My name is Laura, and I have lived experience with anorexia, orthorexia, anxiety, and seasonal depression. Having suffered from eating disorders for most of my life (18 out of 31 years), I’ve had a complicated relationship with food, movement, my body, and my mind, and with the many layers of trauma. I now share those experiences to raise awareness and to support people with similar struggles. My focus as a peer supporter is on being there for you, and on helping you feel safe in your own body again.
My whole story is a long one – I’ll get to that in a blog series soon!
My approach as a peer supporter, but also as an embodied yoga teacher is science-based, holistic, and down to earth. I work a lot with the nervous system and how it facilitates communication and responses within the body, and how that affects how we feel and what we do. This yields a better understanding of why that body-mind connection is so essential.
I believe in the power of working together. That means that you have complete ownership of what we do – after all, it’s your recovery process, not mine. I’m just a guide along the way, with lived experience. I also believe in the power of working together with other healthcare professionals, using a multidisciplinary approach. I will always be critical towards my own field of expertise, and refer you if your needs for support are beyond my abilities.
I’m very curious and inquisitive by nature, so I love learning new things! The body, the mind, and communication are forever fascinating to me, so while my training may seem like it’s been all over the place, I’m always pleasantly surprised by how well everything complements each other.
My education has taken me from Kinetic Therapy to English Language & Culture to Embodied Movement, but also Dutch Sign Language.
I’ve recently graduated from my advanced embodied yoga teacher training with Julie Martin. Learning wish list: an MSc in Medical Humanities and/or the Eat Breathe Thrive Facilitator training.
Click the titles to learn more about my training.
Advanced Yoga Therapy Skills for Eating Disorders
While I don’t believe yoga can ‘cure’ eating disorders, I have experienced how yoga helped me reconnect with my own body again. It transformed my relationship with myself and my body image. Ever since that experience, I’ve been connecting the dots in terms of the science behind that. So has Chelsea Roff of Eat Breathe Thrive (EBT): she’s dug up all the research, developed yoga therapy skills specifically tailored to eating disorders, and there are even research findings on the effectiveness of her method. I love Chelsea’s evidence-based approach. When she teamed up with The Minded Institute by Heather Mason (who I admire greatly as well), I knew I had to sign up for the ten-hour course and become EBT-informed.
First aid training
It’s the kind of training I hope I’ll never need, but that I’ll be glad to have had when I encounter a situation when I do need it. I’ll be updating and training my knowledge and skills every year.
Advanced Embodied Yoga Teacher Training
Right after finishing my first yoga teacher training in 2017, I discovered Julie Martin on the internet. She did the complete opposite of what I was taught during my YTT, and I was intrigued. Rather than focusing on alignment-based cues, she highlights embodiment and work from the body. In January 2018, I started taking her online classes. Later that year (August), I did an in-person workshop weekend with her, and I’ve trained with her since. The 350-hour Brahmani Teacher Training programme started in August 2019 and lasted until April 2022 due to COVID, with a new set of skills and knowledge and a certificate to my name.
Dutch sign language
I’ve wanted to learn Dutch Sign Language since I was 17. At age 29, I was recommended an accessible online beginners course that teaches you the basics and around 500 signs in just a year’s time. I’m greatly enjoying learning about all the layers of communication that I’m not aware of, but that non-hearing people definitely are. I believe this will also help me to develop my communication skills in general, and hopefully make my services more accessible in the long run (when I take up more DSL classes).
Embodied Recovery for Eating Disorders Phase I
After many years of recovery, I’ve connected the tools and practices that have worked for me to the science and theories behind them, and related that to ED recovery. Yet I’m not a psychologist, so I never felt qualified to express those ideas. I was ecstatic to find the Embodied Recovery Institute, founded by Rachel Lewis and Paula Scataloni, who are very qualified, and go far beyond my own ideas. It’s been a pleasure to train with them, and I’m looking forward to continuing with their phase II and III once travel allows for it again.
Stress management for Yoga teachers
Taught by Lucy Lucas, this course dived into the wonderful world of stress: what it is, why it’s not all bad, how we can use our bodies to work through it, but also how our systems get overwhelmed by stress. It mixed self-inquiry and self-awareness practices with findings from science, and was hugely insightful.
Empowerment through the body
I’d been following Magdalena Weinstein on Instagram for quite some time already. She creates really clear graphics about trauma, the nervous system, and Polyvagal Theory. When she announced her Empowerment Through the Body course, I signed up straight-away. It was a solid and well-rounded introduction into the world of trauma, how that affects the body, and how you can use the body to regulate yourself.
Vinyasa yoga teacher training
Although I never intended to become a yoga teacher, I did want to learn as much about it as I could, and so I signed up for and successfully completed Frog Lotus Yoga International’s 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in 2017.
MA Literary studies: Writing, Editing & Meditating
With a love for storytelling and the written word in mind, I chose this master programme to hone my writing and editing skills. I’m glad I did: it’s helped me to communicate and share my recovery experiences in my efforts to help people.
BA English Language & Culture
I always wanted to either help people or write, and so I chose English. This coincided with the early stages of my recovery, during which I started journalling my experiences – first privately, later on publicly. That’s when I learned there are many ways in which I can help others. Other essential skills: critical thinking, communicating, providing feedback, the impact of language, doing research.
BSc Kinetic Therapy (propedeutic diploma)
Thinking back, this is where it all started. I was fascinated by the human body and movement, and I wanted to help people, which is what this programme was all about. Sadly both my eating disorder and a chronic shoulder that required surgery forced me to reconsider my future career as a kinetic therapist. After obtaining my propedeutic diploma in my first year, I had to change my life course during the second year (little did I know that I would end up helping people again later in life).