01 Jul Practice With World-Renowned Yoga Teacher Seane Corn
Today we want to introduce you to the world-renowned yoga teacher, activist and author Seane Corn. And your unique opportunity to practice with her. Seane is known for her social activism, her passionate style of teaching, and raw, honest and inspired self-expression. She is committed to training leaders to bridge the gap between yoga, transformational work, social justice, and conscious action. On July 4th, 2020 Seane and Power Living hosted an extraordinary online sacred journey.
About Seane Corn.
Although her first-ever yoga class was also awkward and daunting, according to Seane, she kept coming back to her mat. And then she slowly started to feel the big shift within. Now Seane has been teaching yoga for over 25 years and created the groundbreaking series The Yoga of Awakening — her program for entering the deeper dimensions of yoga and discovering our vast capacities of consciousness, empowerment, and connection. She is not only travelling the world teaching yoga but, more importantly, raising awareness to global issues including social justice, sex trafficking, HIV/ AIDS awareness, generational poverty, and animal rights.
She has co-founded Off The Mat And Into The World® (OTM), a collective of yogis, educators, and activists working in collaboration with global and local leaders of activism using the tools of yoga and meditation as foundational practices of self-awareness and self-accountability. Seane was named “National Yoga Ambassador” for YouthAIDS in 2005 and received both the Global Green International Environmental Leadership Award and the Humanitarian Award by the Smithsonian Institute in 2013. End of 2019, she published her first book Revolution of the Soul in which she not only shares, with raw honesty, pivotal accounts of her life but also provides a “toolkit” to help us heal, evolve and change the world in a way that doesn’t create more harm.
United through the practice of yoga.
In the Western world, yoga is often viewed as a workout and associated with solely the physical poses. It’s not. Yoga is a philosophy. The very definition of yoga is to yoke, to come together and make whole and to recognize that everything is connected.
It means bringing together things that seem to be in opposition like our mind and body or our heart and spirit. In her powerful post about Mindful Activism is yoga,Michelle C. Johnson, yoga teacher and OTM facilitator says, that “Yoga means living in a world where some have the space to breathe and others breath is being taken away. Yoga means sitting with the discomfort and the paradoxes. Yoga means taking mindful action in activist spaces and creating activism in spiritual spaces to respond to the discomfort and paradoxes systems of power, oppression, and privilege create. The practice of mindfulness isn’t separate from activism, and the practice of activism isn’t separate from spiritual practice.”
Bringing the principles of yoga into activism.
Hence, if you believe in the philosophy of yoga, you have to turn towards where there is separation and in which part you are participating in it—enquiring about who, i.e. has access to food, freedom, resources and who doesn’t, where the power differentials are. We are not “one” until and not without examining all the ways we don’t live as one.
And while the yoga practice itself is much more complex than those physical poses, they can be a tool that we can use to stay resourced and grounded. We usually come to our yoga practice to feel better and release tension – both physically and mentally. By releasing any tension we hold on to, we become more empathetic and more responsible in the choices that we make, but most importantly, we become less reactive. Seane explains the above in a recent podcast with Lauren Schiller, adding on that when we’re tense, we’re shut down and stop caring; that’s when we can create conflict. So, yes, the physical yoga practice will make us feel better. More importantly, it teaches us how to self-regulate so that we can be more in the present time when there are issues in the world without contributing to it any further if we are willing to put in the work and listen inwards both on and off our mats.
Contributing to making a positive change.
Our contribution to making a positive change will look different for every one of us. You cannot generalize nor speak for other people and cultures. What you can do is, do your work. Inform yourself about what’s going on outside your bubble, what’s happening in your own culture and globally. Most importantly, do enquire what needs to change in your attitude and behaviours that might contribute to any challenges we are currently facing. Take the time to pause and listen, enquire within. What’s going on?
Remember that our bodies hold on to any past traumas of our family, our ancestors and of our cultures. We hold on to these belief systems deep within our tissues. Our nervous system will revert to the fears our ancestors, and we have had. And every time these fears confront us, they will unintentionally surface. They take us out of the present, and our brain reacts instead of rationalizing, resulting in potentially causing harm. Everybody has these fears, traumas, stories within them. No exception. It’s how we approach it that makes the first step in the right direction to create change. Instead of getting defensive, we need to pause, consciously listen and choose our actions. Seane further recommends doing your yoga practice, really connect to yourself, read books and listen.
Furthermore, don’t be scared to make mistakes, don’t hide in shame, but instead own these mistakes and take ownership of our contribution to any suffering and pain. You need to fully commit to being part of the change you want to achieve. But the transformation first starts from within. All these are the best gift of allyship you can give to the world.
This is yoga on and off the mat.
As mentioned above, all it takes is for us to consciously choose our actions is to pause, listen to what comes up and to own it – rather than react. Coming back to our yoga practice on our mat, which is just a mirror of how we approach and live our life. During our physical practice, we are all triggered by different poses. It’s only a split second when our minds and egos try to take over the practice but mostly trying to sabotage us in our experience. We are all witnesses to our ego, we might not react to it, but we all experience it.
Sometimes we try to suppress any feelings or thoughts bubbling to the surface by quickly moving into another pose, fixing our tops or drinking some water. Only when we pause and stay and breathe, that’s when we bear witness to our egos. Dare to stay in that pause and see what comes up for you. Stay present. Acknowledge it. Own it and be ok with it. And then make a conscious choice in how to respond, instead of letting your ego react. See if you can make a different choice next time and how that unconsciously cause a more significant ripple effect that you might have thought.
Creating collective change.
In summary, the first step to being the change? You have to start with yourself. Own your story and fully commit to the change. Together we can cause a ripple effect of positive change in the world. Yoga is an essential tool in our vast toolkit to create positive change. It doesn’t ask us to perform fancy shapes on our mats but to show up to the practice and do the work. To breathe, connect, to pause and consciously listen within. The practice of yoga allows us to enquire and to shine a light on our shadows. It asks us to sit in the discomfort and own whatever comes up. Then choose your “action plan” on how to respond. Yoga teaches that we are all one, all connected, all here to guide, teach and support each other in the process of being.
Yoga requests us to look further than your mat, and acknowledge that not everything is the fairytale we believe it up to be. Therefore we, individually and as one, need to face and own up to our actions and reactions. We cannot create change, without each one of us doing their part. Collectively – we can create that ripple effect of positive change by doing the work. Let’s get started.
Written by the Power Living team
The practice of yoga is non-denominational and open to all forms of spiritual worship, belief, and non-belief.