Jivana Heyman 0:02
Welcome to the Accessible Yoga podcast where we explore how to make space for everyone in the yoga community.
Amber Karnes 0:08
This podcast is brought to you by the Accessible Yoga Association, a nonprofit organization focused on accessibility and equity in yoga.
Jivana Heyman 0:16
Hi, I'm your host Jivana Heyman, my pronouns are he and him, and I serve as the director of Accessible Yoga.
Amber Karnes 0:22
And I'm your co host, Amber Karnes. My pronouns are she and her and I serve as president of the Accessible Yoga Board of Directors.
Jivana Heyman 0:30
Hi everyone, its Jivana. We're back. Hey Amber.
Amber Karnes 0:33
Hey, how's it going? Welcome everybody, it's Episode 41
Jivana Heyman 0:39
Wow, that's a lot I know. Pleased to be here with you again. I'm really excited actually about this topic. It feels like something that we've kind of talked around a lot and like finally get to spend some time talking about community and what that really means. You know?
Amber Karnes 0:58
One of my favorite topics
Jivana Heyman 1:00
Yeah I guess before we start there just how are you? You want to share anything going on
Amber Karnes 1:06
Not much news since the last podcast um I'm doing all right the the weather is changing here in Baltimore it's like signs of fall so excited about that. Not for winter but for fall like the two weeks that we'll get like perfect weather it's gonna be great!
Jivana Heyman 1:23
We don't have much of that in California but...
Amber Karnes 1:26
I know it's just always nice out there.
Jivana Heyman 1:29
Pretty much shorter days -
Amber Karnes 1:30
Or it's on fire.
Jivana Heyman 1:31
Well yeah, it's either on fire or it's nice but yeah, no, it's just getting it's getting dark earlier and so I can feel the change it actually is cooler. Which is nice. I can feel it in my garden. Anyway, I know what the season is it's just like watch what happens with the plants and definitely they're getting I don't know quieter more dormant except for the tropical ones which seem to have their own like like their own pattern their own seasons. But yeah, I think it's good it's good to be back doing these podcasts I'm so excited I hope that people are finding us through Accessible Yoga now through Accessible Yoga Association Yeah, and so let's should we talk about the topic? We're talking about community which is a really huge topic and maybe should we talk about why why we want to talk about this topic?
Amber Karnes 2:22
I think so. The Why is well - the why now is because the Accessible Yoga conference is coming up very soon.
Jivana Heyman 2:32
That's true. Also because I think you and I both realized that this has been a theme in our work for a long time.
Amber Karnes 2:41
Oh that too? Yeah. Bigger why like our why Yeah, sure. I mean, I definitely think that my biggest you know, growth and success and learning and everything else has always happened within community and I've recognized that it's something that I've sought out like building community with folks like sharing meaning creating these like ephemeral type of experiences that you know we make something together and then it's gone and it only lives on and stories like that sort of, you know, learning as a group and and changing and transforming together is something that I've always wanted ever since I was a kid and I think you know, started out with like my experiences in church and Sunday school and like the youth group and like doing all that kind of stuff and my mom you know, grew up homeschooling us but she like ran a school that was for a bunch of kids so there was like, the parents would teach reading and math but we would all learn you know, science and music and art and stuff like that together and so like I think those kind of formative experiences really set me up for like wanting to learn that way and and had a lot of great experiences there. And so I don't know I've done that over the years I when I was a teenager and in college like I built community in the punk and hardcore music scene and Virginia Beach and how did you do that? Well, I booked shows and I had a collective for bands that you know, they'd help promote each other's shows we had like a message board and stuff like that I helped run a record label for a while. And you know, booking shows is really the thing like for me, community is about like throwing events where we can come together, create this experience, like create meaning together, and then we all go back to our, our lives, so to speak. So yeah, that was like a big part of my life for a while. And I've also done community building with like independent art and crafters, throwing craft shows and skill shares and like getting people together around that kind of stuff and yoga, entrepreneurship, a bunch of different I guess like, special interest groups or populations or whatever, but that, that experience of like, we come together around this shared topic or meaning or interest or whatever, we share what we know we learn from one another, we share resources, we unlock knowledge, like we do all those things together. That's I don't know, it's a big one for me. It's certainly, yeah, I'm sure all to my life. I think so.
