Healing Charlotte Podcast: Kristine Kaoverii Weber, Yoga Ethics for Transforming Racism

On today’s episode, we meet with Kristine Kaoverii Weber, who created the program “Yoga Ethics for Transforming Racism” with Kiesha Battles. Kristine is an internationally recognized Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher trainer who has presented internationally and founder of the Subtle Yoga, the first training for behavioral health professionals in the country. Kristine has trained thousands of people around the world since 2003. Her journey with Yoga began in middle school when she joined the “Yoga Club” that one of her teacher’s provided. She remembers the transformational experience she had. Yoga continued to be a constant in her life when she moved to Washington, D.C to San Francisco, and on to Japan to teach English. From there, she was drawn to explore Yoga even more and decided to tour India for 2 years. After her experiences in Ashrams and with her teachers, she knew she had to share what she learned to those struggling with mental health upon returning to the States. Subtle Yoga was born in 2006 and in 2009, she began presenting at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville. Kristine is married to a Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist so many of their conversations have centered around the intersection of Yoga and Mental Health. Back then, Yoga wasn’t as trauma-informed as it is today and she found a niche in training Mental Health professional Yoga to bring to their clients. In 2012, she started her first 200-hour training that was also supported by a major continuing education provider. She continued to find how powerful it was to put Yoga training in the hands of professionals who were already trauma-informed and had strong ethics. It has been her mission to bring more professionalism to Yoga. She began offering courses online 2 years ago and her reach continues to broaden.

Kristine’s Subtle Yoga is accessible, person-centered, low-risk, and low-cost as an intervention. It can be applied in a therapy space, Yoga studio, gym, etc. One of her teacher’s, Gary Kraftsow(Viniyoga), has influenced her development of Subtle Yoga. There are lots of repeated poses and moving with the breath. Kristine thinks about sequencing poses in regards to the nervous system.

“I think about my sequencing in terms of where do we want to take the nervous system; do we want to go in the direction of energy and nourishment, do we need to stimulate the system a little bit, do we need to go in the direction of letting go and lightening or helping folx to feel more relaxed.”

Fast forward to 2016, Kristine was asked to speak at an Integrative Health Conference in Charlotte, NC right after Keith Lamont Scott was murdered. She found that no one was talking about the protests and what was happening right outside the conference. She decided to speak to social, economic, and environmental determinants of health that account for the majority of health outcomes.

“I’ve felt very passionate about social justice for a long time and I see it as intimately connected to the Yoga process.”

Earlier in 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum, Kristine reached out to Kiesha Battles, a former student of hers, and asked if she would be willing to collaborate on a course regarding racism as viewed from the lens of the Yamas and Niyamas, the yoga ethical principles.

“Where they really shine is when you operationalize them and you think about them in terms of a particular problem, in this case racism, and then really how do I use these ethics to take right action in the world?”

In her career, Kristine has been influenced by Gary Kraftsow, the founder of Viniyoga, Susan Andrews, a Yoga teacher in Brazil, Gabor Mate’s book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts,” Bessel Van Der Kolk’s book, “The Body Keeps the Score,” Barbara Frederickson’s book, “Love 2.0,” and her husband Brett Sculthorp. In Charlotte, Kristine is inspired by Kiesha Battles, a Yoga Instructor, Samantha Leonard of Davidson Yoga Therapy, Sherry Lyerly Tarner, of Pure Wellness and Healing, all of the owners of Yoga Studios navigating COVID-19, and Dr. Lisette Holland, a Physical Therapist.

Kristine wants to help others heal because she has received so much from Yoga and for her, there is no other choice but to give it back. Her advice to those seeking healing is to find a good therapist and trust yourself. Find more about her program, “Yoga Ethics for Transforming Racism.”

Available for download on Apple, Spotify, Google, TuneIn, and Stitcher.