210: The Future of Yoga with Amber Karnes

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down, and the yoga industry has changed dramatically. Studios have closed, some permanently, classes and YTTs are online, and for many of us in-person classes and trainings are not possible. All of these changes have a lot of yoga teachers asking – What does the future look like for yoga? And what does that mean for yoga teachers? Amber Karnes shares some insights.

Amber Karnes is the Founder of  Body Positive Yoga and the creator of the Body Positive Clubhouse. She is a big proponent of the Health At Every Size approach to wellness, focusing on joyful movement, intuitive eating, and self-care. Amber is also the co-creator of the Yoga for All Teacher Training with Dianne Bondy, and she also leads trainings for Accessible Yoga. In her work, Amber is dedicated diversity, inclusion, and accessibility, and helping empower people live life without shame or apology.

With yoga classes and teacher trainings being moved online, what will happen when the pandemic ends, and people can be together in person again? Amber shares her thoughts on how being online has shifted expectations around yoga, and talks more about how this shift has made yoga more accessible for some people. She also highlights some of the barriers that marginalized populations may face at an in-person studio. Shannona and Amber discuss what online classes are lacking and how we can address those shortcomings, as well as what yoga teachers can do to create community in online yoga classes.

If you are looking for insights and perspectives on how to navigate the current situation, as well as explore ideas around what it really means to teach yoga, this interview is sure to inspire you and give you tools to move forward in a productive and meaningful way.

Key Takeaways:

[3:41] COVID-19 has changed the way we share yoga. This episode explores what the future holds for yoga and yoga teachers.

[6:48] Shannon gives a shout out to sponsor Schedulicity and reads a review from a listener. Have you left a review yet?

[10:05] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Amber Karnes.

[11:43] Shannon does a check-in with Amber.

[13:43] What is helping Amber get through the upheaval in the world these days?

[16:54] What is the future of being a yoga teacher?

“This moment is a unique opportunity for us to be imaginative, as both yoga practitioners and teachers of how we can reset some of the expectations around ‘What is a yoga class?’.” ~ Amber Karnes 

[23:42] Yoga has become more accessible to people because it is now being shared online. Amber shares more about the accessibility of yoga, fitness and movement practices in this time.

“I think a lot of folks are going to change the way that they are practicing yoga in community going forward.” ~ Amber Karnes 

[32:15] How has moving yoga online impacted some groups of people like children and less tech-savvy seniors?

[35:54] What are Amber’s thoughts around new yoga teachers getting certified to teach yoga online and going on to teach classes online, and only working in the online space?

“We can look at what the opportunities are coming out of this to create classrooms and teaching spaces and community spaces that are more equitable for all of us.” ~ Amber Karnes 

[38:00] We have an opportunity to reset the expectations around what a yoga class looks like, and to really examine what it means to teach Yoga.

“When we approach [teaching online], we have to start to approach it as if it were a viable alternative and sometimes, a preferred alternative for some of our students.” ~ Amber Karnes 

[43:59] There are thoughtful ways to change and tweak how we teach yoga to give the responsibility back to the student to listen to their bodies.

“With accessibility, the question that I like to encourage teachers to ask is ‘Where does the power live right now?’.” ~ Amber Karnes 

[47:49] Teaching yoga online can feel lacking in community. How can we create connections and community online in creative ways?

[53:48] Amber shares some thoughts around what could really help yoga teachers right now.

[59:51] Shannon reflects on how important it is to center yourself around your “why”.

[1:00:35] Will Amber ever run for office?

[1:02:09] Find out more about Amber and her work via the links below.

[1:03:59] How does Amber deal with the pressure of having a large audience?

[1:06:33] Shannon shares her biggest takeaways from this interview.


Register for the Yoga for Pelvic Girdle Pain Training (click here)

When: Wed, Apr 7, 2021
1-3pm Eastern

Where: Online via Zoom
Yes, there is a replay!

Cost: $47 USD


Gratitude to our Sponsors Schedulicity and Sukhasana Chair (Code: TCYT10).