Jivana Heyman 5:31
Yeah. I've seen you do that in yoga spaces. I mean, that's why I think that's part of why I'm so drawn to you is because I see that in the way you share through social media, how you tend to want to engage people more than just talk at them feels like you want to have a conversation. You're always interested in that, you know, dialogue. And, and I've seen you do it. I mean, you've done it with me, and I've seen you do it through all the programs that you lead. I know you love doing in person programs, because you get to be with people like you're very community oriented person. Yeah.
Amber Karnes 6:09
Yeah. But you've you've done a lot of community building stuff too I know. Yeah. I mean, I can picture you posted the other day. And by the way, speaking of all your, maybe some of the past community buildings,
Jivana Heyman 6:22
The one I was like, at an AIDS conference in 19.
Amber Karnes 6:25
had your muscle tee on
Jivana Heyman 6:31
My little skinny arms. But I was, I was, yeah, I think my, my involvement as an AIDS activist is really much more about community building than anything else, you know, that's what I think is hard to explain about activism that, you know, so much of it is about organizing people and, and kind of trying to, what's the word engage people, you know, to motivate people to get to get them to act, and to do something and, and that really is what community building is about, you know, just like engagement. And that's what act up was, like, we were trying to, like, we were we organized big events, like I organize demonstrations, community forums, and all kinds of stuff. We look, it was like, marketing without an internet, you know, we were just like, putting up signs and stickers, and yelling and screaming and talking to our friends and doing all that stuff, making noise, you know, before Yeah, before social media. Which is interesting. I know, it's different these days, how that all works, but it's true, I think community was the, the heart of that. And it was like, the people that I've, that I met back then the people I worked with, really were my teachers. And it's funny, because I've been going through this project of like, finding old photos from that time, which is why I posted that one. And, and I reached out to a lot of the people I haven't talked to in years from then. And it's just been great to reconnect with them and see what they're doing now. Yeah, just you know, community is like that. It's like, finding a group of friends who share a similar ideals and actually are focused on contributing to the world in a similar way, you know, and especially with regarding activism, people who want to do some kind of service or make an impact, or speak out about something. I think that's what I've always wanted to do. That's what that's what Accessible Yoga really started as too, especially the the conferences, for sure, you know,
Amber Karnes 8:39
Yeah. Well, you talk about that a little bit?
Jivana Heyman 8:41
Yeah. So, I mean, I Accessible Yoga started around, maybe under that name around 2006 or 2007. in the Bay Area, I was leading teacher training programs. And I was teaching people with disabilities in the community. And Accessible Yoga started as a 200 hour training for people with disabilities to become yoga teachers, because I wanted them to get the fullness of teacher training. But then the conference started around 2015 because I moved out of the Bay Area, and moved down here to Southern California. And I was really lost inside. Like, I didn't realize how much my community meant to me. I had a really strong yoga community up there through Accessible Yoga and through integral yoga. And moving down here, I was like, so lost. And I don't know if I should tell the whole story, but I basically, I knew one teacher so I tell that story about Cheri Clampett. Yeah, I guess I have to know. But basically, Cheri was here in town, teaching yoga for people with cancer, and which is such a beautiful thing to do. And yet I was really jealous of her. It's like I had no work. I was parenting like full time basically trying to I was hoping to teach around my kids schedules because they were young at the time. And what I wanted to do was what Cheri was doing and so I was jealous of her. And then I realized what the heck, you know, being jealous of someone who's doing such amazing work just seems silly, right? Like, there's got to be another way. And I, I really sat with it. And I use the idea of pratipaksha bhavana, which is like, reflecting on negative thinking, you know, from the yoga sutras. And, and I realized that actually had an image of her, of lifting her up of actually having her on a stage. And I mean, that's the image that led to the conference happening is like the idea of Cheri presenting on a stage. And she did, she presented at our first Accessible Yoga conference. And what I realized was that I could support her. But the other piece that led me to create that conference was that I was lonely. And I wanted a community and I especially wanted a community of people who are working outside of mainstream yoga, I wanted a community of people that really were dedicated to making yoga accessible and equitable. And were interested in things I was interested in, and I knew they're out there, but I didn't know how to find them. And, and so it was amazing. We had like Dianne Bondi was there, the first conference and Matthew Sanford, I mean, when he agreed to come, I was just like, blown away. Because he's someone I had, like, admired for a long, long time, and I, I'd never been able to meet him. And then he said, he would come. And so we had this first conference, it was like, it felt immediately like family, I was like, Oh, my gosh, like, this is a community of people, we all share the same ideals. And it was so beautiful. Really, it was incredible. And I'm so grateful to all the people that were involved back then. And now to like, I just felt like, it grew out of that basic, you know, goal of coming together, to collaborate, support each other. to like, amplify our voices, you know?
