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 practising 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 into 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?
“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 Kirsten
[21:01] Chara and Maria share more about ahimsa, yamas and niyamas and how they tie into our relation to others and ourselves.
“For me, my yoga has been a reminder of the way that I want to be in the world.” ~ Chara Caruthers
[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?
“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 Caruthers
[43:27] Why is it sometimes difficult to engage in productive conversations with people who have different perspectives from us?
“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 Caruthers
[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.
- Chara Caruthers
- Maria Kirsten
- Live Like You Love Yourself Podcast
- The Connected Yoga Teacher Podcast Episode 173: Social Justice, Politics & Yoga with Chara Caruthers and Maria Kirsten
- The Daily Podcast
- The Newsworthy Podcast
- The Conversation (Australia)
- Yogins United
Gratitude to our Sponsor Schedulicity.
These are the worst of times these are the best of times’…over and over the world and its happenings evolve…it must…change is a needed evolution of our world…
Wonder if a podcast including teachers living in united states with no place to go in the midst of this sad time would be of interest. We are in the nest..I think this podcast is viewing us from the other shore.
Regarding this podcast, I concur with the previous comment of Linda…as a citizen of the US and a native New Yorker, I found it interesting to have others (including an expat who never voted in the US) commenting on the situation in the US. Equanimity can be in need of addressing all over the world-the American situation is just the one in the forefront right now. On a more global front, we are all of the human race and in yoga, a look in to the sutras and yoga philosophy is how politics belongs in yoga or how yoga philosophy can bring light to one’s political views without even addressing what those views are in a class situation. Ahimsa, ahimsa ahimsa…sutra 2.34 can also be a source to enlightenment