Inner Door Center visits to discuss eating disorders, mental healing

Oakland University is observing National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, from Feb. 25-28. Events will be in tune with this year’s theme, “Everybody Knows Somebody,” and will occur throughout the week to raise eating disorder awareness.

Inner Door Center, a yoga-based therapy program for eating disorder treatment in Royal Oak, held the first event called “Love Body Yoga,” Monday in the Golden Rooms at the Oakland Center from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The moment students walked through the doors, they took a lit candle to remember those who have lost their lives because of an eating disorder.

Beverly Price, founder of the center, and yoga therapist Jaclyn Mucaria instructed a yoga class and explained the therapeutic nature of the exercise.

“I struggled myself in high school and college and there wasn’t a lot of recourses available. I wanted to give back everything I wasn’t able to get. We really integrate the practice of yoga in the whole treatment process,” Price said. “Originally, I looked at yoga as being able to focus inward. But, the breathing and the meditation itself shifts the whole brain chemistry.”

For Mucaria, yoga is a key part of personal healing.

“Many people with eating disorders spend a significant amount of time trapped in their heads and yoga gets them out of that mindset. It challenges them to go deep into personal healing. We like to say life begins at the end of your comfort zone,” Mucaria said.

The candles passed out in the beginning were the only light throughout the yoga class.

“Healing space is important and I think we can provide that with the whole ambiance. We sit in a group on the floor in the yoga rooms, instead of sitting at a table with chairs and bright lights,” Price said.

After the yoga class, Renisha “Rae” Simpkins, an OU alum and motivational speaker at Inner Door Center, led a discussion on eating disorder awareness. She encouraged compassion and support.

“If you think someone you know has an eating disorder, approach them with compassion. The worst thing you can do is not approach them at all,” Simpkins said.