Amber Karnes 12:00
Yeah, I think you and I definitely have this thing in common that we do, which is like, we create the space or the thing that we need. So like, sometimes, you know, my community building efforts are more from a, I don't know if it's a selfish place, but like, from a place of desire for sure of like, the first time through a retreat or yoga retreat that was like, I was like, you know, I've always wanted to have like, I just want to get people together and be in nature and practice yoga, and talk about body image and that kind of stuff. And so like, I made the thing that I want to go, sometimes that's how it starts, you know, those human needs for connection and like sharing meaning around stuff. It's like, that's why maybe sometimes it's easy to get people together around those things. Because like, if you're thinking it, someone else probably is, too. So
Jivana Heyman 12:51
Yeah. Right. I mean, you did that too. Like, I think what, what, you know, to create the spaces that you talked about, like something that you saw lacking? I think I think it's really powerful to do that, to be able to see that something that's missing in the world and help to create it. And I would just say, though, that I, I try not to do that anymore so much. Because what I feel like happens is it's sometimes I mean, it's great if it happens, you know, but I guess I'm just trying to say, I don't want to encourage people to necessarily go do that what I would say we should be doing is collaborating more. So like, yeah, I want to, but I would do is I'm going to look look hard, like, Where is this happening in the world? And I know that I know that all different things are out there, and I want to find them. And so like, if there's something missing in the world that I see, I often just will do some more research and look and see who's who's out there doing it. Does that makes sense?
Amber Karnes 13:54
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I think I think it's always stronger. If you can collaborate and support, you know, work that's already being done that type of thing, like join the community, rather than start the community. It doesn't always have to be you starting it. But yeah, that sometimes it's, it's stuck out that way for us.
Jivana Heyman 14:18
Yeah, right. I just, you know, I give people a homework assignment at the end of the Accessible Yoga actually at the beginning of the Accessible Yoga conference. And I asked them that by the end of the weekend, when we're together that they find someone else to support. And in a way that's my effort at community building is like telling people, there's actual steps you can take and so some of them are so simple, like sharing other people's work. So especially on social media, like one way that I try to build community and I've been doing it for a while is try to share the work of other people. Just like I was saying with Cheri Clampett, like supporting her work, and anyone who's doing something that I admire I try to share their posts or give them a shout out and you do that amazingly well, by the way, like you are just expert at that. So thank you. But also you can reach out to them and see if there's something you can work on together. Like, can I learn from you? Can I hear more about your project? Can I support you? And I think, I think when you reach out to somebody, it's important to do so with an offer, rather than a request. And I think that's,
Amber Karnes 15:31
Can you can you talk about that a little bit? Like, I know, we've both gotten a lot of -there are right and wrong ways or helpful and unhelpful ways maybe to approach folks who you want to collaborate with? So maybe we can talk about that a little.
Jivana Heyman 15:43
Yeah, cuz like, sometimes we say, I have a new project I want to work on and I think, Oh, Amber, I want you to help me. And so I could, like, say, I didn't know you that well, and I but I reached out to you like Amber, will you help me do this? And the thing is, if you don't really know me, you have your own stuff, like you are, you know, focused on building your, your offerings and your life. And, and it's not that my request isn't valid. It's just like, why would you bother? And I think instead, it's more effective to reach out and be like, you know, Amber, I love what you do, can I support you in some way and learn more about your programming, either by taking your course, or reading your book, or, you know, offering you something, you know, and then in the In exchange, maybe I'll get to share about what I do, like, just as an aside, but it's not like, you know, or if I want your time, you know, can I pay you for your time? Like, can I pay you for an hour to give me advice on this project? I'm starting because I just think we all have busy lives, and we all have a vision that we want to create, and we shouldn't expect people to just stop what they're doing for us, but instead, reach out in a supportive way. Is that what you find?
