Trauma-Informed Yoga (TIY) Helps Women Who Are Struggling with Substance Use and Eating Disorders

Chicago, July 07, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Trauma-informed yoga (TIY) approaches the practice of yoga through a lens that is needed for symptoms of trauma, which is often part of substance use and eating disorders. Yoga is particularly useful for these disorders because it encourages a mindful focus on oneself to be in the present moment. It also cues mindful breath to yoga movement from a trauma-informed approach that has been reported to reduce anxiety and depression. 

“Trauma resides in the body,” said Elisabeth Nuesser, E-RYT, TIY, RCYT, trauma-informed yoga facilitator at Timberline Knolls. “Those traumatic experiences become embedded, not only from a psychological stance, but also physiologically. The fascia system (connective tissue that surround and hold every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber, and muscle) also activates, and that energy gets stuck in bodily systems. This can lead to substance use and eating disorders. By practicing TIY and utilizing breathwork, yoga postures, and mindfulness, this energy can be released from the body, and healing is restored.”

Women who have experienced trauma often have a difficult time attuning to their bodies. Therefore, there is a great disruption within their regulatory system that then creates intensity for them to be able to withstand physical, sensory, or emotional experiences within their bodies. Trauma-informed yoga paves a healing pathway for women who are struggling with an eating disorder by offering a gentler approach that is nondirective verbiage, which, in turn, empowers the person and allows them to be curious about the decisions they make about their body in a safe, inviting environment.

Yoga is also a holistic modality for eating disorders because it increases awareness of the mind/body connection. Women who struggle with an eating disorder tend to ruminate on perfectionism and negative self-talk. Mindfulness practices in yoga relax their mind and support their parasympathetic nervous system.

Yoga poses recommended for substance use disorders and eating disorders include:

1. Mountain pose: This pose is one of the easiest yoga postures for individuals to learn and get into. It helps combat mental health concerns and disorientation, improves balance by grounding to the earth, and helps with gut health.

2. Cobra pose: This pose helps with digestive issues like constipation, improves mental clarity, and has calming effects. This pose can also help with cravings.

3. Seated forward fold: This pose is also very calming for the central nervous system. Holding this pose for three to five minutes can counteract an impulse when having a craving to use.

“When you are in recovery working through addictive behaviors, you are processing through a great deal of discomfort,” adds Nuesser. “When your sympathetic nervous system is consistently on the ‘go,’ one cannot remain present — there is a total disconnect from the mind and body. When practicing yoga led by a trauma-informed yoga facilitator, these discomforts start to take a new experience within. These new experiences increase the behavior threshold in a positive and safe way. Those prior discomforts once lived now unfold into relaxation, calmness, acceptance, and the brain neurotransmitter — GABA — is released. All of these combined create healthy triggers that transcend into total body/mind wellness.” 

About Timberline Knolls:

Timberline Knolls is a leading residential treatment center for women and adolescent girls age 12 and older who are struggling with eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and mood and co-occurring disorders. Located in suburban Chicago on a picturesque, 43-acre wooded campus, Timberline Knolls provides residents with excellent clinical care from a highly trained professional staff. An adult partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) with supportive housing are also available in nearby Orland Park, Ill., for women to step down or directly admit. For more information about Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call (877) 257-9611. We are also on Facebook – Timberline Knolls, LinkedIn – Timberline Knolls, and Twitter – @TimberlineToday.



Elisabeth Nuesser E-RYT, TIY, RCYT

Contact Data