Eating Disorders: How Yoga Teachers Can Help

with Chelsea Roff

4 Hours
to Complete


Course Access

4 CEUs Upon

Learn How to Understand and Support Yoga Students With Eating Disorders

Chances are you know someone with an eating disorder. Seventy million people worldwide—more than the population of Canada and Australia combined—experience eating disorders1. They are life-changing and sometimes life-threatening illnesses. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness; the disorder kills one person every 62 minutes2

But here’s the thing. Yoga can change a life.

An increasing number of yoga students are coming to the mat to cope with mental health challenges and reconnect with their bodies. As a yoga teacher, you are in a powerful position to offer support. The yoga tradition is rich with tools and practices that can help students in recovery from eating disorders, but it’s not immediately clear which elements will help!

Eating Disorders: How Yoga Teachers Can Help, is designed to give yoga teachers tools to understand and offer support to students with eating disorders. While yoga is no replacement for medical treatment, it is crucial that teachers understand eating disorders so that they can (1) recognize students in danger and refer them to treatment and (2) provide complementary support to those on the path to recovery.

In this course, you will learn:

  • A framework for understanding eating disorders, including what causes them and how each disorder manifests.
  • How genetics, trauma, and cultural influences contribute to the development of eating disorders.
  • The adverse health risks associated with eating disorders, and how yoga can exacerbate cardiovascular complications in students who are severely ill.
  • Practical, evidence-based tools you can integrate into your classes to help students eat mindfully, cope with big emotions, and feel better in their bodies.
  • A simple, five-step formula for approaching and offering support to students you’re concerned about.
  • The double-edged sword of yoga for eating disorders—how yoga, and the culture that surrounds it, can inadvertently exacerbate eating disorders—and how you can combat this in your classes.

Plus, the course includes:

  • A yoga nidra practice, a meditation practice, and an asana practice designed to teach you skills that are particularly useful for students with eating disorders.
  • A printed course guidebook (no digital copy included) with extensive information and resources.
  • Access to a Facebook group where you can interact with other students taking the course.
  • Access to a live webinar with Chelsea Roff where you can ask questions about your teaching.

“Often the first thing we notice when we see someone with an eating disorder is how their body looks. But there are so many other things going on beneath the surface. This course provides a window into the internal experience of eating disorders and the role yoga can play in recovery.” —Chelsea Roff, Director and Founder of Eat Breathe Thrive

1Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, and Kessler RC. (2007). The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry, 61(3):348-58. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2006.03.040.

2Eating Disorders Coalition. (2016). Facts About Eating Disorders: What The Research Shows.

Meet the Presenter

Chelsea Roff

Chelsea is the founder and director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that works to prevent and help people recover from eating disorders through yoga. As a yoga therapist, researcher, and educator, she has spent nearly a decade pioneering integrative health programs for people with mental health challenges.

In 2011, Roff offered the first Yoga for Eating Disorders program to clients at a treatment center where she had once been treated for anorexia. This later became the heart of Eat Breathe Thrive: a seven-week program that combines yoga, meditation, and psychoeducation to help people recover from eating disorders. Two years later, she raised $50,000 in fifty days to kickstart Eat Breathe Thrive. Since its inception, she has brought the program to scale in thirty-two U.S. states and seven countries.

Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher and grant writer in a psychoneuroimmunology laboratory. Her early research focused on how yoga affects the immune systems of people with HIV/AIDs and cancer. She is currently overseeing a research initiative on the Eat Breathe Thrive program, which is slated to be the largest ever study on a yoga program for eating disorders.

This year, Chelsea took on an additional role as U.K. Operations Director for the Give Back Yoga Foundation. She is currently spearheading an initiative to bring therapeutic yoga programs to scale in healthcare systems in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.

Course Previews



Course Outline

What Teachers Are Saying

“Chelsea presents this offering with the fullness of her heart, the wisdom of her experience, and the brilliance of her spirit. I left her training not only feeling more connected with my own body, but also with the amazing community that has come together for this experience. This program will absolutely inform and enrich my work as a psychotherapist and yoga teacher specializing in eating disorders.”

Darius Hickman, Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Instructor

“Chelsea looks at eating disorders from so many angles—psychological, sociocultural, genetic, and spiritual. This course has influenced my teaching and my views of my own body. Would highly recommend taking it if you have the opportunity!”

Trishia Gill, Yoga Instructor

“As a clinician who works with eating disorders, it’s important for me to utilize evidence-based approaches with my clients. Chelsea was able to engage us and speak about the science and research behind why yoga works. Many of the things I learned I have already incorporated into my practice with clients who have eating disorders.”

Brandi Stalzer, Licensed Professional Counselor and Yoga Instructor

Teachers: Get 4 Continuing Education Credits

Yoga Alliance requires all yoga teachers to accumulate at least 30 hours of continuing education every three years. 20 online hours are allowed to count toward this requirement.

Fulfilling 4 of these study hours is as easy as logging into the Yoga Alliance website and entering your hours after you’ve completed Eating Disorders: How Yoga Teachers Can Help. Continue your yoga education with this course and more from the Yoga International library!

Eating Disorders: How Yoga Teachers Can Help

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