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Top 10 Yogasanas for Bulimia

Binge-eating followed by purging with self-induced vomiting and the compulsive use of laxatives, are warning signs of this condition. Its causes include low body image and a feeling of not being in control. It is often associated with anorexia.

Supta Baddhakonasana
(Reclining fixed angle pose)
The pose also improves blood circulation in theabdomen, massaging and toning the abdominal organs.

Required a bolster, blanket, a yoga belt and two wooden blocks. The bolster supports the back and lifts the chest. The blanket supports the head, alleviating stress and heaviness in the head and neck. The belt helps maintain the angle of the legs easily and holds the feet together. The wooden blocks supports the thighs, reducing strain in the groin.

  1. Sit in Dandasana. Place a bolster behind you, its short end against your buttocks, and place a folded blanket on its far end. Place 2 wooden blocks on their broad sides on either side of your hips. Bend your knees, and join the soles of your feet together. Draw your heels toward your groin. Buckle the belt and loop it over your shoulders.
  2. Bring the belt down to below your waist. Pass it under both feet to stretch it over your ankles and the insides of the thighs. Move your feet closer to your groin. The belt should feel neither too tight nor too slack, so adjust the buckle accordingly. Make sure that the end of the bolster touches your buttocks. Position a block under each thigh.
  3. Place your elbows on the floor, and lower your head and back onto the bolster. Make sure that the bolster comfortably supports the length of your back and your head. Your spine should be on the centre of the bolster. Stretch your arms out to the sides, with the palms facing the ceiling. Relax, and extend your groin out to the sides. Feel the expansion of the pelvis, and the release of tension in your ankles and knees. Initially, stay in the pose for 1 minute. With practice, increase the duration to 5-10 minutes.

Do not practice this asana if you have lower backache or poor bladder control. If you feel any strain while getting into the pose, use two bolsters instead of one. If you feel strain in the region of the groin, place a folded towel or blanket on both blocks placed below the knees.

To bring your knees down to the floor, you must first widen the inside of your thighs to stretch the ligaments of the inner knees. Push the inner sides of your legs toward your knees and widen the groin. Then your knees will descend easily.

Supta Virasana
(Reclining hero pose)

Practice the asana at the beginning of your yogasession, as it calms a restless and agitated mind, and induces the right mood for your practice. The pose reduces fatigue and stimulates the entire body.

You will require a bolster and a rolled blanket. The bolster helps people with stiff backs to practice easily. It helps to prevent the knees from lifting off the floor. It also helps to maintain the lift of the chest and the stretch of the torso. The folded blanket under the head prevents eye strain, and ensures that the head and neck do not tilt to one side.

  1. Kneel in virasana and place a bolster behind you, the short end touching your buttocks. Place a rolled blanket on the far end. Make sure that the inner sides of your feet touch your hips. Keep your back straight. Place your fingers on the floor beside your toes.
  2. Press your palms on the floor, bend both elbows, and lean back toward the bolster. Place your elbows and forearms, one at a time, on the floor. Gradually lower your back onto the bolster. To avoid strain in the pelvic area or the thighs, ensure that your knees remain firmly on the floor.
  3. Once you lower your back onto the bolster, rest the back of your head on the rolled blanket. Keep your chest fully expanded. Press your shoulder blades down on the bolster to lift your chest. Extend your toes and ankles toward the bolster. Push your feet closer to your hips with your hands. Extend the pelvis, and press your thighs close together.
  4. Move your arms out to the sides, with the palms facing upward. Extend your neck, but keep your throat relaxed. Drop your eyelids down gently. Experience the relaxation of the thighs and the abdomen, and the lift of the chest. Feel the continuous stretch from the cervical spine to the tailbone. Initially, stay in the pose for 1 minute. With practice, increase the duration to 5-10 minutes.

Do not practice this asana if you have lower backache. If you have angina or partially blocked arteries, or are recovering from bypass surgery, only practice the pose under expert supervision.

