023. Creating Solidarity & Building Community

Season #1 Episode #23

In Episode 23 Amber Karnes sits down with Karin Carlson, yoga teacher, community advocate, and founder of Return Yoga. Through Return Yoga’s teacher training program and community outreach, Karin and other local teachers work in domestic violence shelters, jails, youth crisis centers, mental health contexts, and substance abuse treatment centers. Karin and Amber jump into a conversation about the ways white folks do harm when they rush to diversify their studios without actually understanding or investigating the problem. Karin shares quite candidly about her experience of charity versus solidarity and the ways it continues to cause harm in under-resourced communities. This conversation invites us all to consider how we build truly authentic communities, sustainable movements for change, and work in solidarity with communities outside of our own.

This week we explore:


  • How activism was ignited in her home city of Minneapolis and exposed harm from the local yoga community and a lack of awareness about the role white folks in those spaces should play in community care
  • How harm occurs when we rush to “fix” a problem in a community we are not apart of and do not fully understand the problem and our role to play in coming up with solutions
  • The importance of understanding the difference between solidarity and charity 
  • How the yoga community still focuses on the business of making money instead of equitable solutions and real shifts in culture
  • The importance of learning to sit with discomfort, grief and other strong feelings, especially for white people
  • How the attention once focused on social change have shifted and lost momentum as the pandemic continues
  • The importance of understanding how “whiteness” causes harm to BIPOC communities around this country 
  • How important it is to ask “How can I be of service?” and listen to the answer from the communities we wish to serve
  • How Karin went about creating a community to share this practice with through authenticity and honoring her lineage
  • How Karin developed her “Anti 200 Hour” program
  • How the pandemic is going to permanently shift how yoga and yoga teacher trainings are being offered
  • How Karin has been able to develop community connection in virtual spaces