In any given yoga class, students arrive at the mat with a wide array of visible and less visible mental and physical health conditions. Research shows that in a class of twenty students: two students are battling an eating disorder, ten feel ashamed of their bodies, two are in the throes of addiction, nine have an incarcerated family member, eight will be diagnosed with cancer, and at least six will be experiencing two or more of these challenges simultaneously.

As a yoga teacher or yoga therapist, it's so important you know how to help.

In this course, we interviewed the leaders of five nonprofits working to bring yoga to veterans, prisoners, cancer survivors, and people in recovery from addiction and eating disorders, respectively. We asked them about how their work intersects and intertwines, how they understand terms like ‘trauma’ and ‘trauma informed,’ and what they wish every yoga teacher knew about the people they serve.

You won’t want to miss these rich and insightful conversations. While topics like cancer and incarceration may seem unrelated, it turns out there are common threads in how leading yoga nonprofits understand their work, approach their teaching, and support students on the path to healing. Discover how you can incorporate these insights into your work and make a difference in your community.


  • 02

    Seeing Students Beyond Labels

    • Introduction

    • How are Addiction and Incarceration Connected?

    • How are Cancer and Eating Disorders Connected?

    • How are PTSD and Incarceration Connected?

    • How are Addiction and Eating Disorders Connected?

    • How are Cancer and PTSD Connected?

    • The Surprising Connection Between Veterans, Correctional Officers, and Incarcerated People

  • 03

    How Trauma Manifests in Different Populations

    • Introduction

    • Understanding the Impact of Intergenerational Trauma in Addiction and Incarceration

    • Internalizing vs Externalizing: How Different Students Respond to Trauma

    • The Trauma of Diagnosis and Treatment in Cancer and Eating Disorders

  • 04

    What It Really Means to be a Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher

    • Introduction

    • Creating Safety and Supporting Agency

    • Understanding Different Types of Trauma

    • Doing Your Own Work and Fostering Empathy

    • Creating Inclusive Practices and Working With Transference

    • Common Triggers and Language Considerations

  • 05

    How Yoga Supports Recovery, Rehabilitation, and Healing

    • Introduction

    • Balance, Flexibility, Bone Repair: How Yoga Supports Amputees and Cancer Survivors

    • Integration and Interoception: How Yoga Supports Recovery from PTSD and Eating Disorders

    • Presence and Connection: How Yoga Supports Students with Late-Stage Cancer in Prisons

    • Restoring Wholeness: How Yoga Supports Recovery from Addiction and Wounds of War

    • Integration and Insight: How Yoga Supports People in Prisons and in Recovery from Eating Disorders

  • 06

    Final Thoughts and Words of Wisdom

    • What does it mean to 'serve'?

    • Helping from Hierarchy vs Healing in Community

    • Don't Neglect Your Own Work

    • It's Worth the Effort

    • You are Not Alone in This Work

    • How to Get Continuing Education Credits for this Course

Choose the best option for you

You will have access to the course for a year!


Chelsea Roff

Chelsea Roff, C-IAYT, is the Founder and Director of Eat Breathe Thrive, a nonprofit organization that helps people overcome eating disorders. A yoga therapist, educator, and research collaborator, she has spent the better part of a decade working to make integrative health programmes available to people with mental illness. Prior to her work in the charitable sector, Chelsea worked as a researcher in psychoneuroimmunology, with a focus on yoga as a complementary treatment for breast cancer and HIV/AIDS. She is currently overseeing a research initiative, which includes two randomized controlled trials, on a manualized yoga program for eating disorder recovery.

James Fox

James Fox MA is the founder of the Prison Yoga Project. He is a certified yoga instructor who has dedicated himself to developing a trauma-informed approach for teaching yoga to incarcerated people which has resulted in the establishment of yoga programs in jails and prisons throughout the U.S., Mexico, Europe, and Australia. A practitioner of yoga and mindfulness meditation for more than 30 years, upon receiving his teaching credentials in 2000, James began his mission of sharing the benefits of yoga with incarcerated people.

Josefin Wikstrom

Founder and Executive Director of Trauma-Informed Yoga and Movement Sweden, Prison Yoga Project's Program Directo for Europe and India, and co-developer of Krimyoga, the evidence-based Swedish prison yoga project. Additionally, she has developed trauma-informed yoga, dance, and therapeutic movement programs for forensic psychiatry, juvenile justice systems, refugee integration, and trauma treatment centers for youth and children. Josefin is co-author of the book Freedom from the Inside, A Woman’s Yoga Practice Guide.

Tari Prinster

Tari Prinster is a cancer survivor, master Oncology Yoga teacher, author, and founder of yoga4cancer – a specific, safe and effective Oncology Yoga method that uses well-researched principles of yoga and physiology to reduce the side effects of cancer and its treatments. Tari’s organization has trained over 3,000 professionals worldwide and supports research to assess the contributions of yoga. Yoga4cancer also advocates for Oncology Yoga in both private and public organizations. Tari and her global community have seen the benefits to recovery that Oncology Yoga provides—before, during and after treatment. Her book, Yoga for Cancer: A Guide to Managing Side Effects, Boosting Immunity, and Improving Recovery for Cancer Survivors, is an illustrated guide for cancer survivors available in English, Spanish and Japanese.

Nikki Myers

Nikki Myers is the Founder of Yoga of 12-Step Recovery. An accomplished speaker and teacher, she is an MBA, E-RYT500, Yoga Therapist, Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Addictions Recovery Specialist, and Ayurvedic Specialist. Born from her struggles with addiction and work with countless students, Nikki is the founder of Y12SR, Yoga of 12-Step Recovery. Based on its theme ‘the issues live in the tissues’, Y12SR is a relapse prevention program that weaves the art & science of yoga with the practical tools of 12-step programs. Y12SR meetings are available internationally and the curriculum has rapidly become a feature of addiction recovery treatment centers. Nikki’s work has been featured in the New York Times, Black Enterprise, The Huffington Post, Origin Magazine, and countless podcasts.


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