Amber Karnes 17:00
Yeah, definitely. And I think that if, if what you want is to collaborate with someone, you know, true collaboration, I think, requires a certain depth of relationship, you know, that, like, if what you, you know, envision for yourself is like, Oh, I would love to, you know, have a course with this person, or, you know, I don't know, like start a mentoring thing with this person or whatever. That that requires, like, you got a date before you get married kind of thing. Does that make sense? So like, so I love what you're saying about like, Okay, can I? Can I shadow you? Can I take your course can I, you know, make sure you read their book, make sure you are really familiar with their work before you kind of dive into, like, how can we engage in work together. And I think that oftentimes, when you do become like a supporter of another person's work in a real way, then that relationship develops. And those kinds of collaborations happen organically, like, Yeah, I think that's definitely my experience. And probably your experience, too.
Jivana Heyman 18:07
Yeah. I think so I think when people come and support, Accessible Yoga or me, I really appreciate that. And I often look seriously at what they're doing. So like, to me, it's like, I'm not saying you have to, like, volunteer your time, or offer anything big, but just a gesture of support goes a long way.
Amber Karnes 18:32
I would say Yeah. And I think that that goes also toward if you're trying to become part of a community to write that, like, it's not really just about showing up and consuming whatever, you know, offers there or whatnot. Although that's definitely like, it takes it takes all different roles. But I think if you want to help build that community, then it's about what can I contribute? Like, how can I be of service? What skills you know, what can you do to just like, look around and see what needs to be done, you know, if you're showing up to an in person, place, there's chairs and props and things that need to be set up, there's cleanup that has to happen, maybe if you have skills around, you know, marketing, or copywriting or any kind of tech stuff that's always needed in communities. And so really looking for opportunities of like, Okay, what are the things that have to happen to keep this running all the time? And how can I contribute, you know, maybe you can make a financial contribution, but you can't, you know, spend your time and so I really encourage folks that like, really want to maybe you see a thriving community or you see people that are collaborating, working together and you're feeling a little left out. My solution to that is always like, Where can you get involved? How can you support What's going on? How can you help to make it a more sustainable community by you know, making a contribution of some kind and, and, and really, you know, knowing But it doesn't have to look like some big sweeping thing like you don't have to give 1000s of dollars or you know, run a program, like, it might be something really simple, that that will be a big help, you know, as simple as like, yeah, we need some chairs set up and taken down, and somebody needs to do that. So
Jivana Heyman 20:20
Right, or it could be simple, like sharing their posts on social media in a regular fashion. Like if there's a group that you support, share their stuff, like, they will notice that after a while, or it could be contributing to an online discussion, like in Facebook groups, I notice how, you know, certain people are just so generous in their time always wanting to share and give input. And I think that's, that's really kind, you know, to spend the time to share. I mean, sometimes when people share in Facebook groups, they're just wanting to lecture and I get that. But I think oftentimes people don't really take a lot of time and care and give thoughtful feedback and responses. I mean, it's very sweet. Because I know for myself, I'm a part of a lot of groups, but I only want to, like invest my energy into the ones that I'm trying to build. That's right. And so I think that's the choice you make is like, where are you going to put your attention and your energy. And it doesn't always have to be on the thing you that you're doing. It could be on the like you just said like the thing you see out there that you really like that you're really excited by like, Is there something happening out in the world that you're excited about that you want to be a part of? I think that's how you join. And it's hard. It's hard to join a group. And it's sometimes it can be dangerous. Like I think we're glossing over it a bit. I mean, I think there's a lot of positives to it. But I also realized there are some negatives to just in terms of, well, you know what I mean?
