Trauma-Informed and Non-Hierarchical Yoga with Amber Karnes | #47

May 26, 2020

Image text reads, "Trauma-Informed and Non-Hierarchical Yoga with Amber Karnes | #47" over an image of a shirtless man with a large belly and tattoos all over his upper body stretching in a yoga pose

[This episode is part of the Health and Wellness Changemakers Series sponsored by Superfit Hero.]

Yoga has the potential to be a healing movement and mindset practice for all if taught in an intentional and inclusive way. But when it’s practiced in a way that centers only one type of body and minimizes others, it can do more harm than good.

Thankfully, there are fantastic yoga teachers and teacher trainers in the world like Amber Karnes who are committed to tearing down hierarchy and building a culture of consent in yoga and beyond. In this episode, Amber and I chat about ways to achieve this and why it matters.

We discussed:

  • How Amber got started with yoga and why she kept going with it.
  • The education Amber received through the internet on feminism, social justice, and Health At Every Size© at the same time she was developing a yoga practice.
  • How to move from intellectually understanding body liberation and HAES© to actually embodying it.
  • Binary thinking as a tool of oppressive systems.
  • The ability of yoga to quiet our minds in order to remember our humanity.
  • The importance of decentering thin, white women from yoga practice in America and addressing the barriers that keep other people at the margins.
  • Trauma-informed yoga and creating a culture of consent.
  • How our words as fitness professionals have the power to either build community or make people feel more lonely.
  • Amber’s recommendation to remove hierarchy from your language as much as possible.
  • How practitioners of yoga can empower themselves to have a better yoga experience since a lot of teachers will unfortunately not know how to work with everybody
  • How Amber defines health and wellness for herself at this moment in her life.

Mentioned in this Episode:

This Episode is Part of the Health and Wellness Changemakers Series
Sponsored by Superfit Hero

I am so grateful to be collaborating with the body-positive brand Superfit Hero to introduce you to these changemakers who are taking the health and wellness industry in a new direction. The series runs from episode #37 to episode #48, so be sure to catch them all. Superfit Hero is an inclusive activewear brand with sizes that range from XS-5XL, and they aim to provide clothing for ultimate confidence, no matter your size or sport. To get 15% off your first order, you can use the special series discount code, CHANGEMAKER, when you check out at superfithero.com. And if you enjoyed the Superfit Hero Wellness Tip of the Week, be sure to check out the dozens of amazing coaches and trainers in Superfit Hero’s Body Positive Fitness Finder.

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Featured on this Episode:

Amber smiles for the camera with blue hair and red glasses, wearing a black tank top under blue overalls with one side unclasped.

Amber Karnes is the founder of Body Positive Yoga and the co-creator of Yoga For All Teacher Training. She’s a ruckus maker, yoga teacher, social justice advocate, and a lifelong student of her body. Amber trains yoga teachers and studio owners how to create accessible and equitable spaces for wellness and liberation. She also coaches human beings who want to build unshakable confidence and learn to live without shame or apology in the bodies they have today. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband Jimmy and their Boston terrier, Garnet. You can find Amber on her website, Instagram, and Facebook

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