Seane Corn talks Compassion, Vulnerability and How Yogis Transform the World
Internationally celebrated yogi Seane Corn has inspired thousands through her teachings, and her organization Off the Mat, Into the World. Her message is straightforward and impactful: change ourselves and our world through compassionate action. Seane was one of the first yoga leaders to join Yogis Unite for MAPS, which invites yogis to share the message of our interconnection and the importance of protecting the Arctic Ocean for the sake of all life. This month, we caught up with Seane to talk about yoga, compassionate action and the human journey.
Parvati Magazine: You recently gave your voice to Yogis Unite for MAPS. What power do yogis have to protect the Arctic Ocean, our most critical ecosystem, and to help restore peace in our world?
Seane Corn: It is important to raise awareness and let others know that environmental sustainability is essential. We must all participate in doing our part to nurture and nourish our planet back into regenerative health. Our individual choices matter, and our collective engagement is essential. We must work together to make changes in our family, community, and environmental policies, and insist that our leaders take more seriously the impact of global warming on our oceans and our entire planet. Yogis must advocate for change and be that change in all they do, say and create.
Parvati Magazine: What is the connection between yoga and compassion for the environment?
Seane Corn: There can be no conversation about yoga without including the environment. Yoga means to come together and make whole; and it recognizes the interdependency of all things. When we live in dominance over anything, whether it’s animals, each other or the planet, then we otherize. We create separation and an unequal power dynamic that can only create more division and more harm. Putting our attention back onto the planet as a yogi is absolutely essential.
Parvati Magazine: How has the practice of compassionate action evolved for you over time? Why do you see it as a powerful means of change in the world?
Seane Corn: For a white person of privilege, [it means] taking accountability for the way in which limiting beliefs, prejudice, and fears, that I’ve inherited from my culture, education, religion, and upbringing, impact the way I show up in the world. It is necessary for me to recognize my participation in creating, whether I am conscious of it or not, separation and suffering. The best work I can do is to see my complicity, make changes to my impulses and behaviors, and invite others into that same awareness. Accountability is the key to sustainability, and compassion is the doorway to peace.
Parvati Magazine: What is one of the most surprising teachings that have shown up in your life lately and what did you learn?
Seane Corn: I have learned how deeply attached I was to my identity as a “teacher”. As a teacher, I can hide behind my knowledge and explain how I feel, without actually having to feel anything at all. I can use language to describe it, but that can also be a way to spiritually by-pass my deeper feelings. I teach how to release tension, unearth the emotions within that tension, and allow for the vulnerability within it to be excavated. Vulnerability is what leads to surrender. Surrender is what opens us to God. This is freedom. It’s the opportunity to get real with myself and to reveal the complexities of the human journey through the lived experience, which is unique to each soul.
The Messy Journey of Transformative Change
Parvati Magazine: In your recent book “Revolution of the Soul”, you reveal less-known parts of your story, such as drug use before you discovered yoga. As you continue to teach today, what has the response been to these raw and real aspects of your life?
Seane Corn: The response has been incredibly supportive and positive. I believe that my stories are very relatable. [They] show that each individual’s path is nuanced, complex, and unique, holding both the shadow of our humanity and the depth of our light. Our shadow, the parts of us that we don’t like and don’t necessarily want anyone to see, are what informs our spiritual maturation. Yoga teaches that everything is connected. Therefore, we must be in relationship with all parts of our nature, the light and the shadow. Each informs the other, and teaches us the necessary skill of empathy. I didn’t want to tell the reader about the messy journey of transformative change; I wanted to show it, without apology, and reveal the ways each moment is of benefit to our growth.
To find out more about Seane’s book “Revolution of the Soul”, check out the Books column.
Seane Corn is an internationally celebrated yoga teacher and activist. She co-founded Off the Mat, Into the World® and the Global Seva Challenge Humanitarian Tours, and was one of the first leaders to join Yogis Unite for MAPS. Her book “Revolution of the Soul” was published in fall 2019.