Amber Karnes 21:42
Sure, I mean, there are different types of communities, I mean, maybe I'll just give an example from my own life is, you know, with the punk and hardcore scene that I mentioned, is like, I derived so much, you know, belonging, and fun, and, like shared meaning and stuff like that from the stuff that we did there. But I also looking back recognize, like, there were definitely rules about who you had to be and who was cool, and what you were allowed to do, and how you were allowed to act. And, you know, that meant that certain people weren't really welcome, there were a lot of girls or, you know, girls, women in the hardcore scene at that point, and, you know, I feel like, there were certain, you know, aspects of femininity, or womanhood or whatever, that I sort of had to leave at the door, if I wanted to, like be, you know, one of the guys and part of that scene, because as a female promoter, I was very like, that it was just me, you know, there was no, there was like, 10 girls that came to shows out of hundreds of guys. And so, you know, I think about things like that, that, like, you know, when you're looking at joining a community, or, you know, what it requires to, to belong there, like, Are you being asked to, like, leave parts of yourself outside the door to belong, like, that's a big red flag for me, whenever I'm evaluating and saying, like, you know, is this community going to be a place where I can find belonging without betraying parts of myself, or my human experience? You know, what I mean,
Jivana Heyman 23:09
exactly, or, like, not only leave part of yourself out, but also on the other hand, and doing something that you might regret later, like, Okay, my, so my activist story is that, you know, I got arrested many times at demonstrations, and then but I kept getting further and further involved to the point where we actually did this one action, where we chained ourselves to the inside of subway trains, Bart trains in San Francisco during rush hour, and then change the train to the station. And it was very, it was very serious. And I got arrested for a felony. And looking back on it, I'm like, why, like, why did I go to that length? Like, I don't think that had any bigger impact in terms of the goal I had than just demonstrating in the street and getting arrested for a misdemeanor. And that felony, I wasn't convicted, but I was charged with a felony. And so it really interfered with my life in many ways. Like, I almost couldn't adopt kids. And I've had issues with, you know, getting a loan from the bank. And I mean, just like lots of stuff that comes up all the time for me even today. And, you know, I just, I think it's because I was really, really invested. And I like went all the way in. And I think that's good. But I also think we have to be careful and really check our boundaries. This is like the way we see abuse in yoga and cults in yoga. It's like, community is awesome. You know, getting involved in the yoga community is amazing. But where do you draw the line? You know, and how, how do you keep that boundary to keep yourself safe? No.
Amber Karnes 24:53
Yeah, I think, you know, discernment is definitely like a big word that's popping up for me. You know, and I think it's tricky because part of what is so maybe alluring about community is that way that we can all, you know, affect one another's nervous systems and how it feels to belong and to be part of a group and like, you know, we're designed for that stuff. And so that can make it difficult to really see maybe some of the bigger problems that happen. And so and and I think, you know, with, when we're talking about things like abuse and cults and that type of stuff in yoga lineage, you know, that there, there really is a culture within those communities within those lineages or whatever, like groups of people that have experienced the the spiritual abuse, like, where the community itself actually, it helps perpetuate, like, the negative thing that's going on. And that, you know, it's I think it's very hard to, like, take a step back from something that's been very normalized like that, you know, this kind of dynamic happens within families, too, right? where, like, it's normal for that to be going on. But that's why I think we need discernment to say like, Okay, if I stepped out of this space, like, would that still be acceptable in, you know, a different type of relationship, let's say, you know, like, I think about the the yoga lineages that have sort of normalized physical abuse and things like that, but like, Okay, if we looked at this, just as between two people on the street, would it be? Would it be okay, that's correct. So I don't know that that sort of, I think discernment is important. Maybe I'll just leave it there. Yeah.
