July Teacher Feature: Carol Ciaravino

Posted By O2 Yoga on Jun 28, 2017 in O2 Yoga Blog |

Teaching at O2 Since: 2007

Carol’s Thoughts on Props Month: “I find props to be very useful in several ways. The props we generally use are blocks, a strap, the wall, and occasionally a partner. They can facilitate proper alignment. For example, block under your hand in ardha chandrasana. They also can provide support or a reference point that allow you to enter a deeper version of a pose and build strength for the full pose. For example, half-handstand on the wall. I sometimes observe that more experienced students will avoid props unless specifically cued. Remember blocks are you friend and may give insight into the true nature of the pose.”

Carol’s Current Teaching Schedule:


12pm Saturdays – Basics

10:30am Sundays – Intermediate



Four years into her eighteen year practice, Carol discovered O2 Yoga in a roundabout way.  After taking yoga as an adult education class that lead to yoga-at-the-gym, she decided she wanted to go on a retreat, somewhere warm, preferably.  That’s when she stumbled across O2’s retreat at Maya Tulum in Tulum, Mexico.  “I figured I could check [O2] out because they were local,” Carol said, adding, “I went to one class and then signed on.  I’ve been to every retreat since.”  In fact, January 2018 will be her fifteenth time on the trip, and she’s gotten to be on the teaching staff twice.  “Tulum is a magical place, kind of a summer camp for adults and some strong bonds with other O2 peeps have been forged there over the years,” Carol said, also recalling that the first year of the trip when Mimi, who she’d actually met for the first time when they were in Mexico, was six months pregnant with Dylan and still popping up into forearm stands.  “I was enthralled,” Carol said.

Her passion for the O2-style practice only blossomed after that blissful week in Tulum and she never looked back.  With thirty years of experience working as a clinical social worker and trained psychoanalyst (now retired), Carol believes in therapy as a path to transformation and change, though it’s not always an easy road.  “Yoga is another such path and one that usually leaves students feeling good,” she said, happy to share her passion for the practice with others, now as a teacher.  “I decided to do O2 teacher training after a number of years of immersion in and commitment to the O2 community.  It seemed like a natural progression,” Carol said, remembering how our 200-Hour Teacher Training Program used to be structured in week-long segments spread out over the course of a year.  When Carol did TT in 2007, it was still held at the original O2 Yoga in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (now we hold the training in our Cambridge Studio location).  “Even though I didn’t know Mimi that well at the time, she invited me to camp at her home and that was my introduction to the unique and inspiring Carpenter clan,” she said.  Carol experienced what many of us who’ve spent a lot of time in the O2 World: that Mimi’s kindness, generosity, and all-around beautiful spirit has given us all a sense of home.

As a teacher, Carol’s sequences are designed to remind students about the foundations of the practice, driving home the importance of savoring the transitions and spending as much time focusing on “the spaces in between” as the poses themselves.  Carol will remind you not to rush through your chatturanga-to-up dog.  She’ll ask you to think about where your weight is being distributed in your palms in down dog.  She’ll get you to slow down, to move through the sequence without rushing.  The buildup to that fancy arm balance is just as necessary if not more so than the full pose you’re working towards.  Carol is as methodical and practical in her approach to sequencing as she is creative and visual.  As one of our senior teachers involved in assisting with Teacher Training, Carol’s “Sequence Binder” has become rather famous for its detail and organization.  The care and thoughtfulnO2-7ess that goes into each of Carol’s classes results in a truly wonderful experience for students of all levels.

It only makes sense that a teacher who found her way to us via our Maya Tulum retreat would offer a calm, collected, compassionate voice in our O2 community.  Carol, we’re so happy you wanted to “do yoga some place warm” all those years ago.  Taking class with you is just like having our toes in the sand, an inviting stretch of ocean holding our gaze, ready to stay in this moment and love it for all it has to offer.



What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from Mimi?

“If you tell someone to do something, give them a reason.  If you are going to give constructive criticism, give two positives for every negative one.  There are many lessons she’s taught me, but the most important one has been by her example as she has faced major challenges in her own life in the last few years with grace, dignity, and courage.”

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned from teaching?

“Teach what you know.”

What’s the best lesson you learned from your fellow teachers?

“One thing I love about our teaching community is that we all take each other’s classes and learn from one another.  So many times I have seen one teacher birth a creative idea that makes the rounds through the teaching staff as it grows and develops and morphs.”

What’s your favorite pose to teach?

“I like teaching the foundations and the basic alignment and intentions of the poses no matter the level of the class. There is always more to learn and refine even in the most basic poses.”

What’s your favorite pose to do?

“Extended Side Angle Pose, Utthita Parsvakonasana for its blend of strength and flexibility.”

What’s your “dream pose”?

“Handstand in the middle of the room.  One day!!”

Do you have a mantra?

“I Am/Here Now.  Ask Sarah.”

** Note from Cambridge Manager Sarah:  “Once during savasana, Carol told us that on the inhale, she likes to think, ‘I am’ and on the exhale ‘here now.’  I tried it in class that day and it completely quieted and calmed my mind during this restorative posture.  From then on, I used that mantra at the end of every class, during challenging poses, and even times off my mat when I needed to re-focus my energy.  I now have ‘I am’ tattooed on my left foot and ‘here now’ tattooed on my right foot and it’s a mantra I’ve taught many others as well.  All thanks to Carol!  What a game-changer!”


Do you play music in class?

“I like to play low-key music as a background.  I find it soothing.”

Any fun facts you’d like to share?

“I recently became a grandmother.  Knox is three months old and lots of fun.”

Final thoughts about your practice or your teaching?

“It keeps me young.  I think I’m twenty-five.”

To learn more about our fabulous teaching staff, click here.


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