About Accessible Yoga

Our Mission

Accessible Yoga believes that all people—regardless of ability or background—deserve equal access to yoga. Through education and advocacy, we share the teachings and benefits of yoga with those who have been marginalized.

Our Vision

We envision a world where everyone has access to the yoga teachings that offer individual empowerment and spiritual awakening. We identify and remove barriers to access, build strong networks, and advocate for an accessible, equitable, and dynamic yoga culture.

Accessible Yoga is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization

Meet Our Board of Directors

Amber Karnes – Board President

Amber Karnes (she/her) is a yoga teacher trainer, ruckus maker, the founder of Body Positive Yoga, and a lifelong student of her body. Amber trains yoga teachers and movement educators how to create accessible and equitable spaces for liberation and belonging. She also creates community for folks who want to build unshakable confidence and learn to live without shame or apology in the bodies they have today. Amber is the co-creator of Yoga For All Teacher Training and the Accessible Yoga School, president of the Accessible Yoga Association board of directors, and a sought-after contributor on the topics of accessibility, authentic marketing, culture-shifting, and community-building. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland. You can find her on Instagram at @amberkarnesofficial.

Anjali Rao – Vice President

Anjali Rao (she/her) is a yoga educator, an activist deeply interested in sharing the ancient wisdom of yoga in service to the challenges of the times. She brings an intersectional lens in integrating yoga philosophy and history, with storytelling, imagery and poetry. She is an Indian American immigrant, a cancer survivor, a faculty member of YTTs and offers a course on Yoga and Activism in Accessible Yoga Training School. She believes that a dedicated practice of yoga in all it’s expansiveness can alchemize and heal the world by creating ripples of change within and around us. She is an aspiring writer, VP of the Board of Accessible Yoga. She is a lifelong student of Classical Dance, loves chocolate, books, old trees, the ocean and napping with her rescue pup, Hershey.

Colin Lieu – Treasurer

Colin Lieu (he/him) is a nurturer who works with young people to help them better connect with themselves and block out the noise in order to realize their full potential. Colin is the Founding Dean of Wellness at Creo College Prep. He founded Multitasking Yogi in 2017 as a platform to bring the tools of mindfulness and self-care to vastly diverse spaces and populations: teaching at public schools; leading educator professional development workshops; servicing community events; self-publishing the picture book "Phoenix's First: An Introduction to Mindful Breathing"; and speaking at events. No matter what we are juggling, there is a Multitasking Yogi in all of us and his launch of Multitasking Yogi School (MY School) is an innovative way to nurture the next generation of wellness leaders. High school juniors and seniors already taking Multitasking Yogi classes have the opportunity to be placed on a specialized track to complete a Yoga Alliance 95-hr Registered Children's Yoga Teacher certification and become their community's next generation yoga teacher. He is a member of the Board of Directors and Treasurer for Accessible Yoga Foundation.

Ashley J. Williams – Secretary

Ashley Williams (she/her), MS, C-IAYT, is a Yoga Therapist and Mindfulness Educator with 12 years’ experience in the fields of education, behavioral and mental health and community programming in Richmond, VA. As a builder and weaver, she bridges mindfulness, diversity, wellness and inclusion on micro and macro-levels to achieve equitable, socially stable and conscious spaces for individual and collective care. She is the Founder of BareSOUL Yoga & Wellness, a community-based organization initially created to offer accessible yoga offerings, and Mindful on Life, a curriculum-based program dedicated to transforming community through the practice of mindful-restorative based education. As an advocate for diverse representation, accessible self-care and overall well-being, she has strategically built community-centered yoga and mindfulness programs in schools, health systems, government agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses. Ashley continues to create spaces that offer mindful-based living practices to encourage self-exploration, awareness, authenticity and build community for the collective good. Her current venture is the Well Collective, a community space for conscious well-being that centers intergenerational healing modalities, contemplative practices, wellness workshops, and local, black-sourced apothecary located in historic Shockoe Bottom, Richmond, Va.

Mary Medellin-Sims

Mary Medellin-Sims (she/her) is deeply passionate and committed to health equity and social justice. She believes that ALL human beings deserve equal access to health. Mary has two decades of experience working with individuals with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities in various capacities from direct care, administration, supervision, advocacy and natural support. With her passion and service in mind, Guided by Humanity was formed in 2017. Guided By Humanity is a non-profit yoga and wellness organization that serves everyBODY and everyABILITY with their pay as you can model. Mary also serves on the Board of Directors for ‘The Wayfaring Band’, ‘Accessible Yoga’, and ‘Sana Yoga’. She is an experienced 500 HR Registered Yoga Teacher with a Bachelors of Art degree and is a Certified Nursing Assistant. Mary has additional training in Grief Support, Adaptive Yoga, Accessible Yoga, Yoga for the Special Child, Trauma-Informed Yoga, Restorative and Yin Yoga.

Tristan Katz – Programming Committee Chair

Tristan Katz (they/them) is a writer, digital strategist, and equity-inclusion facilitator based on the ancestral land of the Cowlitz and Clackamas peoples and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde and Siletz Indians, now known as Portland, OR.

