Tag Archives: Chelsea Roff

Intent Former Editor Chelsea Roff Gets “Best Shift Ever”

Chelsea Roff
Photo Credit: Chelsea Roff’s Facebook page

Good things happen to good people – that’s karmic belief. This week Intent’s former blog editor Chelsea Roff was the subject of Break.com’s “Prank it Forward” series where they surprise deserving individuals with life changing gifts.

For those that don’t know, Chelsea left Intent last year to pursue creating her own non-profit organization that shows the vital importance of yoga in eating disorder recovery. Chelsea herself suffered from extreme anorexia – at one point dropping to 58 pounds and caused her to have a stroke two weeks before her 16th birthday. She spent 18 months recovering under the custody of a Dallas hospital. When she was released her therapists suggested that yoga might be good for her – and it turned out to be a life changing experience.

To give back to the community that gave so much to her Chelsea started an IndieGoGo campaign last July that raised over $51,000 in four days. For those four days Chelsea camped out above the “You Are Beautiful” mural in Santa Monica, refusing to leave until she reached her goal. Now that money is going to fund research based studies in yoga studios and treatment centers around the country. To help get the funds to hire a full-time staff for the organization Chelsea has also been moonlighting as a waitress. Did we mention she’s only 24? Chelsea Roff is the definition of using your own talents and abilities – and the power of intent – to save the world. To reward her for all of her selfless good work, her friends and co-workers teamed up with Break.com to provide Chelsea with the best shift ever.

It starts off with a kind stranger leaving a ridiculously huge tip – that Chelsea insists on sharing with the rest of the wait staff. Then a free trip for two to Hawaii, followed up by Chelsea’s dream job where she’ll be able to use the work she’s been doing with Eat. Breathe. Thrive. in conjunction with a funded medical center. To top it off Chelsea was surprised with a brand new car and a visit from her very first yoga teacher that showed her so much about strength and being proud of your body and the space you inhabit.

We are so proud of Chelsea, who will always be a member of the Intent family, and all of the things she’s done. It’s such a wonderful thing to see her get the rewards she deserves for doing such amazing, wonderful work. Congratulations to Chelsea! You deserve it, girl. And we can only hope that Chelsea’s journey also inspires all of you to show the potential of setting an intent and following through with it. We really have the power to make meaningful change in people’s lives!

Learn how you can help Eat. Breathe. Thrive. or find one of Chelsea’s programs in a city near you here.

#OccupyYouAreBeautiful: Why I’m Camped Out On A Rooftop Yoga Mat

Right now I’m sitting on a yoga mat on the rooftop of 2309 Main Street in Santa Monica, California. Just below me is a giant red wall painted with the words “YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL,” and there are two ten-foot tall inflatable dancing man balloons blowing in the wind beside me. There are men and women walking by on the sidewalk below, a beautiful community garden across the street. The ocean is just visible in the distance. This is #OccupyYouAreBeautiful.

Between today and Wednesday, September 18, this yoga mat will be my home. I will stay here all day and all night — I will eat here, sleep here, and I will be joined by yoga teachers, musicians, speakers, and other members of the community.

#OccupyYouAreBeautiful is a public demonstration of solidarity with people who struggle with food and body image issues on all ends of the spectrum. Together, we are taking a stand – for life, for happiness, and for the right for all people to feel beautiful in the bodies they inhabit.

The statistics around eating disorders in this country are discouraging. Nearly 24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, and millions of others struggle with food and body image issues at a sub-clinical level. This disease kills nearly half a million people every year – daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, and spouses. That’s not okay. 32-year-olds shouldn’t be dying of starvation. 8-year-olds shouldn’t be vomiting to lose weight. This is not the kind of society I want to raise my kids in.

Over the past several years, I’ve built my life and career around helping others recover from this illness. I believe yoga can be a game-changer in the fight against eating disorders, and more importantly, I believe it can help shift the sociocultural dynamics that contribute to eating disorders to begin with. Yoga teaches critical skills for developing a healthy relationship with food and one’s body (which many of us never learn as children), and it can equip those who struggle with these issues with skills that pharmaceuticals, talk therapy, and other traditional forms of treatment simply do not provide.

