Aug 2 • 1HR 33M

The Limits to Yoga – Carol Horton

Why practice doesn't automatically change us, or the world

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Daniel Simpson
Traditional wisdom for modern dilemmas, combining yoga philosophy with critical thinking and practical insights. Hosted by Daniel Simpson.
Episode details

How far can yoga heal “a deeply troubled society”? When Carol Horton published these words in 2012, she was optimistic, becoming immersed in “yoga service” work. But her experiences in the past decade have left her more sceptical.

As we explore in this wide-ranging chat, yoga can still be a helpful resource, but the extent to which it changes us depends on intentions – including an interest in seeing past blind spots. It’s also shaped by cultural context, so broader social and political trends sometimes get in the way of perceiving clearly.


It’s a longer conversation than usual, because we unpack what changed Carol’s mind in a series of transitions – from an academic job as a political scientist to becoming a yoga teacher, then stepping back from yoga to reflect on the world as “an independent writer interested in the intersection of politics, culture, and spirituality.”

Carol is the author of two Substack newsletters – one about politics, which looks at the problem of authoritarian “post-liberal progressivism”, and the other about yoga and related practices, sharing “inspiration for resilience, growth and renewal.” You can find out more about her yoga books here.

Our dialogue is also on YouTube and podcast platforms. If you’d like to discuss how yoga relates to worldly life, I’m running a retreat at the end of the month that explores this in depth – you can find out more here. For online courses, visit

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