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Eat Disord. 2020 Mar 17:1-20. doi: 10.1080/10640266.2020.1731921. [Epub ahead of print]

Benefits of yoga in the treatment of eating disorders: Results of a randomized controlled trial.

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Department of Educational Psychology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.
Department of Educational Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.
Department of Psychology, University of Regina, Regina, Canada.


Yoga has begun to be incorporated into the treatment of eating disorders despite limited empirical support for this practice. The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of incorporating Yoga into the treatment of eating disorders. This preliminary randomized controlled trial investigated the benefits of participating in an eight-week Kripalu Yoga program for 53 women with symptoms of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Compared to waitlist controls, Yoga participants experienced decreases in binge eating frequency, emotional regulation difficulties and self-criticism, and increases in self-compassion. Yoga participants also experienced increases in state mindfulness skills across the eight weeks of the Yoga program. While these results are encouraging and suggest Yoga may have a valuable role to play in the treatment of eating disorders, it is important to stress their tentative nature. Further research, adopting a more rigorous design, is needed to address the limitations of the present study and expand on these findings.

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