My goal is to empower you to live your life out loud – in the body you have today – without shame or apology.
For me, yoga has been an integral part of a decade-long journey toward self-acceptance and body positivity – a journey of making peace with my body and helping others to do the same.
I know what it’s like to struggle with low self-esteem, bad body image, disordered eating, and the shame that comes with feeling that I’m not enough.
I also know what it’s like to fully inhabit my body. To see my body as an ally, my partner in crime. To accept myself – imperfect, flawed, human – and come out on top to live a life without shame or apology.
I know what it’s like to finally realize that I am enough, just as I am.
Yoga cracked open that knowledge for me. And I want to do my level best to share that experience with you.
Why I started Body Positive Yoga
I’ve practiced yoga for over a decade now, and it has not always been easy. When I show up to a yoga class, I’ve almost always been the biggest person in the room. I’ve seen and heard it all – from people who didn’t want to roll their mat out next to the fat lady to teachers who shamed or singled me out for my size.
I decided in 2010 that I wanted to take my yoga practice deeper, and so I began yoga teacher training with the wonderful and wise Anna Pittman of The Breathing Space. A few months in, I decided that I wanted to share my yoga with the world. That I wanted to help others who were in non-conforming bodies – fat bodies, old bodies, stiff bodies, or just bodies that get ignored by the yoga world – to make yoga work for them.
I wanted to give others the gift that yoga gave me – of learning how to create a cease-fire zone with my body. Of the freedom that comes when I am on my mat and for a short time, I’m not hating my body or trying to change it, but working with my body in an awesome project of movement, mindfulness, and joy.
I got tired of the diet culture rat race, of losing and gaining weight over and over again, and so I quit dieting when I turned 30. Now I practice a Health At Every Size approach to wellness, focusing on joyful movement, intuitive eating, and self-care.
I started teaching in 2011, and my goal in teaching and in this blog is to share tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for your unique body. I want to help make yoga work for you. Your body deserves no less! Forget squishing yourself into a pose to try to look like a picture in a yoga magazine or the teacher that stands in front of you in the yoga class.
Your body is not a problem to be solved. You can practice yoga and honor your unique body – the one you’re in today.
Want more body positivity in your life?
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In my teaching, I emphasize safe alignment and mindful transitions, and help you give yourself permission to honor the body you bring to the mat today, while also being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. I infuse my classes with the foundational principles of inclusivity, agency, consent, body positivity, and self-acceptance.
And while I take safety, consent, and respect very seriously, I also can’t help but be ME – big, loud, tattooed, silly, weird me. I like to have fun and show you that moving your body doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be full of laughter and joy and personality, too. I am a big fan of “yoga in non-yoga places” like libraries, parks, festivals (and the internet!) and I often teach free, accessible classes that work for all bodies.
I co-created Yoga for All Teacher Training with Dianne Bondy to impart the message of inclusivity and adaptive yoga to teachers all over the world. I serve on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and the Advisory Council for Women’s Power Space where I seek to help women claim the space they take up in the world, both on and off the mat. I’m based in Charlottesville, Virginia, and teach workshops and lead retreats all over the place.
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Amber Karnes – creator of Body Positive Yoga – is a ruckus maker, RYT-200 yoga asana teacher, and a lifelong student of her body. In Amber’s classes and workshops, students of all shapes and sizes will find tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga asana work for their body type. She emphasizes safe alignment and mindful transitions, and guides each student to honor the body they bring to the mat today, while being empowered to learn about the body’s intelligence and power. She serves on the Yoga and Body Image Coalition and seeks to further the message of inclusivity, consent, agency, body positivity, and accessibility for all on and off the mat. She blogs at bodypositiveyoga.com.