16: Creating Truly Inclusive Yoga Spaces with Guest Teacher Amber Karnes

I am so excited to share this powerful conversation with you. While many yoga studios proclaim that “Everyone is Welcome!” in their classes, in today’s episode we ask, “ Are we actually teaching our classes in a way that supports that message?”.  My friend Amber Karnes is whip smart, a powerful advocate and a seasoned yoga teacher. We didn’t hold back on any difficult conversations or taboo topics in this episode on Creating Truly Inclusive Yoga Spaces.

In this episode you’ll hear:  

    • The difference between saying “everyone is welcome” and actually creating an accommodating space.
    • How to modify foundational poses to make them more accessible.
    • Examples of specific language Amber recommends teachers avoid in their group classes and what  you can say instead.
    • What to expect when teaching larger bodies.  
    • The best ways to level and name classes and the problem we see with All Levels classes.
    • How we can disrupt the cycle of a non-diverse pool of teachers.
    • How I realized I could be contributing more to the diverse yoga culture I want to support.

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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6 Responses to “16: Creating Truly Inclusive Yoga Spaces with Guest Teacher Amber Karnes”

  1. Lisa

    I loved this podcast and Amber! This philosophy is totally in line with the style I teach Prime of Life Yoga(40+). I believe there is no perfect pose only what suits the individual in the moment…..I use the phrase Personal Comfortable Maximum PCM (my little acronym)….Thanks for sharing.. Lisa 🙂

    • Francesca Cervero

      I am so happy to hear that Lisa, and so honored to have you as a part of this community. I love Amber too! 🙂

  2. Colleen

    Best podcast ever! There is so much useless verbiage being bandied about around “inclusivity” and this podcast really spoke to this issue. It is so hard to even find a studio website where the photos show the average American body, which tends to be pudgy–and usually white. All the pics are of super lean young people (usually with tats and doing pincha mayurasana). It’s intimidating to someone like me, even though I am a yoga teacher. I am a senior, I have a debilitating disease, and I am 25 lbs overweight. Trust me, there is no one who looks like me in those yoga studio photos….unless it’s Fat Yoga. And yes, there is a studio in my town named Fat Yoga. There is a very well known studio in town that talks about accessibility and inclusivity. While they do have some volunteer outreach programs for marginalized communities taught by recent yoga training graduates as seva, you will see very few people of color or lower income status in this studio because it is located in a rather high rent part of town. Even lower-income white people like me can’t afford classes there. So the clientele is usually the more well-healed double income population. Kind of a catch 22 situation right? You have to pay the lease and everything that goes with running a studio.

    • Francesca Cervero

      Hi Colleen! I am so happy this landed so well!! And yes– it can feel like quite a tricky problem to solve. Rent is expensive! Luckily we have smart people like Amber leading the way and showing us all how we can do better. We’ll all just keep showing up and doing the work. Sending lots of love your way. <3


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