I work with humans who want to make peace with their bodies and build unshakable confidence.
I want to empower you to live your life out loud without shame or apology—in the body you have today.
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.
Yoga cracked open that knowledge for me. And I want to do my level best to share that experience with you.
I’ve practiced yoga for over 15 years 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 bodies that don’t fit the dominant identity in western yoga – 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.
I wanted to share 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 2010, and my goal in teaching and in this blog is to share tips, tricks, and modifications to make yoga work for your unique body. 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.
I also want to share the tools I’ve learned (through the lens of the yoga teachings, feminism, and cognitive psychology, to change the way you feel about (and think about and talk to) yourself. Patriarchy (and capitalism and white supremacy) function best when we internalize our oppression and inferiority. But if we can banish self-doubt and liberate ourselves from body shame, then we become unstoppable.
You can practice yoga and honor your unique body – the one you’re in today.
In my teaching, I emphasize personalized, adaptive practice 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 workshops and retreats with the foundational principles of equity, agency, consent, body sovereignty, and radical compassion.
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 adaptive yoga to teachers all over the world. I lead trainings for Accessible Yoga. And I created the ALIGN mastermind program for yoga studio owners who want to live their values when it comes to diversity, inclusion, and accessibility.
I’m based in Richmond, Virginia, and teach workshops and lead retreats all over the place.
I also created the Body Positive Clubhouse, an interactive online community and resource vault. In the Clubhouse, I coach with folks to build unshakable confidence, make peace with their bodies, and live out loud.
I hope you’ll join me on the journey of body peace!
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.