off the mat, into the world

Seane Corn on Yoga and Social Justice

Seane Corn is on a mission to empower justice and spread awareness of the emerging issues of our time. Inspiring spiritual consciousness, and galvanizing practical action, Seane is the co-founder of Off the Mat, Into the World. She supports yogis in becoming conscious and effective community leaders in diverse areas including gender justice, food justice, environmental justice, LGBTQ rights and animal rights. This month, Seane discusses the relationship between yoga and activism.

Parvati Magazine: As a passionate activist, how has yoga helped you to support social change and humanitarian causes across the globe?

Seane Corn: The practice itself gives me the sustainable tools so that I can stay centered, remember what’s important and not allow my own limited beliefs or ego to determine my choices. The practice of breath work, meditation, and prayer allows me to remember our interdependency. Yoga consistently reminds me of our relationship to each other, to this planet and the ways in which we need to work proactively towards wholeness.

Parvati Magazine: Tell us about your non-profit organization Off the Mat, Into the World, and how you are empowering changemakers while unifying the worlds of yoga and activism.

Seane Corn: Off the Mat, Into the World is a leadership training organization that bridges the gap between transformational inner work, social justice and direct action or conscious action. We do a variety of things, but our commitment is to elevating leadership and giving them the inside out tools for social change through a social justice framework.

What has happened over the years in our trainings is that it’s empowered other leaders to begin their own non-profit work independent of Off the Mat in a variety of different ways. What we’re interested in doing is finding people who are leaders or who are interested in particular issues and then giving them the skills to step into organizational leadership. We have these small circles all over the world of people who are engaging and mobilizing for social change. That’s how we develop a movement.

Parvati Magazine: Why is it important for you to use your platform in yoga in order to bring a voice and education to children, women, communities in need?

Seane Corn: I think it’s important for me personally to use the platform I’ve been given because I benefit so much from my platform. I don’t take that for granted at all. I feel a personal obligation that when abundance comes in you have to express the abundance out, that it’s just energy, and on an emotional, financial, practical and spiritual level. All I’ve received from the practice of yoga has been abundance.

My commitment is to make sure that I take that goodwill and bring it outward, and it also is in alignment with the belief of yoga, which is non-separation, which is ahimsa. For me, if you’re in a position of power, when you’re in a privileged position and you avoid the discomfort that’s around you because you can, then that is creating harm. It might be invisible, but it’s still impactful. I recognize my privilege. I recognize my power. And I want to do whatever I can to make sure that I’m contributing, that I’m giving back, that I’m elevating awareness, that I’m redirecting the attention off of me and onto things that matter in the world.

The fact that I get to give, the fact that I get to participate in social change, that I get to use my influence in this way, is a privilege that I can never take for granted and I intend to use as effectively as I can for as long as I can.

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Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher known for impassioned activism and inspirational teaching. She co-founded Off the Mat, Into the World® and the Seva Challenge Humanitarian Tours, raising $4.5 million since 2007. Her DVDs are available through Gaiam and Yoga Journal, and “The Yoga of Awakening” through Sounds True

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