Exercise it away

Washington: Practising yoga can improve people’s attitude towards their own bodies, potentially preventing adverse consequences of body dissatisfaction such as eating disorders and poor mental health. For the study published in the journal Body Image, researchers interviewed 46 young adults who practiced yoga at least 30 minutes a week, on average, over the past year.

“The results of this study give great insight into the small tweaks instructors and studios can employ to improve the positive impact of yoga on people with poor body image,” said Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, a professor at the University of Minnesota in the US.

About 82 per cent of participants of the study expressed that yoga has a positive impact on their body image, while 28 per cent found that the influence of yoga can also be negative. However, all but one of the respondents who indicated that yoga can have a negative impact on their body image also discussed its positive impact.

People who felt that yoga harmed their self-image mainly said it was due to comparing themselves to the physical appearance or performance of others in class. To support improved body image, researchers recommend that instructors and studios adjust language to encourage participants to be grateful for their bodies and what they can do.

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