Setubandha Sarvangasana

In this asana, the body arches to take the shape of a bridge. The chin lock in the asana calms the flow of thoughts and soothes the mind. The pose sends a fresh supply of blood to the brain, resting and revitalizing the mind and body.

You will require a long bench, a bolster, two blankets and a yoga belt. The bench stretches the legs and buttocks, and keeps the back arched. A bolster, with a folded blanket on top of it, supports the head and neck. Adjust the height and stability of the bolster by rolling a blanket around it, if required. The belt helps to keep the legs together without strain.

  1. Place a folded blanket on one end of the bench. Place a bolster on the floor in line with the bench, and touching one end of it. Place a folded blanket on the bolster. Then sit on the blanket on the bench, with your legs stretched out. Place a yoga belt under your thighs and bind it round the middle of your thighs.
  2. Exhale, and lower your back toward the bolster. Press each palm down on the floor on either side of the bolster, your fingers pointing forward. Both arms should support your upper back. Keep your thighs, knees, and feet close together, your heels on the bench, and your toes pointing upward. Lower your arms to the floor.
  3. Slide further down, until the back of your head and your shoulders rest on the bolster. Straighten your legs, keeping your feet together. Stretch the heels and toes away from the torso to increase the stretch of the legs. Extend your arms to the sides on the floor, with the palms facing the ceiling. Hold the pose for 3 minutes. Gradually increase the time to 5-8 minutes.

Make sure that your lower back touches the edge of the bench in the final pose. Your buttocks should not touch the edge of the bench, but should not be too far from it. Otherwise your shoulders will lift, causing neck strain.

Supta Padangusthasana
(Reclining leg, foot, and toe stretch)

These adapted poses work the whole foot, rather than just the toes. A yoga belt is placed around the sole of one foot, and the resultant stretch to the legs increasesflexibility in the pelvic area and improves blood circulation in the legs. It also makes the muscles of the legs stronger.

You will require a mat, a wall, and a yoga belt. The wall steadies the outstretched foot, preventing it from tilting. It also ensures that the body is correctly aligned. The yoga belt, looped around the sole of the raised foot, makes the asana easier for those who are stiff in the hips and pelvic area.

  1. Place a mat against a wall. Sit in Dandasana facing the wall. Keep a yoga belt beside you. The soles of your feet should touch the wall comfortably, with your toes pointing upward. Press both your palms down on the mat.
  2. Lower your back on to the mat, supporting your torso on your palms until your head rests on the mat. Bend your right knee, and bring it to your chest. Keep your left sole pressed against the wall. Loop the belt around the sole of your right foot. Hold one end of the belt in each hand. Make sure that you hold the yoga belt as close to your foot as possible. This opens your chest, and keeps your breathing regular and even. Keep your extended leg pressed down on the mat.
  3. Inhale, and raise your right leg until it is perpendicular to the floor. Hold both ends of the belt with the right hand. Place your left arm beside your left hip. Press the left foot against the wall, and the left thigh on the mat. Stretch your right leg up further, simultaneously pulling your toes toward you with the belt. Feel the stretch in your right calf. Keep your left leg firmly pressed to the floor. Do not bend either knee or allow the left leg to tilt out. Initially, stay in this position for 20-30 seconds. With practice, increase the time to 1 minute. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Do not practice this asana if you are recovering from a cardiac condition, or if you have blocked arteries, asthma, bronchitis, migraine, stress-related headaches, eye strain, or diarrhea. If you have high blood pressure, place a folded blanket under your head and neck.

(Staff pose)

This asana is the starting point of all the seated forward bends and twists. It has many positive effects, the most important being improvement of posture. Dandasana teaches you to sit straight with an absolutely erect spine, and is helpful to those in sedentary professions. Regular practice of this pose massages and stimulates the abdominal and pelvic organs.

