Theo in a yoga pose on grass

About me

I first trained as a yoga teacher in 2007, within the Anusara system. Over time, I found the practice more and more exhausting, and in 2012, a crisis in authority within the Anusara hierarchy prompted me to rethink not just my practice, but also the hierarchy, the philosophy and the pedagogy supporting it.

I was next drawn to teachers who tempered strict yoga alignment with a softer approach, such as Uma Dinsmore-Tuli and Angela Farmer among others. I taught a lot of disabled children with profound support needs, and my definitions of ‘normal’ practice were challenged further. I trained with Sonia Sumar and Jo Manuel for this specialist work, but there was still something missing.

I still believed that the world needs a practice that is more cyclical, more nurturing, and more accommodating of difference and diversity, but more and more, I realised how much our practices and the structures and communities that transmit them, were scarred by colonialism, ableism, institutionalised abuse, and all the grief and suffering of late-stage capitalism.

By then I had taken over a thousand hours of classes and workshops as a student; and taught nearly two thousand hours myself. I had explored a dozen different schools of yoga, and a dozen more somatic practices beyond it. I was curious about how we stay true to both our selves and our history, and how we keep each other safe, when we cross the boundaries of school and brand, lineage and heritage.

I had been heavily influenced by an MA that focused on community education for liberation, and also by pagan and animist philosophers and writers. I had taken in-depth courses in permaculture, seasonal rhythms, folklore, and I had over a decade of close study in both journeying practice and druidic pathwork with Tira Brandon Evans and Emma Restall Orr. One of those writer philosophers – my friend Graham Harvey – eventually persuaded me to apply for a PhD, and I joined the Religious Studies department of the Open University.

My aim was to investigate the democratisation of physical yoga practice and why it matters to the people who are most invested in it. That project grew to do two things: to tell the untold story of a unique community of yoga practice here in the UK, and to outline the processes that variously support all similar communities of practice. The term that emerged in that long research process was post-lineage yoga.

The research led me to engage in debates on some of the more difficult aspects of transnational yoga culture – the commercialisation, the standardisation, the quality of training, financial exploitation, how we support newly qualified teachers (often we don’t), and how we can ever reconcile and end endemic patterns of abuse. I was invited to consult on major projects, to speak at international conferences, and to guest on yoga teacher trainings. Thousands of yoga teachers began to follow me on social media.

More recently, my own research is now turning again. I’m asking more philosophical questions about the concepts of ‘normal’ and ‘broken’ as we apply them to human beings, about the pathologisation of distress, and the disabling of difference. I am indebted to disabled and queer theorists and activists, and I benefit from a strong and supportive community of allies. This is my heart work but it is also dark, triggering work, and so it is slow. So far you will find those reflections in my trainings, in occasional blog posts, and in the implications and the margins of my published work.

In the meantime, I have turned my thesis into a book with thanks to Equinox Publishing, and was commissioned to edit a general guide to Yoga Studies. I’m updating my understanding of contemporary yoga as things progress post-pandemic, and exploring festival cultures, alternative communities and meaning making in other ways too. Articles and chapters on some of those themes can be found below.

At the same time, I am exploring the joys and pitfalls of diagnoses, by myself, by professionals and by my peers. I am amused by the neat reflection between these three sources of insight, and the three sources of authority that I teach yoga teachers about: inner wisdom, expert advice and peer support.

Academic CV

Updated April 2023

  • Creative and reflective researcher, experienced in working independently and meeting deadlines
  • Experienced educator, writer and effective communicator in academic and non-academic settings

Current employment

2014 – present

Writer, researcher, facilitator, yoga teacher trainer

2021 – present

Associate Lecturer, Open University
A227: Exploring religion: places, practices, texts and experiences
A332: Why is religion controversial?

