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Your weekly source for questions and answers around equity in yoga

Accessible Yoga Podcast

Join us for powerful conversations with thought leaders at the intersection of justiceknowledge, and practice.

Hosted by Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes. Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Accessible Yoga Podcast Episodes

Episode 18: Run Forward Towards Discomfort Enthusiastically with Kimberly Dark

In Episode 18 Amber Karnes sits down to chat with Kimberly Dark, a writer, professor and teacher who works to reveal the hidden architecture of everyday life so that we can reclaim our power as social creators. Amber and Kimberly talk about the bias present in us all and how to begin unpacking the biases we hold that do harm, especially in regards to bodies and their variations.  Kimberly shares the importance of being open to discomfort as a gateway to embodied learning and culture shifting. Kimberly also talks richly about the ways we can honor our lived experiences and the fullness of who we are. This candid conversation between Amber and Kimberley invites us all to lean heavily into our own discomfort in the service of creating a better world. 

Listen: Episode 18

Episode 17: When We Are Set Upon The Right Path with Lakshmi Nair

In episode 17, Jivana Heyman welcomes Lakshmi Nair. Lakshmi Nair is the founder of Satya Yoga Co-op, a BIPOC owned and operated yoga cooperative in Denver, Colorado. Satya Yoga Co-op grew out of a yoga immersion and teacher training for Black & Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) that Lakshmi has been offering in Denver since 2014. In this interview we learn more about Lakshmi’s journey back to her practice and the creation of this transformative yoga co-op. Lakshmi and Jivana discover that they have been in the same yoga spaces since the late 90s. The exchange between Lakshmi and Jivana gives insight into building sustainable models to make this practice available, accessible and welcoming for all.

Listen: Episode 17

Episode 16: Stop saying “full expression of the pose” [Making Asana Accessible Part 2]

Episode 16 is the second in a series about making yoga asana accessible for all bodies. In this episode, Amber and Jivana talk about the language we use as yoga teachers. Jivana shares what the yoga Sutras say about the role of asana in our practice and we talk in-depth about investigating and shifting the language we use to communicate in our teaching spaces. Amber talks briefly about her recent Yoga Journal cover issue, including the history of harm the publication has had in yoga and wellness, and the importance of holding these large organizations accountable. This conversation is a rich exchange about the way our words can create belonging and affirm our students or our words can uphold systems of oppression and perpetuate a yoga practice that is inaccessible to most.

Listen: Episode 16

Episode 15: Yoga & Social Activism with Hala Khouri

In episode 15, Jivana Heyman welcomes Hala Khouri, yoga teacher and co-founder of Off The Mat Into The World. Hala shares openly about how her own life and experiences led her to the work she does as an activist. She also gives insight into the beginnings of Off The Mat and how the organization came to be. In this conversation Jivana and Hala talk openly about how they are each navigating the political climate within yoga spaces. This conversations invites us all to reconnect the roots of yoga to social activism.

Listen: Episode 15

Episode 14: How Trauma-Informed Yoga Serves Us All

In Episode 14, Jivana Heyman sits down with De Jur Jones, a yoga teacher, flight attendant, community advocate, and model. De Jur shares about the populations she serves, including incarcerated communities, folks who were formerly sex trafficked, and those facing housing instability. De Jur also shares about her work as a trauma-informed yoga teacher and community support member and how she brings intention to her offerings to support the humans in front of her.  This conversation invites us to consider the trauma in our experience while holding the awareness that everyone around you also has trauma.

Listen: Episode 14

Episode 13: Making Peace With Your Body 

In Episode 13, Jivana Heyman interviews Amber Karnes about her upcoming course, Making Peace With Your Body. Amber shares openly about why she chose to do this work and how this work is intertwined in her own experience as a fat person. This conversation talks about the toxic nature of diet culture, the harm inflicted on folks in larger bodies within the medical industrial complex, and the ways dominant culture devalues folks in bigger bodies. Amber shares about how we can divest ourselves from diet culture and lean into our personal power, and what body image work has to do with social justice.

Listen Episode 13

Episode 12: What is the role of asana in yoga? [Making Asana Accessible Part 1]

Episode 12 is the first in a series about making asana accessible for all bodies. In part 1, Amber and Jivana dig into the ways physical practice is centered in western yoga culture. Jivana and Amber talk in detail about the other parts of the practice that often are ignored in most yoga and wellness spaces. We also talk about a simple mindset shift that prepares you for adapting almost any asana. This conversation invites us all to investigate the misconceptions we hold about changes in the physical body and how asana can support us through those changes. 

Listen Episode 12

Episode 11: Anxiety, Yoga and Our Truth

In episode 11,  Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes sit down to discuss their individual journeys with anxiety. They both share the ways yoga has been helpful and discuss what has not served them. This conversation holds the space to normalize the fact that we are all navigating anxiety and that some of us are navigating anxiety disorders. Jivana, who is writing a new book, felt it was important to have this conversation, giving a space for him to share authentically about his journey through grief and anxiety. In this episode Jivana shares deeply about reshaping his practice diving deeply into self exploration as a way to learn to accept the role anxiety plays in his life. Amber also talks in depth about how yoga gave her new tools to navigate her thoughts, patterns and negative self-talk. 