That’s why I developed Yoga for Eating Disorders — to teach people who struggle with eating disorders practical tools for using yoga in their recovery. Specifically, the program teaches yoga-derived exercises for tuning into hunger and fullness signals, coping with difficult emotions, and learning to relate to the body as an ally rather than an enemy. The average cost of eating disorder treatment is $1,250 per day, and even at that rate over half of patients relapse after discharge. Eating disorders — from anorexia to binge eating — take a huge toll on our healthcare system. Yoga is a cost-effective way to teach those who struggle with these issues skills for long term recovery, potentially shortening treatment, reducing relapse, and ultimately saving lives.

On July 30th (my 24th birthday), I launched a crowd-funding campaign with the ambitious goal of raising $50K to take Yoga for Eating Disorders to treatment centers around the country at no charge, collect data for an evidence based study on its effectiveness in treatment, and offer pro-bono talks about eating disorder prevention at local schools in each city where the program is offered. We’ve raised almost $30K so far, but with only 4 days left in the campaign it’s time for something a little more drastic. It’s time to Occupy.

Inspired by my friend Will Baxter of the Don’t Let Will Die campaign, I am demonstrating my solidarity with eating disorder sufferers around the world by taking a stand. I invite you to take a stand with me – for life, for freedom, and for the belief that all people have the right to feel beautiful in the bodies they inhabit.

With less than 100 hours left in our campaign, I need your help. I will not let this campaign fail. This yoga mat saved my life once, and I’m not getting off it until other have the same opportunity.

Stand with me by donating today!

You can stand in solidarity with Chelsea and #OccupyYouAreBeautiful by making a donation, sharing this campaign with your friends and family, commenting on this page and visiting her at 2309 Main Street in Santa Monica, California. There is no reason this has to be the only #OccupyYouAreBeautiful. Host one in your own community!

Former Intent Editor Chelsea Roff Launches Indiegogo Campaign to Research Yoga for Eating Disorders!

Setting sail from Intent Blog, former editor Chelsea Roff is now pursuing a path that takes her deep into the heart of her passion: Yoga as a tool for treating eating disorders.

Chelsea’s own background has shown her the power of yoga in transforming body image and bringing about whole-person wellness. Today she launches an Indiegogo campaign to raise $50,000 in order to embark on an in-depth research project to compile the data necessary to bring this method of treatment to public awareness.

Intent: This is an amazing campaign! Can you say a bit more about your inspiration for this project?

Chelsea: Thank you! Yes, of course. As many Intent readers know, I struggled with a very severe eating disorder when I was young. Anorexia nearly took my life. Fortunately I was helped by an amazing team of medical professionals, but while treatment did help me recover physically — I still hated my body, was plagued by self-deprecating thoughts, and lacked the resources to step fully into life.

I left the hospital in despair. I wanted to live, but the eating disorder still haunted me. Relapse seemed  inevitable.

But then I found yoga. Or yoga found me.

Yoga gave me a path. It gave me a future. It introduced me to joy and freedom I never thought possible.

The statistics around eating disorders in this country are discouraging. Nearly  24 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, and only one in ten ever receive treatment. This disease kills nearly half a million people every year — daughters, sisters, brothers, friends, and spouses. That’s not okay. This disease is NOT incurable!

My inspiration for this project is a desire to share the incredible gift that was given to me during my time of need. Eating disorders destroy lives, hurt families and crush spirits. But they don’t have to. There is a way out, and yoga can be an incredible tool in paving the path to healing.

Intent: How has your own history driven your advocacy work around eating disorders?

Chelsea: I think having experienced first hand how agonizing this disease is — and how AMAZING life is on the other side — I just can’t help but want to give it back.