Previous employment

2020 – 2023

Coordinator, Centre of Yoga Studies, SOAS
Events management, public engagement, research


2013 – 2019

The Open University, Milton Keynes
PhD in Religious Studies
Thesis: Patterns of authority and practice relationships in ‘post-lineage yoga’
Awarded 5th February 2019

2005 – 2008

De Montfort University, Leicester
M.A. Youth Work and Community Development
Dissertation: Stonehenge: Visions of Open Access

1991 – 1995

New Hall, University of Cambridge
M.A. (Cantab) Modern and Medieval Languages (2:1)
Dissertation: Don Quixote and Tristram Shandy: the epic comic novel

Research Interests

My PhD explored contemporary yoga culture, with specific reference to processes of authority and repertoires of movement. I am fascinated by the wider relationship between movement and making meaning, both in groups, and in a more-than-human world. My research experience is an interdisciplinary blend of fieldwork, qualitative interviewing, and movement analysis.

Research and collaboration

My research skills draw on multiple research projects as part of my MA in the social and health sciences, as well as in-depth, long-term ethnography for my PhD in Religious Studies. I have experience running evaluation projects, and also conducting qualitative research with vulnerable populations. My thesis developed significant new methodologies, notation structures and typologies in an under-researched area of study. Over a decade of experience running my own business has gifted me with excellent administrative, software and time-management skills. I gained experience in team-working and project management with various employers. I network and collaborate effectively with colleagues on an international level. I speak basic Spanish, and fluent French.

2020Audience survey work for SOAS Centre of Yoga Studies
2013-2018Fieldwork, interviewing, notation and qualitative data analysis for PhD research
2006-2007Fieldwork and qualitative data analysis as part of my Local Community Engagement Officer role with The National Trust
2008Interviewing and qualitative data analysis of competing community interest groups at Stonehenge, for MA dissertation
2007Interviewing and qualitative data analysis among LGBT youth for Terrence Higgins Trust, whilst on MA placement

Teaching and engagement

I have extensive experience as an educator in a wide range of settings. I am an Associate Lecturer for the Open University Religious Studies department. I created and ran a module on ‘Re-thinking the Yoga Body’ for a Yoga Studies Summer School in Krakow. I have experience in designing and delivering content for in-person sessions, moderating online learning environments, and assessing work. I have been a guest teacher on multiple yoga teacher training courses, and consult for numerous yoga-related educational bodies.

I am a qualified Youth Worker (NYA/JNC), Community Development Worker (ESB), and Yoga Teacher (IYN500). I ran a four-year national project for the National Trust to address issues with local community engagement, developing and evaluating training programmes that I co-facilitated for staff across the country. I ran a satellite youth centre for Oxfordshire County Youth Service. I trained staff in care and specialist educational settings.

I have extensive experience speaking about my research to non-academic audiences, including talks at festivals, panels at yoga-related CPD events, and seminars on the history and research of yoga. I have contributed to a number of online articles and multiple appearances on podcasts. I maintain my own blog, with an average of 200 site visits a week. I am familiar with numerous online training platforms, including Teams, Adobe Connect, Crowdcast, and Zoom.

In 2020 I was also appointed as Coordinator for the Centre of Yoga Studies at SOAS, to develop and run an extensive programme of events sharing academic research with the general public, and a growing library of online content in multiple media formats.

Teaching and teacher training

2022 – present Visiting Lecturer, University of Chester
TH4061: Studying Religions: Issues, Questions and Concepts
TH4062: Lived Religion: People, Places, Things
TH5065: Studying Contemporary Religion: Anthropological and Sociological Approaches
TH7045: Advanced Theories in the Study of Religion
2021 – present Associate Lecturer, Open University
A227: Exploring religion: places, practices, texts and experiences
A332: Why is religion controversial?
2020 – 2023Coordinator, Centre of Yoga Studies, SOAS
Events management, public engagement, research
2017 – presentGuest lecturer
University of Gloucester, SOAS, Canterbury Christchurch University, Jagellonian University, University of Cork
2016 – presentConsultant
Yoga Alliance, British Wheel of Yoga, Yoga Nidra Network, Nourish Yoga Training

2015 – present
Yoga Teacher Trainer (ERYT500)
YogaQuota, Barefoot Body, Yoga Reading, Yoga Nidra Network, Karin Carlson, Tara Fraser, Reflex Yoga, Accessible Yoga, Creative Calm, Nourish Yoga Training, Sadhana Yoga Teaching, HarmonYoga, Contemporary Yoga (New Zealand), Naada Yoga (Montreal), Spirit Loft (Toronto)
2008 – 2022  Yoga Teacher and Therapist
2006 – 2009 National Community Project Officer and Trainer
The National Trust          
2004 – 2006  Youth Project Worker
Oxfordshire County Youth Service

