Practice with Amber
Amber Karnes is the founder of Body Positive Yoga. 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 with human beings who want to build unshakable confidence and learn to live without shame or apology in the bodies they have today. She's the co-creator of Yoga For All Teacher Training, an Accessible Yoga trainer, and a sought-after expert on the topics of accessibility, authentic marketing, culture-shifting, and community-building. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband Jimmy. You can find her at bodypositiveyoga.com.
Interview with Amber
What style, tradition, and/or lineage are you a part of (if any)?
My 200-hour teacher training was an alignment-based hatha style of yoga that was inspired by the work of B.K.S. Iyengar. My teacher trainer, Anna Pittman, is a Phoenix Rising yoga therapist, and her training also heavily emphasized the other seven limbs of yoga (not just asana) for personal growth and transformation.
In 2019, I'm taking my 300-hour TT with Jules Mitchell. She specializes in teaching biomechanics to yoga teachers, and I can't wait to geek out over tissue adaptation in her science-based curriculum.
Personally, in my own work, my teaching centers around adaptive asana, social justice, and empowering our students to personalize their practice regardless of shape, size, age, or ability. Jivana Heyman, the founder of Accessible Yoga, is a teacher and mentor of mine, and is super influential on my work!
What can I expect from your classes?
Low-pressure, judgment-free yoga (flavored by intersectional feminist principles) from a big yogi with a big heart.
You can expect plenty of options for taking whatever variation of a pose (or breathing practice, or meditation...) honors the body you bring to the mat today. Bodies change from day to day (and throughout the seasons of our lives), and having the tools to personalize our practice is so important for our well-being.
What’s on your mind these days yoga-wise?
Here's a brief list: the effects of capitalism (and patriarchy and white supremacy) on our lives and in the context of yoga spaces, what it means to create welcoming spaces for all students, using yoga to make peace with our bodies, destigmatizing mental illness in wellness spaces, what wellness looks like and means for folks with marginalized identities, and how to use yoga as a form of social justice.… I could go on!
What do you like to do outside of yoga?
I just work all the time, haha! I am in the third year of Body Positive Yoga, my business and full-time gig, and I really do enjoy geeking out over building it! But when I'm not traveling to lead a training or creating content on my laptop, I love being outside. I hike and camp with my husband, Jimmy, and our Boston terrier, Garnet, as much as possible. I love jumping into bodies of water when it's warm enough. In the winter, you can find me knitting or reading. And I cook, every day. I'm handy in the kitchen!