The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast
203: Do Politics Belong in Yoga? with Chara Caruthers & Maria Kirsten
Politics can be a sensitive and divisive topic, and we may avoid talking about it even with our most trusted friends and family because it is often controversial or uncomfortable to talk about. However, in light of the current political and social landscape, it is important for us to be aware, informed, and engaged - and our yoga can influence that. Chara Caruthers and Maria Kirsten are back on the podcast to share their insights about yoga and politics, and how to navigate the current political and social climate through the lens of yoga.
Chara Caruthers is a registered yoga teacher (Yoga Alliance E RYT-500) and certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT) who has been practicing yoga since 1993. She is the founder of Bliss Body & Soul, where she offers ayurveda Courses, workshops, and an Ayurvedic living Community, in addition to her work as a wellness coach. Maria Kirsten has been teaching accessible yoga to grownups and beginners since 2000. She is the founder of Yoga for Grownups, and is committed to principles of inclusion and to making yoga safe and accessible for everyone. Maria also does work in the area of yoga for mental health and yoga therapy. Together, Chara and Maria host the Live Like You Love Yourself Podcast, where they discuss how to live, age, parent, and “grow up” in a way that feels balanced and authentic.
How does your yoga inform your politics? Chara and Maria share their insights about where yoga and politics intersect sometimes in some surprising ways, and how the foundations and philosophies of yoga really ties in to all aspects of our lives. In these tumultuous times where we still have to continue in life with yoga classes to teach, and people looking towards us as community leaders and for guidance, Chara and Maria shed light on how we can find a balance between yoga and politics.
[5:25] Shannon introduces her guests for this episode - Chara Caruthers and Maria Kirsten.
[6:59] What is the work that Maria and Chara do?
[9:55] Shannon shares a bit of context for the interview.
[11:31] Where do Chara and Maria live and how do they vote?
[13:48] How do politics, voting and yoga go together?
[21:01] Chara and Maria share more about ahimsa, yamas and niyamas and how they tie into our relation to others and ourselves.
[24:11] How are Chara and Maria bringing these topics into their classes?
[29:21] Where does the discomfort come from for yoga teachers who are trying not to be political?
[35:02] Politics can wind us up a bit. How do we find the balance between taking action but also taking a pause?
[43:27] Why is it sometimes difficult to engage in productive conversations with people who have different perspectives from us?
[46:00] How can you stay informed without getting overly triggered, particularly by social media or the news?
[51:07] Check out the Live Like You Love Yourself Podcast to hear more from Chara and Maria.
[51:28] What is Yogins United?
[53:15] Conversations are a powerful medium to share ideas.
[55:39] Chara and Maria share some closing thoughts.
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity.
Quotes from this episode:
"I think yoga has a huge role in politics because it empowers people to sense what's right and good and safe and comfortable and what sits well with them." - Maria
"For me, my yoga has been a reminder of the way that I want to be in the world." - Chara
"Being human is a practice, and as part of that practice we have to be willing to engage with the world around us because it defines who we are and who we can be." - Chara
"It is our responsibility to ourselves and to our communities who we are a part of, who we are in constant relationship with, to take action, to be in action." - Chara