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Dina Amsterdam Founder of InnerYoga on “Embodied Presence,” Montessori and Leadership :051

Dina Amsterdam, founder of InnerYoga and so much more!

“InnerYoga – How you meet life’s challenges and opportunities, on and off the mat.

Awareness. Kindness. Breath. Ease. Courage.”

Despite being involved in several projects, Dina teaches regular yoga classes in the San Francisco Bay Area, conducts InnerYoga teacher trainings, and is working on a couple of books. She admits enthusiastically that what is taking up a great deal of her time is her role which began at the MIT Media Lab.

Dina is the National Director of Leadership Development Coaching and Wholeness (creating a culture of wholeness) for the The Wildflower Foundation Schools.


“In order to be deeply healthy and empowered it’s important to be connected to the physical body, the emotional body, the mental body, the spiritual body and the energy body.”

– Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga


Here are some of the intriguing topics we discussed:

  • Do you have to meditate in a crossed legged position on the floor to benefit? Dina shares about “Embodied Presence”
  • How the market crash in 2008 prompted her to expand her yoga teaching for her students who had increasing need
  • Perspective
  • InnerYoga is about Self-observation without Judgement, Cultivating Kindness
  • Dina emphasizes that one thing that makes her yoga teacher training unique is that about half of the training is how to take yoga into your life. Living your yoga!
  • Inspiration
  • Dina coaches leadership capacity with Montessori teacher and C-level clients (Well-being in the Workplace). She shares some key coaching insights she gives her clients.
  • “It’s really about helping a person identify what their biggest challenges are and then helping them see how they can utilize that challenge as an opportunity.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • Courage
  • What is “acceptance”?
  • Fierce Compassion
  • Eating Disorder – Binge Eating
  • Her role as National Director of Leadership Development Coaching and Wholeness (creating a culture of wholeness) with MIT Media Lab and the Cambridge-based Wildflower Montessori School pilot Lab School
  • How she coaches Montessori teachers to set up their “inner environment”.
  • Wildflower Montessori: shop-front concept, the role of nature, artist in residence, community, etc.
  • “We believe that the environment deeply impacts the children.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • “The parents are just as important to us as the children.” – Dina Amsterdam, InnerYoga
  • Inner Landscape Cards – Tools that she has created to help children (and adults) navigate their “inner landscape”: faces, landscapes and color washes to help children express how they are feeling.
  • Dina shares her InnerYoga wisdom of how to navigate emotions in challenging times.
  • Vulnerability
  • Anger
  • To Facebook or not to Facebook?


About Dina Amsterdam

Dina Amsterdam has been leading mindfulness-based offerings for over 20 years. She is currently a visiting scholar at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, MA, and works privately with a variety of organizations as an executive coach and head of leadership training and development through her company Leadership Within.

Dina’s Leadership Within mission is to transform workplace and educational environments into cultures of evolutionary self-awareness, embodied presence, and inspired collaborative creative purpose. For the last several years, she has been honored to do this work in support of the Wildflower Montessori network of schools, an open-source approach to Montessori learning developed at the MIT Media Lab. Additional current and previous clients have hailed from Google, Founders Fund, Expedia, the New Yorker, and Innovation Endeavors—to name a few.

A yogi and meditator of over 20 years, Dina is the founder of InnerYoga, a therapeutic approach to yoga that invites deep inner listening and awakens the 4 foundations of awareness, kindness, breath, and ease within those who practice it.

The philosophy and methodology of InnerYoga is deeply rooted in a variety of ancient wisdom practices as well as psychoneuroimmunology—the scientific understanding of the body-mind as the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems.

To date, through both Leadership Within and InnerYoga, Dina has supported well over 100,000 people, in person, on their path to embodied mindful well-being and evolutionary living.

Check out Dina’s website.

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The Emily Program – Eating Disorder Help :020

The Emily Program, is an eating disorder treatment program

…located in MN, WA, OH and PA that takes a more holistic approach for treatment.

I had the pleasure of chatting with Lisa Diers, RDN, E-RYT, who oversees the national operations of both nutrition and yoga departments, which includes the direction and over site of the clinical practices for 65+ nutrition staff and 20+ yoga instructors.