Jivana Heyman 26:41
I mean, yeah, you know, I have it with my lineage, I mean, integral yoga, because there is abuse by my teacher, Swami Satchidananda. And I want the way that other people around him, dealt with it and, and still do deal with it. It just upsets me that there's a lack of disclosure and honesty, and I just think that you have to use discernment. But you also have to be careful about talking to a lot of different people, and not just like one person and hearing one side of something like to look around, like, do some research and look up like history of, you know, that organization and that teacher before you get really involved, like, see if you can, yeah, gather information, I think is is part of the process of getting investing energy into into a community. Just find out has there been abuse there before? And, you know, listen to those stories, I think that's important. And I don't mean to be harping on the negative, I just really want people to protect themselves and find safe communities where they feel seen and heard, and those those do exist, but maybe on a smaller scale, mostly, you know what I mean? Like, maybe it's through your yoga class, like, if you're a yoga teacher, I would say, how can you create community, amongst your students and your peers, your other teachers in your in your area? Can you? Can you reach out to the other teachers and support them in some way? Can you support your students more than just in a yoga class? Could you help them with social engagement? I mean, it could be as simple as, you know, scheduling extra time after class each week to talk or for them to talk to each other like to me, I, I saw that right away. And I talked about this, I think it might, maybe my first book, I when I started working for Dean Ornish, in his heart disease program early on, it was early on my teaching career, he did something remarkable, which is he showed that support groups were incredibly effective and healing from heart disease, equally important as yoga and meditation. And so then, when I created my HIV AIDS yoga classes back in 1995, I brought in that element and so I had a, we had two hour sessions. And we would start with a check in there was usually half an hour, sometimes it would go long, like an hour. And then we would do like a yoga session after that. And I think what that did is it got it gave people a chance to get to know each other and to share and, and also it was focused on yoga, like we would read yoga teachings and it wasn't just, you know, fainting, it was like yoga related. And that was so awesome. Like, I just some of those students came to those classes for, I don't know, close to 15 years.
Amber Karnes 29:50
Yeah, that's amazing. I mean, it's so simple, but giving people a place to feel like they can be heard and where they're, you know, in it. With the rest of us, like, I think it's really just a powerful thing, like letting people tell their stories. And I think that, you know, centering it around a topic from yoga philosophy or a powerful question or like you said, social engagement, like working on a project together is a really low lift, like to do write to like, okay, we'll come up with some question prompts or, you know, identify like a project that you could work on, but a really big opportunity to help. I think, not only, you know, create community, because it's fun to do and makes us feel good. But also, like, on a more practical level, if you're trying to, you know, hold weekly classes, like, that's what keeps people coming back. It's not the great sequence we put together. Right? Right, it's seeing their friends, and feeling like they get a sense of shared community and connection and stuff like that.
Jivana Heyman 30:57
So totally, I mean, that's what people would come back for. And then it was, it would be amazing to see them reach out, like, if someone didn't come to class, I saw them, they would call them and be like, why aren't you here today? Are you okay? And like, I couldn't really do that as a teacher, like call someone, why don't why didn't you come to class, but they could do that, as a friend, like their yoga friends. I also love what you just said about a project, I just want to highlight that because I actually think that could be, it could be something pretty simple to do, which would be to say, like, say you have an ongoing group of like a yoga class group. Maybe you could ask the group, like, do you want to do a fundraiser for some cause and have them choose together, like, where to donate the money, and then just say, like, you know, on this date, we're going to do a class and invite more people and all the money will go to this cause we did that once a month or something, or I don't know, raise awareness for something. And I just think, especially if it's related to what's going on in the group, like, say, one of the students has breast cancer, or someone is a refugee, and like, really trying to focus on serving that community, I think that could be amazing. Smaller ways, like there's little things we can do. And I guess, I want to come back to what we do with Accessible Yoga and the Ambassador program.
Amber Karnes 32:13
Oh, yeah. That's one of the communities that we help build.
