The Accessible Yoga Podcast is your weekly source for questions and answers around equity in yoga, hosted by Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes. Join us for powerful conversations with thought leaders at the intersection of justice, knowledge, and practice.
039. The Connection Between Yoga & Activism
35:31In Episode 39 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Amber Karnes sits down with Anjali Rao to discuss the connection between yoga and activism. Anjali Rao is a yoga teacher, social justice activist, multi-cultural training specialist, and a cancer survivor. She is an Indian American immigrant from Bangalore, India. Her work explores yoga philosophy and history integrating marginalized voices using storytelling, imagery and poetry. In this interview, Amber and Anjali discuss the history of activism in yoga, including how yoga philosophy and social justice are connected. For folks who are hesitant to step into the space of activism or call themselves an activist, this interview is for you. Anjali addresses the role of the activist and discusses how we can build capacity for resilience using our practice. Finally, she discusses her new course with the Accessible Yoga Training School, Yoga & Activism: A Blueprint for Collective Transformation, which is open for enrollment now! In this episode: Anjali introduces herself and talks about her work in the world How are yoga and activism connected historically? What is the lineage of yoga and activism? Yoga Is a container of practices, thoughts, concepts which can build capacity & resilience for activism Yoga helps us be aligned with our deepest dharma Yoga is about expansion of consciousness: what are you using your expanded consciousness to accomplish? How your social location is connected to your dharma Who is an activist? What “counts” as activism? How perfectionism and black-and-white thinking hold us back Rituals and practices that can anchor us in our purpose The importance of community for activists Anjali’s course, Yoga & Activism: A Blueprint for Collective Transformation, which is open for enrollment through June 19 A call to action for all of us Show notes and links can be found at accessibleyogatraining.com.
038. Addressing Transphobia and Creating Affirming Spaces
1:09:34In Episode 38 Amber Karnes sits down with Tristan Katz and Maygen Nicholson to address a few common transphobic talking points and discuss how we can support our trans and gender expansive community members. Tristan and Maygen are both educators who focus on LGBTQ+ awareness, advocacy, and wellness at the center of their work. In this interview, Tristan and Maygen discuss gender identity, why we should all be invested in dismantling the gender binary, and why representation matters. They debunk many commonly held, harmful narratives about trans and gender non-conforming folks, and talk about action steps for learning and beyond. This conversation invites us to take a deeper dive into understanding gender identity and creating affirming space for our trans siblings. Note: This conversation was recorded in response to the March 22nd J. Brown yoga podcast interview with Katchie Ananda on the topic of “Gender Spectrum and Biological Sex.” Both J. and Katchie are cisgender individuals. The conversation they shared was rooted in biological exceptionalism, trans* exclusionary feminism, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and tokenization. We found it deeply hurtful and problematic and felt the need to address it publicly to stand in solidarity with our trans* and non-binary siblings. Get show notes, links to everything we discuss in the podcast, and subscribe here.
037. Transcending Trauma with Yoga
54:43In Episode 37 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Jivana Heyman sits down with Zabie Yamasaki, M.Ed., RYT. Zabie is the director of Trauma Informed Programs at UCLA and is the Founder of Transcending Sexual Trauma through Yoga. Zabie has trained thousands of yoga instructors and mental health professionals on trauma-informed teaching and her new book Trauma-Informed Yoga for Survivors of Sexual Assault which is coming out this year. Jivana and Zabie discuss trauma-sensitive teaching practices that benefit every student that comes to our classes. They also discuss the role of the teacher, power dynamics, and walking the line between authenticity and healthy boundaries. This conversation invites us to consider ways we can shift our community spaces to create more safety and opportunities for rest. Get show notes, links to everything we discuss in the podcast, and subscribe here.
036. Making Yoga Philosophy Straightforward & Accessible
52:48In Episode 36 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Jivana Heyman sits down with Daniel Simpson to talk about yoga philosophy and his new book The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices. Daniel is a former foreign correspondent who has gone on to study and teach yoga, meditation, yoga history, and yoga philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Triyoga, and beyond. Jivana and Daniel discuss many concepts and themes from yoga philosophy including the role of ethics in yoga and how our individual interpretation of the teachings influences how we “live” our yoga. This conversation invites us to consider how we use self-study and practice to either retreat from the world or become a more conscious citizen. Get show notes, links to everything we discuss in the podcast, and subscribe here.
035. Creativity & Trusting Your Own Voice
53:28In Episode 35 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Jivana Heyman sits down with Linda Sparrowe to talk about creativity and finding our voice. The former editor of Yoga International and Yoga Journal magazines, Linda has been teaching, talking and writing about yoga for more than 20 years. She has a long and varied career as a writer, editor, speaker, and mentor in the holistic healing arena, with a special emphasis on women’s health. Jivana and Linda talk about how personal practice can help us find our authentic voice and how they each get into the mood to be creative. This conversation invites us to consider how we use our voice and our yoga practice and how we can trust our authenticity to express what we truly wish to communicate to others. For show notes and links, visit the Accessible Yoga Podcast page or episode 35 here.
