Hi, I'm Jennifer Kreatsoulas, PhD, RYT-500, founder of Chime Yoga Therapy, mother of two girls, yoga teacher and yoga therapist, writer, advocate, and speaker. Thank you for taking the time to be here!
As a yoga therapist, I specialize in eating disorders and body image. I am the coauthor of the forthcoming book, Body Mindful Yoga: Create an Affirming and Powerful Relationship With Your Body (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2018). In addition to my private yoga therapy practice, I lead yoga therapy groups at the Monte Nido Eating Disorder Center of Philadelphia and yoga workshops and retreats on eating disorder recovery and body image. My writing on the topics of yoga, body image, motherhood, and eating disorder recovery can be found on my blog as well as several influential online publications. I am honored and humbled to be featured in the article Celebrating 80 Female Eating Disorder Experts & Advocates.
I am a partner with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and the Transformation Yoga Project, and I will complete 1,000 hours of yoga therapy training in June 2018 with the YogaLife Institute, an accredited program with the International Association of Yoga Therapists. I am also a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider.
Yoga has been a life-saving force in my life. I taught yoga for 7 years before getting married, starting a career, and having children. With the beautiful gift of motherhood also came a whirlwind of stress, endless exhaustion, a severe eating disorder relapse, and depression. As I frantically tried to balance being the perfect mother, wife, and professional, my yoga practice fell away. I knew I needed help when someone once asked me what I enjoy doing and I literally could not respond. My brain searched for an answer, but there were no words, descriptions, or memories. In that moment, I felt empty, blank, and unsure if I would ever recover.
It became clear to me how entirely disconnected I was from my passions—those essential things big and small that ring true with who I am at my core. For so long I believed I had no choice but to run myself into the ground, that I had to put off attending to my needs until my girls went to college. The reality was I had no choice because I was ensnared in self-imposed limitations. Possibilities or alternatives were no where to be found, or so I believed.
Since then, I have come to believe that we have options, even when we tell ourselves we do not.
I have also come to understand that my wellness is directly related to my ability to stay connected to my passions (yoga, writing, reading, and more). Like you, my life is extremely busy, but I have learned how to practice self-care in small but consistent ways. I often call on my network of support for guidance as I continue to find balance between caring for others and caring for myself. When I can strike that balance, I more fully enjoy my life with my husband and two daughters.
I returned to teaching and created Chime Yoga Therapy with a newfound enthusiasm for yoga and its role in my life as a woman, mother, and recovering anorexic. Through Chime, I help others in recovery get unstuck and move forward with yoga.
I deeply believe that everyone who struggles with an eating disorder has the ability to become healthy and strong in mind and body. I believe we can bounce back from difficult moments and prolonged times of symptom use and despair. To me, this is recovery, the ability to become strong, successful, and happy after a triggering moment, long day, uncomfortable conversation, hard meal, or full-blown relapse. In my 22 years of navigating the highs and lows of recovery from anorexia, yoga has been an essential and constant tool that's facilitated a great deal of my healing.
Because of my personal experience with an eating disorder, I am extremely passionate about helping others who struggle with their bodies find peace of mind with yoga and mindfulness practices. Yoga is not a cure, and it is not necessarily a replacement for traditional forms of support and therapy, but it can be a powerful tool to navigate the daily challenges of recovery from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, and other forms of the disease. The wear and tear of everyday life, with it's stress and triggers, can make it difficult to gain and maintain traction in recovery. Based on my experiential knowledge and professional training as a yoga therapist, my goal is to help others summon the strength to bounce back from the challenges of daily life.
We all have profound experiences from which we can help others and make a difference. My intention is to harness the full spectrum of my experiences as a yoga teacher, writer, and mother to help people thrive. My ultimate goals in life are to be a positive role model for my girls and to teach them that anything is possible when we ring true (Chime) with who we are at our core and live with strong intention.