Tristan offers justice-focused marketing programs for yoga and wellness professionals, along with workshops, trainings, and consulting centered around queer identity and transgender awareness with an anti-oppression and intersectional lens.

Their podcast, ALL THE F*CK IN: Showing up for social justice in your work, is a collaboration with Lauren Roberts, featuring conversations about all things business and entrepreneurship—from a radical perspective that says we don’t have to choose between social justice values and being successful.

Tristan was named one of Yoga Journal’s 2021 Game Changers and they were awarded the Reclamation Ventures grant in Spring 2021 to expand their offerings and dedicate time to writing their first book, title forthcoming.

They are proud to sit on the Board of Directors at Accessible Yoga—a non-profit working, through education and advocacy, to share the teachings and benefits of yoga with those who have been marginalized, and to identify and remove barriers to access, build strong networks, and advocate for an accessible, equitable, and dynamic yoga culture.

Sarani Beth Fedman

Sarani Beth Fedman (she/her) is a yoga teacher and therapist in the Integral Yoga tradition, and activist.

As a mother and grandmother and teacher of many students through the years, she finds herself working for justice and equanimity in the world in their honor.

Patrice Priya Wagner

Patrice Priya Wagner (she/her), RYT500, C-IAYT. Priya trained in Integral Yoga and has taught people with disabilities since 2008.

She is on the Board of Directors of the Accessible Yoga Association (AYA) and has presented or assisted in AYA’s conferences held in New York City, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and online.

She currently offers classes for people with Multiple Sclerosis in Oakland, California, and brings to her teaching a focus on pranayama and meditation.

Reggie Hubbard

Reggie Hubbard (he/him) is a certified yoga and meditation teacher and the founder/chief serving officer of Active Peace Yoga. His yoga and meditation practice have served as a sanctuary of peace and perspective while navigating the stresses of being a black man in the world and serving in pressure filled jobs at the height of politics. He began practicing yoga under extreme emotional distress at work and now shares his practice to all walks of life in service to helping people navigate this thing called life with more peace and ease.

Through Active Peace Yoga, he offers asana and meditation classes to help others nurture peace of mind, creativity, equanimity in spirit and physical health - helping people nurture well-being as foundational, rather than an afterthought. Reggie has taught Members of Congress, Congressional Staff, major labor unions, leading progressive organizations and individuals from all walks of life - simple tools for managing stress and bringing peace to mind, body and spirit. Reducing stress and taking better care of ourselves is a key to enhancing workplace safety, managing work/life balance and improving our quality of life.

In addition to his yoga teaching practice, Reggie has held many senior strategic and logistical roles across a variety of fields, ranging from global marketing, digital and community organizing, government relations, international education to Presidential campaigning. . He recently left a senior position as a leading progressive political strategist to devote more time to his personal practices and how to share them with others in these challenging times to allow more people to live with more peace of mind.

Reggie's life work sits at the intersection of bringing more peace and balance to activists; guiding the wellness community toward being more engaged, concerned citizens; and, enhancing the well-being of all walks of life. Achieving this balance is how we catalyze transformative change in our society, which we are desperately in need of at this moment.

He received a B.A. in philosophy from Yale University and an MBA in international strategy from the Vlerick Business School in Belgium.

Ryan McGraw

Ryan McGraw (he/him) approaches every class with the belief that everyone can do yoga. As a person with cerebral palsy who has been practicing yoga for 15 years, Ryan is well aware that yoga poses can be adapted to meet the needs of the student, no matter what their ability level is. Ryan earned his 200-hour yoga teaching certificate in 2011 and has completed two adaptive yoga teacher training with Matthew Sanford. Ryan received his Master’s Degree in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago, in 2013. For his Master’s Thesis, Ryan created an adapted yoga manual for people with disabilities. He has written about his yoga experience in Yoga and Body Image, a collection of essays from people who are not the average yoga practitioner and recently published an article in Yoga International why it is essential to teach accessible yoga in 200 hour teacher training courses. As a member of the disability community who has worked in the disability advocacy field for 12 years, Ryan advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.

Amina Naru

Amina Naru (she/her) is the founder of Posh Yoga, Co-founder of Retreat to Spirit, a Usui reiki master, trauma-sensitive yoga instructor, and chair of the Race and Equity Consortium in Yoga, with a specialty in providing yoga and mindfulness programs to incarcerated youth and adults. Amina is an active member on the board of directors for the international nonprofit, Accessible Yoga Association and serves on the board of directors for Bmore Empowered INC, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering women and girls of color through mindfulness and entrepreneurship in Baltimore City, Maryland.