Jivana Heyman 32:16
Yeah, so that's how we build the community is through. I mean, we have a lot of Facebook groups, but then we have like a membership program, which is our Accessible Yoga Ambassadors. I mean, that's really the goal there. Currently, we're just offering serve, like, we basically serve the ambassadors by offering programming to them, and offering you know ways - places for them to connect with each other. And we're looking at other ways, like, what else can we do to serve ambassadors? Anything else? Anything else we should say about community building? I don't know, I feel like we covered a lot. We covered a lot. Yeah,
Amber Karnes 32:50
I feel like we did, too. I just, I guess one final thing maybe that we can talk about, that I feel like as people who create community, or if you're, you know, if you're the person who teaches the class, holds the space, you know, opens the container, whatever, that like, one of the things that's going to come up is our bias. Do you want to talk about that a little bit? I know, this is something that we, that we discuss a lot just in the training that we do, and in the ways that we talk about creating access for people, you know, no matter like what your mission is, with your teaching, which is probably to help people in some way, you know, you were still conditioned by culture, by a dominant culture, by the society that we grow up in, and that society has lots of things to say about those types of people with those types of bodies. And like you can insert any marginalized group there, right. And so you know, even as a, you know, a fat woman who like me, as a fat woman, I still have all the internalized bias and conditioning and stereotypes and the things that quote unquote, everybody knows about people like me about people in bigger bodies, even though I come from that lived experience, right? And so a lot of my education in my own body acceptance journey has been about like interrogating that stuff and digging out that unconscious bias, like where it is and saying, like, okay, who taught me that, is that really true? You know, what is this? Is this thought, like, helpful or unhelpful in doing the work that I'm trying to do here. And so I think it's something that if you're going to be somebody that creates community is something you really need to think about and maybe even, you know, I suggest like taking some trainings on this, um, you know, the, in the Accessible Yoga training, we just barely scratched the surface, right? I know like Kelley Palmer comes in talks about race equity, and we have folks that cover you know, I talked about working with folks and larger bodies, there's a disability awareness training, but I mean, there's so Much more that we can learn. And I really appreciate folks that you know, take a deeper dive into those kinds of topics I think about Kimberly Dark is one that I've, I've been to several learning experiences with her about unpacking these unconscious biases and like how they show up in the work that we do, when we are, you know, a helping person who helps people with bodies. And so, anyway, I don't know, if you have –
Jivana Heyman 35:24
Oh, I have a lot to say about that, I just want to say that. That's one of the things around Accessible Yoga that I think is really important is that we're not I don't know, we're not practicing white savior ism, which is really another aspect of white supremacy where white people think they're the ones who have to fix and solve and do all the things rather than simply supporting marginalized folks, by giving them resources by passing the mic, you know, by giving them opportunities, you know, anyone who doesn't have access to a platform to have that, like at our conference coming up, you know, the Accessible Yoga conference, our theme is, is Uplifting Voices. And we had an amazing panel, a diverse panel of from our board of directors choose two presenters this year. And literally, their goal is to uplift people who don't usually get an opportunity to share at a conference and who have a marginalized identity. And I think they've done an incredible job. I mean, we we've done an amazing job. It's an incredible group of people. And I think that shows what what we're talking about here, it's not, it's not like, Accessible Yoga to me isn't that I then become expert at teaching yoga to all these different populations. It's about understanding my own biases, like you said, my own personal biases. And actually, one thing about that I want to add is that, when you realize you have a bias, when you realize you have some conditioning you're unaware of, that actually makes you wiser, it makes you stronger, it actually improve you as a person. So what I see, but I see a lot is resistance, if people are like, Oh, I'm not racist, I'm not homophobic, I'm not blank or no fill in the blank, when the fact is, if you can just see that actually, you are like you were conditioned that way. Yes, and you got to work on it, it can actually help you to be a better person and to be a better community member. And so like, especially if you're a community leader, you got to see you got to see your limitations. Like you're if you're unaware of your limitations, you're not serving your community. Well, I would say.
Amber Karnes 37:31
Yeah, I agree. And I think that, you know, there's this, this thing that tends to happen when we get called out, or when we realize the bias we have, or whatever that it feels, you know, I think for a lot of people, the feeling of shame comes up. Yeah, and and that's when we trot out our good person resume, you know, like, Oh, my best friend's Black, I can't be racist, you know, that sort of rhetoric sort of comes up because people get defensive. And so I think that's a huge opportunity to use some of the skills that we've learned in the yoga practice, about how to stay with discomfort, and, you know, take, take a moment to, I don't know, employ that, like witness consciousness that we practice so much, and sit and step back and say, like, this is an opportunity for me to know better and do better, and to get closer to probably what the mission is in the first place, which is helping people or loving people, or whatever the desire is behind the work that you're doing. And so I think that's like, to me, when I, you know, make a mistake in public or get called out or whatever it is, I tried to, like really get into practicing this thought about it being an opportunity to like, actually get better at the work that I'm doing. And not, oh, this is a this is a huge criticism of me, like getting called out for being for a racist comment is not a life sentence, right? That is actually a turning point where you can say like, oh, wow, I definitely don't want to make that mistake again, which is, you know, the desire that comes up when you get defensive, like, Oh, I'm not that person. Good. Now, here's an opportunity for you to get even closer to like, being the person that you want to be. So I think I don't know. It's never like comfortable for that to happen. But I think that it can be such a powerful opportunity for, for growth and to be, I think, to even get closer to aligning with whatever the mission or the values is that you've stated. You have. That makes sense.
