Today, Kathy is joined by Dr. Karen Samuels and they discuss yoga and eating disorder recovery. Dr. Samuels explains how yoga allows you to focus on the inside, and focus on recovery. Importantly, she also outlines some potential triggers, including what to look out for when practicing yoga.
Karen Samuels, Ph.D, licensed clinical psychologist, has married the practice of yoga to her healing work as a psychologist and therapist for over 30 years. The Founder/Director of COPE: Community Outreach to Prevent Eating Disorders, she received the 2014 National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Westin Family Award for Excellence in Activism and Advocacy.
Karen began her yoga practice in 1970. In 1980, she completed a 6 month YTT at the Yoga Institute of Miami, and in 1981, YTT at Center for Yoga with the late Martyn Jackson, in Los Angeles. B.K.S. Iyengar deeply influenced her early years of training and teaching. This dedication to understanding the complexities of the physical body led to teaching full time during the 1980’s, while pursuing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology. Karen brought yoga principles to women in Domestic Violence shelters, to an acute unit in a state Psychiatric hospital, worked with older adults (75+) to combat arthritis and chronic pain and eventually in healing the mind-body connections with those struggling with eating disorders and body image despair in hospital and outpatient settings. Following her love of teaching pre-natal yoga, her doctoral dissertation (1987) examined yoga as a foundation during pregnancy for first time mothers, noting the benefits to anxiety and body image. A lifelong yogi, she studies with many internationally respected yoga teachers. Continuing her interest in body image, weight, and shape concerns, Dr. Samuels has dedicated her life to the field of eating disorders. She lectures across the U.S. and has published on topics such as eating disorder prevention and the under recognized special treatment of women at midlife and beyond. She developed positive self/body esteem and media literacy workshops delivered to thousands of middle school girls. Guiding her patients, students, peers and colleagues learn the integration of yoga across the lifespan, from birth to death, is Karen’s personal mission.
Karen is the resident psychologist, and Eating Disorders Specialist at oneOeight.com, a yoga based online healing platform. oneOeight.com offers yoga for a myriad of applications, meditations, self soothing practices, nutrition and cooking, as well as Karen’s series of educational videos about eating disorders, weight/shape concerns, and how to incorporate yoga at every stage of the healing journey of recovery from eating disorders and body image disturbance.
Karen founded COPE, Community Outreach for the Prevention of Eating Disorders in 2001, a 501(c)(3) not for profit dedicated to raising awareness, education, outreach and offering treatment scholarships in her local region of Florida. To learn more about their mission and body positivity, visit www.cope-ecf.org or their Facebook page.