Authentic Activism: An interview with Seane Corn

Seane Corn is one of the world’s most celebrated and respected yoga teachers. Her integration of activism and yoga has inspired many to embrace their own practice off the mat, and to practice what they preach.

activism

AYJ – How did you come to activism and the creation of your organisation Off the Mat Into the World? How are these two things (yoga and activism) related for you?

Seane – I have been involved with activism and social justice issues since the ’80’s. I worked as a front line activist for organisations, but didn’t really become affective in my activism until I connected it with my yoga practice. Before that, I was always “against” something and aggressive in my behaviour to get others to change or alter their views. Yoga gave me the skills to remain in my center when there was conflict or chaos, and helped me to listen to people who share different beliefs without becoming reactive. I co-created Off The Mat to teach others how to bridge the gap between yoga, transformational work, social justice and activism from the inside out, so that there can be more conscious leadership helping to create a world that is more free, fair, equal, safe, abundant, happy and loving for all.

AYJ – Have you always felt that you’re following your dharma, or have there been moments of doubt in deciding to walk the path of a yogi?

Seane – I don’t think I gave this much thought when I first stepped on the mat. My experience with yoga and spirituality was slow, purposeful and very natural. The only moment of doubt I had was when I did my first teacher training – I wasn’t sure teaching was my path and worried how I would support myself. I realised pretty quickly that like it or not, I was called to teach. I stopped resisting, trained very hard, developed my self-confidence and in time found my voice.

AYJ – You are very well known and admired in the yoga world. How do you stay grounded?

Seane – I appreciate the attention I get and I’m very grateful that my teaching has touched people, but I make an effort not to get too caught up in the ‘celebrity’ that has come with what I do. It’s seductive and an ego trap and something that I make sure I keep in perspective. If my self-esteem is dependent on things like class size or getting my picture in magazines, then there will never be enough people or enough attention to fill the void within myself, and this is not healthy or sustainable. To remain grounded I maintain my spiritual practice and put my own inner work ahead of my teaching always.

AYJ – What evolutions have you seen within yourself as you’ve become more experienced at practicing and teaching yoga?

Seane – In the beginning, my practice was about me. MY health, MY wellness, MY body, MY growth. As I have grown, the practice is less about “me” and more about “we”, or the collective. I’m more interested in how to use the practice to maintain better physical/emotional/spiritual health, so that I can show up in the world with more compassion, accountability, and care. It is my intention to be of service to the world and people in the most integrated and loving way I can. My commitment to collective healing and peace is the biggest evolution within my practice and has given my life true meaning and purpose.

AYJ – As yogis, we can be so external and busy. What practices do you integrate into your life to rest and digest?

Seane – I have non-negotiable daily practices of yoga, meditation and prayer that help me maintain balance. Also, my diet, which is vegan and non-GMO, is essential, as is getting enough sleep. I work with a spiritual counselor each week so I can have a sounding board for my feelings, experiences, and concerns and to get the support and guidance I need. Finally, and the one I am the worst at, is play. I appreciate the need to put down the seriousness of the work I do, especially my activism, and just find time with my friends and family for fun, adventure and laughter. I’ve never been very good at that, because “there is so much work to be done”, but I am committed to bringing more ease and joy into my heart, so play is essential so that the work I do is more balanced and sustainable.