034. Compassionate Leadership & Mentorship for Yoga Yeachers & Business Owners
49:59In Episode 34 of the Accessible Yoga Podcast, Jivana Heyman welcomes Pamela Stokes Eggleston and Amina Naru to talk about compassionate leadership and mentorship for yoga teachers. Pamela and Amina are two yoga service leaders and the co-founders of Retreat To Spirit - a mentorship organization that helps yoga teachers realize their potential, build their businesses according to yogic principles, and learn how to support themselves with their practice on and off the mat. Pamela and Amina share how self-care and mentorship helped foster their yoga careers and talk about connecting to your “why.” Finally, they share details about their upcoming Retreat To Spirit Mentorship course here at the Accessible Yoga Training School, which opens for enrollment next week. For show notes and links, visit the Accessible Yoga Podcast page or episode 34 here.
033. Moving Yoga Studios Online & Resilience Through Change
47:07In Episode 33, Amber Karnes talks with Anjali Sunita. Anjali is a yoga teacher, writer, Ayurveda practitioner, and the business owner behind Baltimore Yoga Village. In 2021, Anjali completely pivoted the Baltimore Yoga Village business model from two brick and mortar yoga studios to an online wellness ecosystem that platforms individual instructors and practitioners. In this episode, Anjali and I talk about pivoting to an online model during a pandemic, what the new business model is, and how others might consider moving to a more collaborative way of working. We discuss how our mindset around co-creating and co-working within our communities can be supportive rather than competitive. We also explore topics like resilience, failure, and why “starting over” can be a good thing, if we let it. For show notes and links, visit the Accessible Yoga Podcast page or episode 33 here.
032. From Guru To #MeToo
52:51In Episode 32, Jivana Heyman sits down with Theo Wildcroft. Theo Wildcroft, PhD is a teacher, trainer, writer and scholar working for a more sustainable relationship between our many selves, the communities that hold us, and the world that nourishes us. Her research considers the democratization of yoga and the many different ways yoga communities are responding to concerns about safety in practice. In this episode, Jivana and Theo discuss post lineage yoga, the backlash against her work, and her new book, Post-lineage Yoga – From Guru to #MeToo. This week we explore: A deeper understanding of post lineage yoga How Theo decided to do the research and work she is doing How Theo has navigated backlash for the work she is doing How we can share power within our spaces and classes The importance of empowering students from the beginning The importance of learning outside of formal structures How Theo does her research
031. Q & A
48:02Hey Episode 31: Q & A In Episode 31, Amber Karnes and Jivana Heyman sit down to answer questions submitted by our listeners and community. In this episode, we will discuss how the practice can support mental health treatment in a responsible and ethical way, scope of practice, the importance of collaboration in our communities, as well as a question about exploring practice while experiencing vertigo. This week we explore: How the practice can be used to support mental health treatment in a responsible and ethical way The importance of understanding scope of practice How important it is to build collaborative working networks in your community The importance of having clear descriptions for our classes The importance of destigmatizing mental health support within the wellness and yoga communities The importance of giving power back to students in our class spaces How to explore the practice during vertigo
030. Re-Imaging Our Work
1:00:19Episode 30: Re-Imaging Our Work In Episode 30 Amber Karnes talks with Kelley Palmer. Kelley is a writer, creative, advocate, and yoga teacher who focuses on the service of making wellness spaces equitable, accessible, sustainable, and safe for Black, Indigenous and people of color. In this episode, Kelley and I talk about orienting ourselves toward race equity work in our current moment. We talk about what can happen when we use our imagination to creatively solve problems together, rather than getting stuck in guilt, inaction, or a sense of “it’s always been that way and is impossible to change.” We also talk about developing resilience for staying with the discomfort that conversations about race and equity can bring up. Finally, we chat about Kelley’s upcoming course, Race & Equity in Yoga, and let folks know what they can expect if they join. This week hear more about: How Kelley developed her upcoming course, Race & Equity: Disruption As A Practice How the demand for Kelley’s work has shifted in the last 12 months How Kelley is feeling about her work, the current moment and our ongoing responsibility The importance of understanding the legacy of oppression that has benefited some and made it unsafe for some to exist The importance of knowing we can feel more than one thing at a time How the word unity is being co-opted in this moment How we can reclaim our imagination when thinking about social justice action and solutions How Kelley is shifting to honor what feels like the best use of her energy What to expect in Kelley’s upcoming course, Race & Equity: Disruption As A Practice