The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
338: Eating Disorder Informed Yoga with Jennifer Kreatsoulas
About 70 million people worldwide experience some form of an eating disorder in their lifetime. It is a serious condition and among the deadliest mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose, causing over 10,200 deaths annually. Its prevalence means we are likely to encounter students in our classes who deal with it or are recovering from it. So how can we be mindful of them in our classes? Jennifer Kreatsoulas PhD, C-IAYT, is an expert in this area and shares more about eating disorder informed yoga.
Jennifer is a certified yoga therapist specializing in eating disorders and body image. She is a sought-after international speaker and former host of Real Body Talk, an online interview talk show. Through her virtual school, Yoga for Eating Disorders, Jennifer offers individual yoga therapy, groups, classes, and continuing education and mentoring for professionals. Jennifer is also the author of Body Mindful Yoga and The Courageous Path to Healing. Her writing has been featured widely in print, broadcast, and online media.
Jennifer shares how yoga teachers can become eating disorder informed in how they guide classes. By managing our language, our expectations, and being mindful of our scope of practice as yoga teachers, we can create safer spaces for our students. Jennifer also dispels some of the myths around eating disorders and teaching yoga to this population, as well as 3 ways in which yoga can be a very helpful tool.
[3:16] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode - Jennifer Kreatsoulas.
[8:48] What does Jennifer do and who does she do it for?
[11:15] How and why is yoga helpful (or not helpful) for people dealing with or recovering from an eating disorder?
[14:51] Yoga can be a pathway to self-connection to help with recovery.
[20:20] What are some ways that yoga teachers can have respect and compassion for people going through eating disorders, especially since it's not something that can be identified by looking at someone?
[24:15] One way to change your language is to consider how we offer students a challenge in their yoga.
[26:00] Shannon pops in with a quick shout out to OfferingTree as an excellent option if you're looking to create a website for your yoga business.
[27:51] How does Jennifer recommend responding to someone who comes to yoga with the intention of wanting to change their body without shaming them?
[32:41] Shannon and Jennifer discuss what it means to stay within your scope of practice as a yoga teacher.
[36:34] What are some ways you can learn from Jennifer?
[42:42] Jennifer has a little gift for listeners in the form of a PFD that highlights ways you can make your yoga classes eating-disorder informed.
[43:37] Jennifer invites us to study the language of teachers who look different from you.
[45:12] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this conversation.
Quotes from this episode:
"What is your intention for showing up on your mat or for any activity you're doing and just do that inquiry. And if it's based in any kind of guilt or shame or obsession, it's important to get support around that because that's never gonna lead us anywhere helpful in our lives."
"I see yoga as a pathway to that self connection. It's not a straight line and it doesn't always feel good and it's not always easy... I see this as a part of the journey."
"It's not your scope of practice to have to know people's trauma or to know if people have an eating disorder or whatever their diagnoses are,... but we can take responsibility for our language."