Eating disorders are terrible. Having anorexia is like having a demon inside you that controls your thoughts, manipulates your emotions, and isolates you from everyone and everything you ever loved or cared about. Many people think eating disorders are driven by a wish to be skinny or get attention — I assure you that is not the case. Eating disorders are biological illnesses, triggered by a combination of genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors. No one chooses this illness.

I think my history gives me a combination of empathy for those suffering and hope for their future. I know there’s a way out of this illness, and I hope I can offer a few tools to help others get their lives back from this disease as well.

Intent: After experiencing yoga as such a powerful tool for recovery, are you eager to share this method of treatment to others suffering from eating disorders?

Chelsea: Absolutely!

Over the past several years, I’ve put a lot of thought into which elements of the yoga practice were helpful in my recovery and which weren’t so much (I think some aspects of yoga culture can actually exacerbate an eating disorder). I’ve developed a program called Yoga for Eating Disorders™ that teaches patients practical tools for learning how to tune into hunger and fullness signals, cope with difficult emotions, and relate to their body as an ally rather than an enemy. Without those skills, it’s nearly impossible to be successful in recovery.

Intent: That’s amazing! How can others get involved?

Chelsea: Please support our campaign! Here are a few ways people can help:

1. Donate to the campaign – today! Every little bit counts – even $5! If you’re going to contribute, please don’t wait! We’re trying to reach our first 15K in the first week.  If people see the campaign is successful, they’ll donate too.

2. Like,  Comment on, or Share our IndieGoGo page.

3. Tell a yoga studio in your city about the campaign. For the first 12 studios that make a tax-deductible $5,000 donation, I’ll teach my 3-day Yoga, Food, & Body Image Intensive at no cost to the studio. The program is priced at $300 per participant, so 17 registrations will earn all the money back, and 30 registrations will generate $9,000 in revenue.

Mallika Chopra: Coping with Loss

For our third hangout in the “Aspire to Inspire” series, Mallika Chopra hosts a discussion on “Coping with Loss.” She will be joined by Todd Hartley, CEO of WireBuzz who lost both of his grandparents at the same time; Chelsea Roff, who has been featured on CNN and the Hallmark channel with her story of coping with a mother who has alcohol induced dementia; and Laurel Lewis who practices as a hospice nurse and also runs Death & Dying Dinner events in Southern California. (You may remember Laurel from 30 Days of Intent!)

Join us for this poignant conversation right here or on The Chopra Well YouTube channel!

Leaning into Discomfort

by Amy Wilbanks, of waking up willa

While it’s true that I don’t shy away from discomfort, I normally don’t go seeking it out.  I just don’t like to live my life in fear of being uncomfortable, so I keep my comfort zone boundary loose and flexible.
This past weekend I attended a women’s empowerment/yoga retreat called Camp Catalyst, organized by Shine Global, a non-profit organization that empowers girls and women to be catalysts for change in their lives and in the world.  Held at the Caldera Art Center, right outside of Sisters Oregon, the facility is breathtaking, very Frank Lloyd Wright-ish, built right into the wilderness, organic, with little surprises hidden into the landscape.  The earth beneath this amazing spot on the planet vibrates with possibilities and you can feel it when you step onto the property.  Our lodging was Sioux style tipi’s right next to Blue Lake, the second deepest lake in Oregon.

I signed up not knowing a soul in attendance.  Not really ever having done yoga before.  The workshops were very appealing to me as someone with a lust for self knowledge, as was the idea of escaping into the wilderness of the unknown.  An adventure in being seen, putting myself out there and embracing my authenticity.  Feeling whatever came up.

Right away I began to piece together my new social world.  Everyone but a few people heralded from Bend, and most everyone knew each other or at least were familiar, as they’d gone to the same yoga studios.  There was an ease I felt between the others, which exemplified the awkward space I felt between myself and them.  To close the gap, I reached out, I smiled, I engaged strangers, and when I felt like it, I retreated and gave my introvert reassuring pats of love and acceptance.  “You’re there….I feel you.  We’re okay.  Trust me.”

