Karina Chronicles

Frockstar™: Amber Karnes of ‘Body Positive Yoga’

Name: Amber Karnes
Age: 30
Location: the Virginia mountains
Online homes: blog (yoga & body image) // blog (my adventures) // twitter // pinterest

What are your every day, must-reads, online or off?
I love browsing through xoJane on the daily – they have a super lineup of writers who post about body image, fashion, beauty, feministy stuff, relationships, sex. It’s kinda my one-stop shop for inspiration and food for thought. Pinterest isn’t exactly “reading,” but I love it for visually digesting a lot of beautiful things in a short amount of time. I enjoy adding to my inspiration boards and keeping track of great things I find online. It’s good for my creative side.

I also subscribe to Dances with Fat and enjoy her daily rants and raves about health, exercise, and fat acceptance. Offline? Whatever’s on my nightstand. Right now I’m working my way through the Game of Thrones series. I love memoirs and biographies and can usually be found reading one of those too. I’m always reading something!

You’re a certified yoga teacher.  How has yoga changed your life?
Yoga has done wonders to transform my life – from the way I interact with others to how I treat my body on and off the mat. I have been able to make peace with my body through yoga, and see it as an ally instead of as an enemy or something to be punished and changed. It’s helped me respect and take care of the body I have today. Deciding that my imperfect, big body was worth self-care, love, and time has totally changed my outlook and my self-esteem.

How can people use yoga to reconnect with their bodies?
A surefire way to make yourself miserable is to live in the past or in some future fantasy in your head. You can stop making yourself miserable by coming to this moment. Being present. Staying.Try this experiment in staying present: stop what you are doing. Close your eyes. Start to notice your breath. What does your body feel like? Don’t tell a story about it, don’t judge it, just notice. What sensations are there? Give them a name. Do you feel a black, deep hole in your heart? Is your stomach on fire? Are there colors? Does it hurt? Do you actually notice that your body feels fine?

Breathe. Feel the feeling in your body. This feeling is not final. It will move through you. For me, almost every time I actually let the feeling in (not the memory, or the thought about the feeling, but the actual feeling in my body), it feels awful for a moment, but then almost immediately, it dissipates. It’s kind of magical.

If you could give your 16 year old self advice, what would you say?
I actually wrote a Letter to my Teenage Self. But to sum up: being smart and being different is cool, relish it. Don’t worry about boys. Dive into life and enjoy your body, you look amazing.

Your perfect day.  What would it look like?
I like full days – full of nourishing activities. Maybe something like: Wake without an alarm clock when the sun comes up. Take my dog outside and feel the morning sun on my skin. Move my body with a few sun salutations and twists. Cook breakfast for my husband and I. Enjoy a cup of espresso. Go outside and work in the garden for a bit (and stretch out afterward with a bit more yoga). Grab some water bottles and a snack and go on a hike in the gorgeous mountains. Visit the farmer’s market and grab some local produce. Take an afternoon nap. Cook a simple dinner from the stuff I got at the farmers market. Get in a little knitting time while listening to some podcasts or watching a movie with my husband. Early to bed!

Thanks for sharing, Amber!

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