In my book, You-niversal Self-care: Improved Health Through Self-Understanding I share my experience of anorexia. I share more of my experience including what helped me to “come out of it”.

This is a great time to clarify that the name “Weight Free Wellness®” by no means implies unhealthy weight management. Rather, my message through this podcast is that wellness goes beyond weight; and achieving a healthy weight (which is different for each individual) is often a byproduct of leading a life with healthy habits.

Lisa and I find out we share a lot in common and have a lively chat about eating disorders, yoga, wellness and more!

Step off the scale, get on to wellness!


The Emily Program - Eating Disorder Help

What kinds of eating disorders does The Emily Program treat?

All kinds, all ages! The most common or what people are most familiar with are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eating disorder not formerly specified. Eating disorders are a mental health illness and this category has the highest mortality rate of any mental health illness.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


How do you identify if someone is experiencing an eating disorder?

Lisa expresses that this is a challenge because in our culture we put so much emphasis and even communicate heavily on the basis of weight, food and image. You don’t know unless they are clinically diagnosed but there are some signs:

  • If your/their eating patterns have changed significantly. Examples are if someone has eliminated a food group or is more anxious around food.
  • Eating disorders thrive in isolation. If a person is not engaging as they normally would, this could be a sign.
  • Depression and irritability


With 12 years of experience working with eating disorders and at The Emily Program, what do you see as the underlying cause of eating disorders?


Having an eating disorder is not a choice. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


“One way to really, really generalize and simplify [the cause of eating disorders] would be when life feels out of control; the two things that us humans can control… are our weight and our food.” – Lisa

Eating disorder is a very complicated subject. This is a broad generalization but serves to help shed some light on what goes through the mind of someone experiencing an eating disorder.

“If I’m experiencing internal turmoil and I feel like I have no control over it, a false sense of control is to manipulate my food, self medicate with food or change my weight… can serve as a distraction… Of course this is not a long-term, healthy way to cope.” – Lisa


Eating disorders are a mal-adaptitve coping skill for life stresses. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT

No one chooses to have an eating disorder. – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


What causes eating disorder?

The cause is multifactorial and can include:

  • Genetic
  • Environment (ex. Growing up in an environment with individuals who diet and the impact of media.)


What can you expect when seeking treatment at The Emily Program?

You will receive:

  • A clinical assessment
  • Recommendation for treatment based on research, clinical knowledge and what the individual needs and is ready for. This can include an intensive day program with supported meals and snacks, group process, and yoga therapy. There is also out-patient care where you sit with a therapist and dietician. There is also a residential option for 24/7 acute treatment.
  • Reconnect, rediscover, repair the relationship to food and yourself!


I see people recover all the time! – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT

Also mentioned in this podcast:

  • Our bodies are made up of the components of the foods that we eat… when you are missing key components from your food your are missing key components of yourself.
  • Balance, variety, moderation
  • The connection between gut health and brain health.
  • How to eat a food with confidence… own it!
  • How yoga and mindful movement facilitate the healing process: connecting, compassion, anxiety and depression relief, healthy movement.
  • What’s the best and perhaps the quickest way to develop self-compassion?
  • Pause: observe yourself, observe your thoughts, in a curious, not furious way.
  • The thoughts you think about yourself, would you say them to a loved-one or friend?


…Appreciate what your body can do, versus what it looks like! – Lisa Diers  RDN, E-RYT


Check out The Emily Program website for really helpful resources!

About Lisa

Lisa Diers, RDN, LD, E-RYT is  director of nutrition and yoga at The Emily Program, an eating disorder treatment program located in MN, WA, OH and PA. Lisa oversees the national operations of both nutrition and yoga departments, which includes the direction and oversite  of the clinical practices for 65+ nutrition staff and 20+ yoga instructors. She has over 10 years of eating disorder specific: yoga instruction, clinical nutrition counseling and program development experience. Lisa draws from her deep knowledge base of yoga, body image and eating disorder treatment to meet client’s physical and emotional needs. She developed and conducts national  eating disorder & body image  sensitive yoga trainings as well as is  a regular blogger on nutrition, yoga and body image,   a published author (articles, book chapters and published research), and continues to  conduct research to better understand the role of yoga and nutrition in eating disorder recovery.

Lisa Diers - Emily Program