The first night, the journey into the wilderness of the unknown was so intimidating that by the end of it, I was vibrating with so much nervous energy I thought I might burst into a million pieces.  The “ice breakers” were more like “comfort zone busters” as we were made to pair randomly with strangers and communicate with deep eye contact, ripping off the shields of self preservation, throwing ourselves into a veritable puppy pile of community; heart, soul and mind.  There was no place to hide, no place to blend into the background.  We had to expose ourselves with this vulnerability.  We had to dance within it.  I don’t know if anyone else felt as naked and raw as I did that night, but as awkward as I felt, there was also such energy and power and brilliance in that room, I felt like I could glow in the dark.

I slept hard beneath the towering old growth of trees.  They lulled me to the sleep.

The workshops tapped directly to the soul.  There was no time to get comfortable.  It was very much like diving into the ice cold lake.  Shocking and jolting.

More lessons with being completely vulnerable with strangers.  Less than strangers now, we had gone through the ritual the night before to become sisters.  There was some familiarity growing.  My introvert was feeling more peaceful.

Storytelling workshop first with writer, editor, community-builder and storytelling extraordinaire, Chelsea Roff.  Spilling out my thoughts into a tumbling flow of words. Talking about them.  Seeing the emotions build up in the recipient of my words.  Tears even.  I was struck at how open the woman I read my story to was.  Maybe the ritual of vulnerability the night before was to bring us all to the verge of our feelings so we could communicate more openly and honestly.  Stories began to sprout in my mind and I became so inspired to tell them!

Purpose workshop next with Milena Fraccari of What’s Your Tree.  More storytelling and exploration into a deeper sense of purpose and passion.  As I was opening myself up again to a different woman, who happened to be in all my workshops so far and also shared my tipi, I could see her blinking and nodding in agreement.  When I was done, she told me this was her story too.  Like, almost exactly like her story.  The more we shared, the more common ground we discovered.  Suddenly I felt like I realized why I was there.  The synchronicity made sense.

Unlocking Your Creativity workshop with amazing artist Julia Marie Junkin.  Again, with my new soul sister Beki.  The synchronicities kept becoming more evident.  Julia was so charismatic and so insightful that at one point I was scared to make eye contact with her, for fear that she could view all of my secrets in one glance.  She was insanely connected to each person she talked to.  And she talked and looked into the eyes of every single person in that class.  I just watched in awe and humility.  There is magic in every moment.

Last workshop was Yoga in Action with the Off the Mat team of Claire and Davian.  Yoga poses with prompts for deep introspection and stopping to journal every few minutes.  I loved it so much!  By the end of the workshop I had written down clues to my purpose here on earth.  It was *that* good.

That night was more socializing and getting to know my new tribe.  My soul sister and I ventured off campus and hit up the local lodge for a bottle of wine and smuggled it back to our tipi for an after dinner adventure.  When the dishes were done and people started stumbling back to their lakeside tipi’s,  Beki and I gathered up our plastic wine glasses, threw on some warm clothes and sat under the giant moon and stars on the dock and sipped up our wine and feasted on stories and laughter.

The next day we all sat in small circles and did more work towards putting all of the insight from the weekend into a plan of action.  One by one we stood before our community and announced what we had become catalysts for.  When it was my turn, I walked to the middle of the room and spoke with a smile on my face.  “I am Amy, and I’m a catalyst for human connection through storytelling.” My introvert was beaming.  There were no more fears of vulnerability.  I was proud to share my heart and soul.

Saying goodbye was bittersweet.  I was anxious to get home to my family.  I missed my husband’s voice and my kid’s snuggles.  But I felt so connected to my new tribe, and I was also a little nervous to lose momentum, to forget the lessons, to get distracted by life and forget about the storytelling.

I learned so many things about myself this weekend.  About how we are as humans and what makes us feel connected.  And that vulnerability is connective and community building.