Professional speaking engagements

2018Accessible Yoga Conference, Germany
2019Network Yoga Therapy Conference, Amsterdam
2019International Yoga Nidra Conference, US
2019London Yoga festival
2019, 2021Brighton Yoga festival
2023   Yoga Mala China

Writing and Reviewing

My first monograph was published in November 2020. I have written chapters for two edited volumes, and produced two peer-reviewed articles. I was Managing Editor of the interdisciplinary academic journal Body and Religion, and am now Bulletin Editor for the British Association for the Study of Religion. I am currently working on two edited volumes, one for a professional publisher, and one as part of Equinox Publishing’s ‘In Five Minutes’ series. I am also co-editing a special journal edition, for Religions of South Asia.

Wildcroft, Theo and McAtee, Harriet. forthcoming. A Survival Guide for Yoga Teachers. (Singing Dragon).
Wildcroft, Theo and Sojkova, Barbora. forthcoming. Yoga Studies in Five Minutes (Equinox Publishing).
Wildcroft, Theo. 2020. Post-lineage yoga: From guru to #metoo (Equinox Publishing).
Wildcroft, Theo. 2020. ‘Re-telling the self in personal practice.’ In Alice Lagaay (ed.) Routledge Handbook of Performance Philosophy (Routledge).
Wildcroft, Theo. 2020. ‘Post-lineage yoga: adventures in social media’, Journal of the British Association for the Study of Religion.
Robertson, Alison, and Theo Wildcroft. 2017. ‘Sacrifices at the altar of self-transformation’, Body and Religion, 1: 88-109.
Wildcroft, Theo. 2016. ‘Context. Consent. Contact. An Animist Approach to Consent.’ in Christine Hoff Kraemer and Yvonne Aburrow (eds.), Pagan Consent Culture: Building Communities of Empathy and Autonomy (Asphodel Press).
Managing Editor of Body and Religion
Reviewer for Race and Yoga journal; Routledge Handbook of Yoga and Meditation
Bulletin Editor for the British Association for the Study of Religion

Conferences and professional bodies

I am an honorary member of the British Wheel of Yoga, and a continuing professional development trainer and consultant for Yoga Alliance (US). I am an active committee member of the British Association for the Study of Religion. I have represented both doctoral students and now Associate Lecturers on Open University committees. I have attended conferences in multiple disciplines, in the UK and abroad. I have co-organised conference panels and in 2022 I co-led the organising committee for YDYS2022, the second major international conference on Yoga Studies.

I have also presented at a number of conferences aimed at yoga professionals, including the first Accessible Yoga conference in Europe (2018), the Network Yoga Therapy conference in Amsterdam (2019), and the first International Yoga Nidra conference in Massachusetts (2019). I was a founding member of, and co-organised one of the few academic conferences of 2020, entirely online.

My conference papers include:

2015‘Wild Things and Fallen Angels’ (BASR)
2015‘Bodies, movement and lived religion’ (Open University)
2016‘Sacrifices at the altar of self-knowledge’ (Open University, co-written)
2016‘Hatha yoga and the alchemy of pain’ (BASR)
2016‘Karma yoga, dance mandalas and liquid gold: the culture and impact of post-traditional British yoga camps’ (Krakow)
2017‘Re-telling the self in personal practice’ (BASR)
2017‘Post-lineage yoga: Religious transmission beyond the guru’ (EASR)
2018‘Post-lineage yoga: Adventures in social media engagement’ (BASR)
2019Namaste Calliss: the sacred meets the profane and the battle for yoga culture (BASR)
2020Ancient tradition or modern appropriation: the paradox of ‘post-lineage yoga’ (
2020INFORM seminar on Spiritual Abuse (speaker)
2020‘Post-lineage yoga: from guru to #metoo’ (OCHS: New Directions in Yoga Studies)
2021‘Somatic dominance: embodied ethnography and embodying survivors’ (Chester – co-presented with Matthew Remski)
2022‘The yoga police are real’ (YDYS2022, Krakow)
2022‘A Centre for Yoga Studies: philanthropy, community engagement and academia ‘ (BASR)
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