you re­store your phys­i­o­log­i­cal buoy­ancy. De­vel­op­ing your self-re­spect, kind­ness to­ward your­self and oth­ers, and com­pan­ion­ship in re­cov­ery also boosts your per­sonal, re­la­tional, and spir­i­tual buoy­ancy.

De­vel­op­ing these yo­gic tools will give you the free­dom to cre­ate a new life. One that truly sat­is­fies your mind, body, and full self—one free from dis­or­dered eating and the shame that arises from it.

Sarahjoy Marsh is a yoga ther­a­pist with a mas­ter’s de­gree in coun­sel­ing. In her new book, Hunger, Hope & Heal­ing: A Yoga Ap­proach to Re­claim­ing Your Re­la­tion­ship to Your Body and Food, she fuses yoga with psy­chol­ogy, neu­ro­science, breath­ing in­ter­ven­tions, and mind­ful­ness tech­niques to bring read­ers with eating disor­ders, dis­or­dered eating, and body im­age is­sues a prac­ti­cal and ac­ces­si­ble guide to re­cov­ery.

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