You require a mat, two wooden blocks and a folded blanket. The folded blanket placed under the buttocks helps to stretch the legs, while the two blocks under the hands, help to extend the torso.

  1. Sit on a folded blanket, with your spine erect and your knees bent. Position the blocks on their broad sides on either side of your hips. Then place your palms on the blocks. Sit on your buttock bones.
  2. Straighten each leg, one at a time, and join the inner sides of your legs and feet. Lengthen the calf muscles, and stretch your knees and toes. Keep your knees straight. Press your palms down on the blocks and stretch your elbows and arms.
  3. Lift your abdomen, freeing the diaphragm of tension. Hold the pose for 1 minute. Beginners may find it easier to separate their feet slightly, and should hold the pose for just 30 seconds.

If you have asthma, bronchitis, breathlessness, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, or bulimia, or are experiencing premenstrual stress, practice the asana with your back supported by a wall. Practice against a wall during menstruation.

Adhomukha Virasana
(Downward-facing hero pose)

This is a very restful asana to practice as it pacifies the frontal brain, reducing stress, soothing the eyes and nerves, and calming the mind. It also helps to rejuvenate you after a tiring day.

You require a bolster and two blankets. The bolster supports the head and eases stiffness in the back. A blanket supports the chest, while the second blanket under the thighs relieves painful ankles. If you have migraine, or a stress-related headache, wrap a crepe bandage around your eyes.

  1. Place a bolster on the floor and put a rolled blanket on it. Kneel with the bolster between your knees. Place the second blanket across your calves and heels. Lower your buttocks onto the blankets. Place both palms on your knees, your feet close together. Imagine you are pulling your kidneys into your body. Pause for 30 seconds.
  2. Move the bolster toward you. The front end should be in between your knees. Draw the bolster closer to your body so that it is just below your abdomen. Position the rolled blanket on the bolster so that you can rest your face on it. Now, exhale, and move your torso forward. Stretch your arms out fully and place your hands on the floor, on either side of the far end of the bolster.
  3. Lower your chest to the bolster. Stretch your arms forward, extend the nape of your neck, and rest your forehead and face on the blanket. Push your thighs down, and lower your buttocks toward the floor. Keep your abdomen soft. Open your armpits and extend your sternum. Push your chest forward, broadening your ribs. In order to relax your body, increase the forward stretch of your torso and spine on the bolster. Make sure your buttocks rest on the other blanket. Stay in the pose for 30-60 seconds.

Do not practice this asana if you have osteoarthritis of the knees, breathlessness, bronchitis, diarrhea, or if you are incontinent. If you have a migraine or a stress-related headache, wrap a crepe bandage round your eyes and forehead.

Adhomukha Paschimottanasana

(Downward-facing intense back stretch)

Regular practice of the asana tones the liver and kidneys. The stretch also alleviates lower backache.

You require a low, open stool and two bolsters. The stool gives the torso height and helps those with stiff backs to bend forward easily. The bolsters support the torso and help to make the pose restful and relaxing.

  1. Sit on the front edge of the stool and place 2 bolsters beside it. Hold the stool and straighten your legs, keeping your legs and feet together. Place a bolster on your legs, parallel to them. Place the second bolster on top of the first, but about 5cm (2-3in) closer to your toes. Straighten your back and stretch your torso upward. Take several breathes.
  2. Look down and push your torso toward your legs. Stretch your arms out over the bolsters. Ensure that you stretch from the base of the spine. Keep your abdomen soft and breathe normally. Stretch your hands beyond the bolsters and hold the upper soles of your feet.
  3. Rest your chest comfortably on the bolsters and place your forehead on the top bolster. Now, holding on to your feet, extend your torso down even further. If you cannot reach your toes, rest your hands as far down on the top bolster as possible. Hold the pose for 1 minute. With practice, increase the duration to 5 minutes.

Do not practice this asana if you have an attack of diarrhea, or if you are experiencing the symptoms of asthma or bronchitis.