I was reminded of how we have such a short time on earth as these versions of ourselves and to not wait.for.anything.you.desire.  You may only have this one, last moment… so embark on your adventures, satisfy your curiosities, unlock your passions, nurture your loves, share your talents and don’t be intimidated by vulnerabilities.  That’s where your truth lies waiting for you to discover it. <3

Be open to yourselves with loving hearts.  Life’s an adventure.  Lean into discomfort, and listen for what it tells you.  I’m already looking forward to next year’s adventure.

Amy resides on seven acres in the country in Battle Ground, WA with her husband, five children and two Nigerian Dwarf goats.  As a stay at home mom, she finds creative refuge, (a little bit of sanity), in blogging and photography.   She began blogging in 2004 as a way to process the emotional transformation of divorce, and continues to search for her voice and humor in her storytelling and photography.  In her spare time (when there is any) she also enjoys hiking, roadtrips, and any adventures that include the use of a parachute, ziplines and snorkels. You can read more of her writing at her blog, waking up willa.

Introducing Our New Managing Editor, Chelsea Roff

Dear Intent Community,

It is with great sadness to announce the news to all of you that I will be stepping down from my position as editor of Intentblog by the end of this month to fully pursue my intention of becoming a full-time illustrator and comic book artist. The last three years (!) have gone by so fast, and it has truly been an incredible journey working with the Intent Team and being a part of such a positive and compassionate community dedicated to manifesting peaceful intentions for a better world. Thank you everybody–the Intent Team, our Intent Voice bloggers, and all of you Intenters–for your inspiration and support!

Please welcome Chelsea Roff to the Intent family, who will be our new managing editor of Intent Blog and has many exciting plans for revitalizing our ever-growing community of bloggers and readers. Below, Chelsea shares with us a few things about herself, her passions and interests, and how she plans on growing the Intent Blog community.

If you had to describe yourself in five words, what would they be?

Happy, driven, visionary, inquisitive, loving

What were you doing before you came to Intent?

Let’s see… For about the past year, I’ve been serving as Managing Editor for an online yoga magazine. I have had such a good time doing that… basically I got to spend my summer traveling around to different communities to write about and feature the work of inspiring people doing amazing things in the world.

What else? Service has played a significant role in my life; in Dallas (where I just moved from) I co-founded an organization called Studio to Streets that offers free yoga classes in juvenile detention centers and homeless shelters. I teach yoga. I also just finished up my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Texas Arlington, so I’m a bit of a nerd at heart. Oh, and I write. Of course. I love to write. That’s been my life over the past four years in a nutshell… I’ve had my hands in many pots!

Why do you think it is important to set an intent? 

Intention, to me, is all about bringing awareness and purposefulness to our lives, to the way we relate to ourselves and others, to each and every moment. When I set an intent, I enter into an agreement, a promise if you will…. to live better, happier, healthier, whatever it may be. If I bring my actions into alignment with my intent, the benefits will ripple out to effect not only me, but every person I come into contact with. That’s powerful.

Have you ever had someone randomly buy your cup of coffee at Starbucks? Maybe you felt so grateful and inspired that you felt compelled to buy someone else’s drink for them the next time you were there? That’s intention. We change ourselves, and the world changes because of it.

As the new managing editor, what is your intent for Intentblog? 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and really I think it can all be summed up in one word: Community.

I hear a lot of people nowadays bemoaning how much time we all spend in front of our computers, but to be honest, I don’t think it’s always a bad thing. The internet (and especially websites like Intent) provide us with tremendous opportunities to build community beyond traditional borders. When, in this history of life on this planet, have we ever been so aware of the circumstances faced by people hundreds of thousands of miles away from us? When have we ever had so many different opportunities to connect with likeminded individuals? When has the notion of building a global community ever been so possible?

My intention with the Intent blog is to build community. To share stories, connect people, and provide resources for us all to live more happy, purposeful, and peaceful lives.

What is your personal intent? 

My intent (for my entire life, mind you!) is to do something worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. The keyword in that sentence is worthy! I don’t care if I actually get one, but wow… I would be a very happy woman if I went knowing I had contributed to making this world a more peaceful place.


 

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