Get reliable, trustworthy education and action around issues of equity in yoga
Accessible Yoga School
More people are seeking out yoga than ever before.
But there's a clear lack of access to reliable, trustworthy education around issues of equity in yoga.
And in response, the wellness industry has done as markets tend to do when they see the potential of profit: by commodifying culture, centering whiteness, and catering to wealth.
As a result, most people don’t feel welcome or safe showing up at a yoga studio or going into a yoga class.
But yoga can - and should - be an accessible, equitable, and liberatory community of practice.
The yoga teachings emphasize our interconnectedness. But dominant yoga culture continues to mirror the dynamics of our society: systemic white supremacy, inaccessibility, and rampant gatekeeping. And while fantastic, diverse, socially-conscious yoga educators do exist, their voices and perspectives continue to be under-represented and under-platformed.
As a yoga community, we believe that we all can know better and do better.
Through combining the ancient wisdom of the yoga teachings with modern practice that takes yoga philosophy off the mat, we can start to make change from within. From there, as a vibrant community of practice, we can be the change we want to see in the world.
About Accessible Yoga School
The Accessible Yoga School was founded in the summer of 2020 by Jivana Heyman and Amber Karnes. This online school will:
- Address gatekeeping in yoga by platforming the voices of underestimated and marginalized teachers
- Address issues of white supremacy in yoga in all of its manifestations: racism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, fatphobia, cultural appropriation, and more
- Provide quality education around equity issues in yoga, including practical tools from trustworthy sources to inform your teaching practice
- Offer this education in an even more accessible format: 100% online
The Accessible Yoga School will bring you in-depth courses, mentorship programs, study groups, book clubs, and more, led by yoga educators from communities who embody and share the values of interconnectedness and liberation that are the heart of yoga’s teachings.
What they're saying
“The Accessible Yoga Training helped me to discover the truth: that yoga is all about liberation. My 200-YTT was great for learning how to teach asana but it was white washed and the studio owners demanded we be apolitical. This training helped reawaken my understanding of yoga a vehicle for social justice.”
- Marc Settembrino
“I'd recommend the Accessible Yoga Training to a friend because I think that in order to fully practice yoga - as student and teacher - we have to come to terms with the reality that our own bodies are temporary and ever shifting vessels, AND we have to create spaces that are welcoming of everyone.”
Meet the Team
Jivana Heyman (he/him), C-IAYT, E-RYT500, is the founder and director of the Accessible Yoga Association, an international non-profit organization dedicated to increasing access to the yoga teachings. He’s the author of two books, Accessible Yoga: Poses and Practices for Every Body, and Yoga Revolution: Building a Practice of Courage & Compassion (Shambhala Publications).
Jivana coined the phrase, “Accessible Yoga,” over ten years ago, and it has now become the standard appellation for a large cross section of the immense yoga world.
He brought the Accessible Yoga community together for the first time in 2015 for the Accessible Yoga Conference, which has gone on to become a focal point for this movement. Jivana is also the creator of the Accessible Yoga Training and the co-founder of the online Accessible Yoga School with Amber Karnes, which is a platform for continued education for yoga teachers in the field of equity and accessibility. They also created the Accessible Yoga Podcast in 2020.
Over the past 25 years, Jivana has led countless yoga teacher training programs around the world, and dedicates his time to supporting yoga teachers who are working to serve communities that are under-represented in traditional yoga spaces.
Robyn Bell (they/them), is an accessible yoga teacher, an adept community builder, and the founder of Kind Yoga. They create affirming, adaptive spaces where practitioners of all ages, genders, shapes, sizes, and abilities can gather to explore supportive yoga practices and be celebrated for simply showing up as their full, authentic selves.
Robyn has a background in remedial massage and has been teaching yoga since 2013. They have been nurtured over the years by their teachers Rachel Zinman, Aesha Kennedy, Chloe Thorogood, and their treasured mentor Maria Kirsten, and have completed further study with international accessible yoga pioneers Jivana Heyman, Dianne Bondy, and Amber Karnes. Their teaching has also inspired by many members of the extended Accessible Yoga community.
They have been described by friends and colleagues as rigorously open-minded and open-hearted, deeply compassionate, and enthusiastic about bringing joy and delight to the practice of yoga. Robyn currently lives in rural Victoria, Australia and offers gentle Hatha-style, chair, and restorative yoga classes which center inclusion and accessibility, both online and in-person.
Rashidah Ali (they/them) is a writer, yoga and meditation teacher, parent, creative, studying doula and lactation counselor. Rashidah works for the Accessible Yoga School and the AccessibleYoga Association as a Social Media manager and Archivist. They are presently living on the indigenous land of Bulbancha where they reside with their partner and toddler.
Rashidah moves through the world as a queer trans nonbinary Black human navigating grief, neurodivergence, invisibilized disabilities, and chronic pain. These identities inform their practice.
Rashidah has been studying mindfulness and yoga since 2015 as they hold over 400 hours in training with focus in anatomy, prenatal yoga, yin yoga and meditation. Rashidah has been guiding yoga classes since 2016 with a sense of adaptability, deep care and encouragement of exploration and curiosity within one’s personal practice. They currently sit on the Board of directors for the Interdependence Project as a gender inclusion advocate.
In the fall of 2020 Rashidah's practice cracked wide open when they came into the knowledge of the intersection of Yoga and Social Justice by studying with teachers Michelle Cassandra Johnson (she/her), Tristan Katz (they/he) and Oneika Mays (she/her). Rashidah has always centered connection, unlearning, equanimity and dismantling perfectionism when showing up within their community of loved ones and within their workplaces. They have held space for supportive listening, energetic prayer, group yoga classes, private meditation sessions, and uncomfortable conversations that integrate compassion in action. Presently Rashidah is not teaching as they focus on their birthwork studies.
M Camellia (they/them) is a yoga teacher, writer, consent educator, and advocate, called to create profoundly accessible spaces for self-inquiry. They believe that the goal of yoga is collective liberation and challenge contemporary yoga practitioners to dismantle the systems and beliefs that hold us all back.
M is a co-founder of the Trans Yoga Project and serves on the staff of Accessible Yoga, among other roles within the realm of yoga service. Their teaching and writing often center Queer and Trans* identity, consent and agency, fat liberation, and disability justice in relation to yoga philosophy and practice, and they serve as a mentor for other yoga teachers and practitioners desiring to deepen their understanding of accessibility, trauma, and yoga as social justice.
M lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with two cat companions, Matcha and Chai, and regularly teaches online and in the Washington DC Metro area.
Amber Karnes, Co-Founder
Amber Karnes (she/her) co-founded the Accessible Yoga School with Jivana Heyman. She has since stepped back to work on other projects.
Learn more about Amber's work:
Website | Instagram | Accessible Yoga Association
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