Carol Horton, PhD is a writer, educator and activist. She works at the intersection of mindful yoga, social science, and social justice. Carol serves as Vice President of the Yoga Service Council and was a co-founder of Chicago’s Socially Engaged Yoga Network. In her desire to make yoga accessible to all she has taught yoga in underprivileged areas such as Chicago’s Cook County Jail, a drop-in centre for homeless women, a residential foster care facility, and a community health centre.
Shannon asked Carol Horton to be a guest on The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast after reading Carol’s thoughtful blog post called Yoga: Beyond the BS. Carol discusses the negativity surrounding yoga, especially in social media. She brings up the shadow side of yoga, such as the commercialization and commodification of yoga, with the intention of being critical in a balanced fashion. It is her wish that yoga teachers employ honesty and discernment as they navigate the yoga world.
From Carol’s first yoga class in a church basement to her profound healing and spiritual experiences while practising, it is clear yoga has meant a lot to her. Carol doesn’t believe that yoga culture needs to be taken down with critique but rather respectful discussions in conjunction with work so there is power behind the discourse. Carol believes in supporting and nurturing the good and calling out the bad so we don’t lose the teachers that can make profound changes in the lives of others.
[7:25] How Carol got started in yoga and how it evolved into her current work
[11:55] Difficult childbirth was a profound experience in Carol’s life that shifted her perspective on yoga and saw the importance of trauma-informed yoga
[15:00] Lying in savasana and slipping into a “spark of consciousness”
[19:30] What led Carol to write the blog post Yoga: Beyond the BS
[26:10] Problematic aspects of online discussions, social media as a culturally powerful medium and online bullies
[30:25] When Carol thought about walking away from yoga and why she didn’t
[35:00] The positive and negative response to Carol’s blog post
[38:50] Is there a place yoga teachers can go to for fruitful discussions?
[41:30] Carol’s editing work for the book: “Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System”
[43:40] Carol’s desire to see healthcare (including yoga) accessible to all; working with those in homeless shelters, foster homes, prisons and more to help those who’ve experienced trauma to heal
[52:10] How to contact Carol
[53:50] Shannon’s final thoughts
Blog Post: Yoga: Beyond the BS
Book: Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System Editor: Carol Horton PhD
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