020. How Chair Yoga Democratizes Asana Practice

Season #1 Episode #20

In Episode 20 Amber Karnes and Jivana Heyman sit to talk about chair yoga and how it can be used as a tool to democratize asana practice. We begin with a conversation about how lineage and “guru culture” are shifting as abuse is being revealed. Jivana and Amber also talk about the way dominant culture conflates health and wellness as a basis for a human being’s worth and value. They each share about the ways that this belief keeps folks from understanding the potential of chair yoga and creates more ableism in our yoga spaces. The conversation also talks in depth about how chair yoga can be used to serve folks in diverse bodies who have different needs from the physical practice.


This week we explore:


  • How the end of “Guru culture” through the revealing of ongoing abuse is shifting yoga culture
  • How we continue to have a collective focus on extreme physical asana 
  • How Amber thinks about her learning lineage in yoga
  • How Jivana thinks about his Guru and lineage
  • How toxic diet culture and dominant culture have influenced who we see as an expert or “yoga celebrity” 
  • How props like chairs are still seen as less than in mainstream yoga spaces
  • How we uphold health as the basis for value in others, on and off of the mat
  • How the sutras talk about our care, feelings and thought about our bodies
  • The importance of creating right relationship with our body and spirit through acceptance
  • How to easy use a chair to make the other limbs of the practice accessible to anyone
  • How the chair can be used as a prop to support postures, making them more accessible

This week’s question: 

What is the right relationship with your body?