1- In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you.
I’m Cara (they/them or she/her) and I’m queer, fat, neurodivergent and living with an invisible disability. That beautiful intersection makes me passionate about making the world kinder and more accessible for everyone. I also spent a long time not feeling good in my body because the world we live in isn’t really made for me. Through a lot of work I came to a place of peace with my body and once I found that place, it became important to me to share that with other people who might be struggling with a world that isn’t made for them either.
2- What inspired you, if any, to join the Warrior Flow 200-Hour Yoga Training’s faculty?
For me, the diversity of the faculty and the diversity of the teachings was irresistible. A 200hr YTT that moves so far beyond the physical postures and into a more whole person view is exactly the yoga community I want to be part of.
3- In simple words, what does yoga mean to you?
Yoga is about how I show up in the world. It guides me to show up with a strong sense of self, along with an awareness of both how small and how large I am within the Universe. Yoga tries to teach me to be present in each moment (still working on this one) and that each day is an opportunity to practice love and compassion towards myself and others. Beyond that, my yoga practice challenges me to grow as a person; to unlearn the toxicity of the systems of oppression that as a person living on Turtle Island I have been indoctrinated into and find ways to work towards justice and equity for those who have and continue to be oppressed within these systems.
4- What is the main difference between learning yoga now and when you took your first yoga training?
I believe yoga is moving towards a far deeper understanding of the practice now. When I was first introduced to yoga it was entirely based in the physical practice and now, while that focus on the physical is still the introduction to yoga for many people – I see far more work to bring the deeper practices into the forefront, which can only be for the better.
5- In your opinion, why is this a key moment in time to learn yoga?
The stressors of modern life and the challenges we are currently facing in our world can be truly difficult to manage on a personal level. Yoga teaches us a wide range of skills that can help us navigate these challenges. Yoga offers us a chance to become better versions of ourselves, and the more people who move through these personal transformations, the more hope I have that the world can transform into a better place for us all.
6- Who would you be without yoga?
I genuinely don’t know. Yoga has taught me courage, persistence, and acceptance. When I look back over the 15+ years that I have been practicing yoga, I can see how my yoga practice has impacted the choices I have made in and for my life.
7- Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are today?
Outside of the world of yoga, I have to say Terry Fox. His Marathon of Hope has had a defining influence on my life. He taught me about resilience, belief, commitment and service. Within yoga, I have to say Dianne Bondy has been an incredible role model and mentor for me. Not only has Dianne taught me about how to guide physical classes in a more inclusive, adaptive way, but she has shown me how to show up in the world authentically and with compassion, at the same time as standing firmly in my beliefs on equity and justice for all people.
Interestingly, the question of what pushed me to learn and become who I am has more to do with people who failed me. People who were likely doing their best, but had no idea how to connect with or teach someone like me.
8- What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
The biggest roadblock I have faced and continue to face is the perception of fat people within our culture. It took years of work to divest myself of these limiting beliefs, and even having moved through them for myself, I still face them daily. The wide-ranging stigma that fat people face every single day in every single environment can be magnified in communities that focus on well-being like yoga. I experience employers who do not believe I am able to teach because of my weight, and even if they believe I can teach, they may still refuse to hire me because I don’t “look the part”. I experience students who do not believe I can teach them because of my weight. I have limited access to proper clothes and equipment because producers don’t consider what people who are fat might need. I face harassment in public spaces in which I share my practice due to my weight.
9- What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
The only answer I have is kindness. I know it isn’t enough, but it is all I have. Kindness to ourselves. Kindness to others. Kindness to the planet.