Janu Sirsasana
( Head-on-knee-pose)

This asana calms the brain and the sympathetic nervous system. It rests the heart and activates the  “heart” charka, helping to treat depression and alleviate insomnia.

You require a bolster, a blanket, and a low open stool. The bolster and blanket supports the head and help those with stiff backs to bend forward easily. The low, open stool facilitates the arm extension from the shoulders to the fingers. It also relaxes and stretches the back of the head and neck, creating a traction-like extension of the spine.

  1. Place a low stool on the floor. Sit in Dandasana with your feet through it. Sit on your buttock bones. Press your palms to the floor beside your hips and straighten your back. Bend your left leg and bring the heel to your groin. Your toes should touch your right thigh and your legs should be at an obtuse angle. Push the bent knees as far back as you can. Keep your right leg absolutely straight. Place the bolster across your right calf, and place a folded blanket on top of it for added height.
  2. Exhale, and bend forward from the base of your spine, not from the shoulder blades. Stretch your arms over the bolster and rest your palms on the stool. Keep your left knee pressed to the floor.
  3. Push your torso forward and hold the far edge of the stool. Stretch from the groin to the navel. Do not allow your abdomen to contract as you bend forward. Rest your forehead on the blanket and close your eyes. Exhale slowly to release the tension in your neck and head. Stay in this position for approximately 1 minute. Repeat the pose on the other side.

Do not practice this asana if you have asthma or bronchitis. Avoid the pose if you have diarrhoea as it will aggravate the condition. If your knees are stiff, or if you have osteoarthritis of the knees, practice with a wooden block under the bent knee. If you have a stress-related headache or migraine, practice the asana with a crepe bandage over your eyes.

(Intense back stretch)
When practiced, this asana cools the brain, calms the mind, and rejuvenates the entire body. Prevents sciatica and varicose veins. Relieves arthritis of the shoulders and elbows. Improves the circulation of blood in the arms, strengthening the elbow and wrist joints. Rests tired feet and legs. Helps to treat incontinence.

You require two bolsters to support the head and allow people with stiff backs to hold the pose more easily.

  1. Sit in Dandasana. Place 2 bolsters, one on top of the other, across your knees. Make sure that your ankles, heels, and big toes are close together. Stretch your arms over the bolsters and bend forward. Hold your feet just below the toes, keeping both legs straight. Press your thighs and knees together.
  2. Bend from the base of your spine and push your waist forward. Elongate your torso toward your feet, stretching it from the groin to the navel. Make sure that your abdominal muscles do not contract. Rest your elbows and forehead on the bolsters. Keep the muscles of your thighs and calves fully stretched.
  3. Stretch your neck. Push both your shoulders down and back, moving them away from your ears. Rest your forehead evenly on the bolsters, and do not tilt your head to one side. Your arms should be straight, but not tensed. Consciously relax your neck, face, eyes, and ears. Breathe evenly, and stay in this pose for 5 minutes.

(Intense forward stretch)

This is both a calming and recuperative asana, which rests and energizes the heart and lungs.

Use a foam block and five wooden blocks. Stack three wooden blocks on top of the foam block. Place a wooden block on either side of the stacked blocks.

Stand in Tadasana. Separate your legs to a distance of 30cm (1ft.). Keep your feet parallel to each other, with the toes pointing forward. Pull up your kneecaps.

  1. Inhale and raise your arms toward the ceiling, your palms facing forward. Push your spine up.
  2. Bend from the waist toward the floor. To increase the stretch of your spine, vital for correct practice, press your heels down on the floor.
  3. Rest the crown of your head on the blocks in front of you, and place your palms on the blocks beside your feet. Pull in your kneecaps. Extend your hamstrings and pull your inner legs upward. Feel one single stretch from the crown of your head to your heels. Hold the pose for 1 minute.

SPECIFIC CAUTIONS Until your back muscles become more flexible, use props to support your head.

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