Though yoga has long been a popular way to get fit, lose weight and reduce the physical effects of chronic diseases, it has also been used by abuse survivors to heal emotionally, spiritually and physically. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who regularly does yoga and hasn’t positively changed in some fashion.
Most people who survive an abusive relationship wind up with self-esteem or body image issues. The cycle of abuse generally guarantees a point and time when the victim questions their self-worth. Unfortunately, when the abuser recognizes this they tend to latch onto their victim’s insecurities and exploit them.
When the victim finally escapes the abuse they have a long road ahead of them. Some people gain weight and others lose weight, but regardless of the physical effects the emotional effects, self-doubt and a distorted image of their worth, are the same.
Physically, yoga builds strength, improves flexibility, regulates digestion and facilitates healthy joints. A physical outlet is incredibly important when healing from abuse, but soothing the mind and easing the heart is even more important. A yoga practice magically begins to heal the bruises and scars nobody sees, as yoga teaches the survivor the importance of doing what feels good for them and nobody else.
There aren’t many opportunities in the day where people are able to do what feels right for only them, except when they’re on their mat. Yoga is the perfect way to plant the seed of reminding themselves they matter. When that seed is nourished with a regular practice it blooms into the tender but solid notion that they’re worth something, and they’re enough just as they are.
All people who practice yoga, regardless of their past, agree that their practice has led them to balance their lives with the things they need and things they want. When they start living for their own happiness and not someone else’s, they’re truly able to begin the healing process necessary to grow.