Jivana Heyman 39:32
Yeah, definitely. I agree. I think. I think that's what Yoga is about, actually, and I'm going to talk about it a bit in my new book, you know, that this process of, of seeing clearly, that's what yoga gives to us, like in the yoga sutras of Patanjali that the section on Ashtanga Yoga starts with Patanjali saying that by practicing the limbs of yoga Well again, discriminative discernment that they get, and that we will see clearly, basically how our mind works, and which part of us is just his mind. And which part of us is spirit or to self. And that clear that clarity also has to do with our cultural conditioning. And we begin to see like, Well, wait, how can I be? I'm a gay man, but I'm still homophobic. Like, is it? Like you're saying, like, you're a fat person?
Amber Karnes 40:26
Yeah, a fat person, but I'm fatphobic, I'm trained to be - Yeah,
Jivana Heyman 40:30
You know? And like, how does that impact not only my perception of myself, but also the way I see other people and the way I engage in the world, I think that kind of self, self, I don't know, reflection self study is what Yoga is for. And I actually think community also the ability to call each other out, or call each other in whenever you want to say, is what we're for. And hopefully, and it hurts. It's terrible. Like, I hate it. But I would say, that's how I learn and grow. So you can call me out nicely, please call me and I'm sure I've made mistakes. And you do actually, Amber. Thank you. I really appreciate it. I like you mentioned Kelley Palmer, like, she's always helping me, M Camelia. They always helped me with this. Like, it's I have lots of teachers in my life who are, yeah, helping me see myself, you know, and that's really awesome. All right. I think we should wrap it up. But I just don't know if anything else you want to say about this?
Amber Karnes 41:25
No, we can leave it there. Thanks for talking to me about this. Oh, maybe we should just give a little plug for the conference.
Jivana Heyman 41:33
Yeah, so the conference is coming up October 14 through 17th. We're starting with a pre conference intensive that is actually addressing this question of racism in the yoga community. It's actually a free live event. With an amazing panel of presenters. I can name them if you want. Amina Naru, Colin Lieu, Michelle Cassandra Johnson, Lakshmi Nair, Dr. Terry Harris, they're an amazing group, I really hope you could attend that. Again, it's free for anybody. And then of course, the whole conference begins that night on the 14th with the party with you a keynote address by Indu Aurora. And then like 50, amazing presenters. You know, that share in all aspects of accessibility and equity in yoga, so hope everyone can join us. And even if you can't be there, you can always sign up and watch the recording later. is too much to watch one weekend, so
Amber Karnes 42:31
Yeah, we can't do it all live. So work through it at your own pace. I think that's one of the really cool things about it being online. It's like, you know, at the regular conference, you got to like pick a track and the classes, it's like, you can have it all this way. Have it all? Yeah, and we have tiered pricing and scholarships are available. So we encourage everybody to check it out – accessibleyoga.org will get you there.
Jivana Heyman 42:56
Yes, no one will be turned away for lack of funds. We'll say it that way. Anyone can join us who wants to so please reach out about scholarships. And yeah, see you there. Amber. I'll see you at opening night. You're gonna hear in a DJ that party.
Amber Karnes 43:08
Yeah, we're gonna have a dance party again, my favorite. So okay, we'll see you there and the community.
Jivana Heyman 43:15
Right, and the community. All right. Take care, everybody. Bye, Amber. Bye.
Thanks for joining us for the Accessible Yoga podcast. We're so grateful to be in community with you.
Amber Karnes 43:27
Please check out our website accessibleyoga.org. To find out more about our upcoming programs, including our annual Accessible Yoga Conference. at our website. You can also learn more about how to become an Accessible Yoga Ambassador and support the work that we're doing in the world.
Jivana Heyman 43:41
Please subscribe to the podcast and leave us a review. Wherever you listen. We'd love to hear your thoughts.
Amber Karnes 43:46
You can also submit a question or suggest a topic or potential guests you'd like us to interview at accessibleyoga.org. See you next time!