She is the former executive director of the national nonprofit organization, Yoga Service Council, and served three terms as secretary for the YSC Board of Directors. Amina is a contributing author to the books Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans (YSC/Omega, 2016) and Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System (YSC/Omega, 2017). She worked as the project manager and contributor for Yoga and Resilience: Empowering Practices for Survivors of Sexual Trauma (Handspring 2020) and the Best Practices for Yoga with People in Addictions and Recovery Symposium at the Omega Institute. She also served as Executive Director of the nonprofit Empowered Community in Wilmington, DE, and is the first black woman to implement curriculum-based yoga and mindfulness programs for juvenile detention centers in the state of Delaware.

Amina has been featured in the books Yoga Revolution by Jivana Heyman, Yoga Radicals by Allie Middleton, and Restorative Yoga for Ethnic and Race-Based Stress and Trauma, by Dr. Gail Parker. She has also been featured in Yoga Journal, Yoga Therapy Today, and the J. Brown and Yoga Alliance podcasts. Amina Naru’s yoga service work is deeply informed by her studies with master teachers Johnny Gillespie of Empowered Yoga, James Fox of Prison Yoga Project, B.K. Bose of the Niroga Institute, Nikki Myers of Y12SR, and Jennifer Cohen Harper of Little Flower Yoga.

Jacquie “Sunny” Barbee

Jacquie “Sunny” Barbee (she/her) is an E-RYT 200/500 RYT yoga teacher living in the Panhandle of Florida. Sunny practices asana in an aging, plus sized body with chronic illness and is able to help others with similar issues find safer and more enjoyable ways to customize their practice and connect to their own bodies. She loves leading gentle yoga and seated chair yoga classes at senior centers, rehab facilities and working with veterans. She is certified in Accessible Yoga; Yoga for All Bodies; Mind Body Solutions; and Yin Yoga.

Meet Our Staff

Jivana Heyman – Director

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 Training 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. For more information head to www.jivanaheyman.com

Brina Lord – General Manager

Brina Lord (she/her) is the General Manager of Accessible Yoga Association. She holds a 200-hr yoga teacher certificate from Integral Yoga Institute NYC, where she also served as staff in various roles of administration for several years. She has specialty training in Accessible Yoga and Kidding Around Yoga and taught yoga to preschool through middle aged kids in New York City’s public school system. Before moving to New York, Brina worked in Chicago as a Stage Manager for multiple non-profit theatre companies who focused on the intersection of art and social justice.

Tan Hubbard – Social Media Manager & AYA Studio Manager

Tanisha, or Tan (they/she) is a caregiver, movement instructor, facilitator and aspiring activist. While the physical practice of yoga is what drew them to the mat, it was the calling of something deeper that led to the decision to complete a YTT. The introduction of the 8-limbed path during training was the starting point of their curiosity of the intersection of yoga and social justice. Forever a student of the practice, Tan is always eagerly seeking out spaces where crucial conversations around accessible wellness and movement are being held. This includes completing workshops and trainings for Yoga For 12-Step Recovery, Accessible Yoga, and Skill in Action. In the summer of 2021, they wrote their first published blog post for Accessible Yoga Blog on caregiving and how it relates to Yoga as a practice. They believe in empowering others to disrupt the narratives and stories that uplift perfectionism and hyper-productivity. In movement classes, expect practices that encourage individual healing, as self love and care is a part of collective liberation.

Garrett Jurss – Ambassador Coordinator & Podcast Manager

Garrett Jurss (he/him) serves as the Ambassador Community Coordinator and editor and producer of the Accessible Yoga Podcast. He believes that yoga is a practice of self- and collective liberation and holistic way of living that unifies our mind, body, and Spirit so that we may be in service of the greater good.

Garrett seeks to create spaces for people to slow down, invite in curiosity, and explore new possibilities. With a focus on our interconnectedness, Garrett is committed to sharing practices that help people care for themselves and their communities. He firmly believes that if you’re breathing, then you can practice yoga, and he is passionate about sharing yoga in an accessible way by offering different options and variations for folks to explore what feels best in their bodies.

Outside of sharing yoga, Garrett enjoys spending time with his partner, Sean, and their dog Bagel. He is also a backyard gardener and beekeeper, and he loves spending time in nature.

M Camellia – Blog Editor

M Camellia (they/them) is a yoga teacher and advocate, called to create profoundly accessible spaces for self-inquiry by integrating mindfulness and adaptive movement practices with the spirit of social justice. They believe that the goal of yoga, as of life, is collective liberation and in turn challenge contemporary yoga practitioners to dismantle the systems and beliefs that hold us all back.

Melanie teaches group and private classes in the Washington DC Metro Area and as a Founding Instructor on the online class platform Core to Coeur. They offer regular workshops exploring queer identity, body image, and agency. Beyond their direct work with students, Melanie co-leads the Yoga & Body Image Coalition and trains teachers in accessible teaching methods for all bodies and abilities through their one-on-one teacher mentorship program and as an Accessible Yoga Trainer, and manages operations for Accessible Yoga Trainings internationally. They’ve been called a “tour-de-force of encouraging radical self-love” (DC Refined) and listed among the “top thinkers and activists in the field of body positivity” (OmStars). Melanie lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with their two cats, Matcha and Chai.

Robyn Bell – Programs Manager

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.