LIFESTYLE

Does Yoga Magazine Promote Bulimia? Publication Instructs How To Purge The Body With 'Tiger' Posture

12/05/2015 15:42 BST | Updated 12/05/2015 15:59 BST

A yoga magazine has come under fire for publishing an article which "promotes" eating disorders.

Yoga Magazine published a detailed piece on 'the Tiger' yoga posture, which involves making yourself sick in order to "purge" the body.

The magazine, which has a circulation of over 74,000, claims that performing the Tiger makes the digestive system stronger and tones the abdomen, "which in turn burns off excess fat and trims the waist".

It has since been accused of "promoting eating disorders" and one columnist has even branded the article as a "manual for bulimia".

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In a column for Healthista, Genny Wilkinson-Priest wrote that she was "shocked to see a leading yoga magazine advise its readers to stick their fingers down their throat and vomit in order to burn fat and trim the waist".

She adds that the article is essentially a "manual for bulimia nervosa".

Questions surrounding the Tiger pose surfaced after a reader wrote a letter to the magazine questioning the technique.

"I have an old yoga book published in 1959 and in it there is a reference to internal cleansing by making yourself sick," wrote Yoga Magazine reader, Eric. "This sounds a bit extreme. Is this really a yogic technique?"

According to Encognitive, it's called "the purification of the tiger" because tigers vomit shortly after meals to eliminate the food not easily digested.

Dr Malik - a certified yoga instructor - responded with a handful of health and fitness benefits of practicing the Tiger once a week, that he claims can "shape your abdomen and hips" while also strengthening your sexual organs and back.

He then provided a step-by-step breakdown of how to vomit "using a bottle of cold water and a bucket".

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Many have suggested that Malik's actions are "promoting eating disorders" and the yoga instructor has since issued a statement on the publication's website, which reads: "Firstly, we haven't, and will never promote any eating disorders in YOGA Magazine.

"We were not promoting bulimia, but answering a genuine reader question who had asked whether this exercise that he had found in a textbook dating back to the 1950s was true or not.

"We decided to answer this question as we felt this was rather interesting, and different to the usual standard questions we receive each month."

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Sanskrit Names Of Yoga Poses

He continues: "The journalist who contacted us for a quote made reference to the fact that ‘we provided a caution to pregnant women and children’ – as obviously this technique is not safe for these people to perform.

"Would it not be extremely insensitive if we added ‘not suitable for anyone suffering from eating disorders?’

"As with every exercise and technique we feature in YOGA Magazine, it is up to each individual whether they perform or not."

But his response has been met with criticism.

A spokesperson for eating disorders charity Beat tells HuffPost UK Lifestyle: "It's extremely concerning that a leading publication would publish information that nowadays is akin to encouraging an eating disorder.

"Yoga is a wonderful exercise for healthy bodies and minds, and to include it with the behaviours used in the most prevalent eating disorders seems irresponsible and dangerous.”

Wilkinson-Priest echoes this disapproval: "Why does it even matter, you may ask, if a magazine publishes a piece on a centuries old yoga technique? It’s not as if bulimics don’t already know the ins and outs of vomiting up their food.

"Here’s why: Because now they’ll be able to rationalise their self-harming, thinking they have found in yoga a safe place that accepts, or worse, encourages it."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Useful websites and helplines:

Beat, call 0845 634 7650 or email fyp@b-eat.co.uk

Sanskrit Names Of Yoga Poses