Listen: Episode 11

Episode 10: The Responsibility and Opportunities We Have In This Moment with Dianne Bondy 

In episode 10,  Jivana welcomes Dianne Bondy to talk about how she has created her platform, grew her career, and built a global yoga community. Dianne talks about how she leaned into the virtual space early on and gives advice for folks looking for tips on how to build their own platforms. This time with Dianne gives great insight into best practices, tools and things to remember as we teach virtually. Jivana and Dianne both talk in depth about the importance of making sure that our virtual offering spaces are accessible to all. Dianne also talks about the responsibility we each have to dismantle white supremacy and the importance of understanding the place of social justice and advocacy in our yoga spaces and personal practice. 

Listen: Episode 10

Episode 9 : Yoga Is Not About Fixing Others with Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes

In episode 9, Amber and Jivana talk about a recent article Jivana has featured with Yoga Journal talking about yoga’s response to disabilities and illness. Together they explore the belief that folks with disabilities or illness need to be fixed or cured, especially within yoga spaces. Jivana talks in depth about the connection between ableism and white supremacy, making it pervasive and easy to ignore by those who think they are unaffected. Jivana also shares more about the ways ableism is upheld in our wellness spaces by centering healing and curing people. This episode invites us all to investigate the stories we hold about our bodies, disabilities, illness, death, and yoga’s place aside those identities

Listen: Episode 9

Episode 8: Yoga philosophy through a South Asian perspective with Shyam Ranganathan

Shyam Ranganathan and Jivana Heyman have a discussion about Yoga philosophy through a South Asian perspective. They explore the various ways that Western imperialism shows up in the way we interpret and practice yoga, what the Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita both say about our responsibility when it comes to other people (social justice), and how translations, interpretation, and a Eurocentric bias can completely change the context and the meanings of the teachings.

Listen: Episode 8

Episode 7: Nothing is okay / Everything is okay

Jivana Heyman & Amber Karnes

In episode 7, Amber Karnes and Jivana Heyman talk about duality—the up and down, light and dark, "both/and" nature of life. We talk about how attachment to outcomes and the stories we tell ourselves keep us in a place of suffering, and the antidote to that (spoiler alert, it’s non-attachment and acceptance). We discuss personal experiences and practical ways that we each work with our emotions and grief in our yoga practice. We also talk about the danger of spiritual bypass and how embracing the fullness of our human experience honors the yoga teachings and helps us accept ourselves as we are.

Listen: Episode 7

Episode 6: Lessons learned from the Accessible Yoga Training 

In episode 6, Amber and Jivana talk about lessons learned from the Accessible Yoga Training. Jivana digs deep into the yoga philosophy behind this training that informs both of our work and the way we teach. We talk about shifting the power dynamic between teacher and student and what happens when we give students the tools to work with their practice, rather than insisting they fit into a preconceived notion of shapes or sequences. We also talk about how the Accessible Yoga Training builds community between teachers like us whose work sometimes feels isolating. 

Listen: Episode 6

Episode 5: Geek wellness, YogaQuest, and the power of stories with Justine Mastin

Hosted by Amber Karnes

Justine Mastin found her people at a comic book convention. In this interview we'll talk about why that mattered and how Justine helped the geek community remove barriers to accessing wellness. Plus we'll talk about the power of stories to question social norms and make change in our own lives. 

Listen: Episode 5

Episode 4: Getting better at failure and reclaiming wellness with Nicole Cardoza

Hosted by Jivana Heyman

Jivana Heyman & Anti-Racism Daily creator Nicole Cardoza discuss "failure as a practice" to help build resilience and meet whatever challenge comes our way. They'll also discuss reclaiming our right to be well and what wellness means to each of them.

Listen: Episode 4

Episode 3: What’s wrong with saying, “I’m just not the yoga teacher for everyone”

Jivana Heyman & Amber Karnes

In Episode 3, Amber Karnes and Jivana Heyman discuss the responsibility of yoga teachers to have a commitment to accessibility in their group classes and how we can’t let ourselves off the hook by saying, “I’m just not the teacher for everyone.”

Listen: Episode 3

Episode 2: Dismantling white supremacy & redistributing power in yoga spaces with Kelley Palmer

Hosted by Amber Karnes

In episode 2, Amber Karnes & Kelley Palmer will discuss ways that white supremacy shows up in our yoga spaces, how we can redistribute power and resources toward more equity, and how we shift from an individual lens to a focus on community care and the collective.

Listen: Episode 2

Episode 1: If yoga is so peaceful, why are y'all so angry all the time?

Jivana Heyman & Amber Karnes

In episode 1, we introduce ourselves and talk about the work we do in the world. We also try to answer the question, “Yoga is supposed to be peaceful, why are y’all so angry and negative all the time?” We discuss spiritual bypass and why the yoga teachings are not just about “love and light.” We also discuss figuring out “your lane” in social justice by honoring your body, knowing yourself, getting beyond shame, fear, and confusion, and managing your mind.

Listen: Episode 1

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