Getting to know Seane Corn in her cozy, solar-powered home, one begins to sense that she truly lives her yoga. Her practice and philosophy extend to every aspect of her life, from relationships to charity work, and it shows in the articulate ardor with which she tells her story.
Seane Corn first became curious about yoga in 1987 while working at Life CafÃ© in New York City, owned by David Life, who later co-founded the Jivamukti Yoga School alongside Sharon Gannon. After David and Sharon returned from a trip to India, in which they became immersed in the study of yoga, Seane noticed that something in them had changed so dramatically that she, too, felt driven by the curiosity to practice. For a few years, progress was gradual, until one particularly snowy, dreary morning, she walked out of a yoga class with a true, newfound sense of happiness that her practice had suddenly unfolded. At this crossroads, she relocated to Los Angeles and began studying Buddhism and Daoism at Santa Monica College. She worked part-time at YogaWorks while studying and practicing yoga five hours a day. Then, yoga teachers Brian Kest and Maty Ezraty suggested that she do a teacher training, planting the seed for the life-transforming journey that followed. After completing an advanced teacher training at YogaWorks in 1994, Seane Corn began teaching at a time when yoga was becoming a phenomenon throughout American culture.
As a vinyasa flow teacher, Seane Corn addresses three major realms: the physical-mental, the emotional-energetic and the psychic-symbolic. She finds that the physical and mental aspects are the easiest to teach because they are based on facts, while the latter aspects rely greatly on faith, a significant part of yoga practice. “The asana is such a small part of it,” Seane explains. “But as a culture we are addicted to our tension and very often our tension is what motivates the choices that we make. It’s through the asana practice that we can eliminate the tension. Through the elimination of tension we create an environment in which we can be more vulnerable. It’s through our vulnerability that we can go to our heart, and it’s through our heart that we surrender. That surrender is what opens us up to God.”
Seane Corn believes that asana can expose the depths of one’s soul and make one open, available, and present in way that helps one perceive difficulties with a broader, more healthful perspective. “Vinyasa flow for me is really a body prayer. It’s using the time and the classroom to connect with something greater than the physical body that can open your heart to love, which for me is everything. We come into these bodies”¦mythology, prejudice, superstition, our upbringing, religion, all those things cloud the truth of who we really are, and so we spend a lifetime trying to strip away those cloaks to expose that light. My job is to go into a room and hopefully in a safe and very loving way remind people who come to me of that light.”
Seane Corn speaks with fervor about how necessary she feels it is to face up to one’s individual world, to the part that is engaged in interpersonal war such as hate, shame, blame or guilt. She believes that if one can see where one is living in fear and where one is living in love, he or she can choose to clean it up and become more available for transforming this world. “Every being in the yoga room is needed for the transformation of this planet. Every person I know can go home and educate their children, be of service, change their community, their school systems”¦yoga goes way beyond the body.”
Seane Corn’s practice has increasingly shifted toward a commitment to activism and service, a way of extending yoga out into the world by being a strong, focused and compassionate voice for change. Seane first began to understand the power of service in 1999, when she became involved with Children of the Night, a shelter that educates and rehabilitates adolescent prostitutes. Here, she taught youth how to feel, breathe and have boundaries, a process of exchange that brought healing and growth to Seane’s own inner being. Later, Seane received a phone call from actress Ashley Judd, who served as the global ambassador for Youth Aids, and sought support on how to deal emotionally with the work.
This experience brought Seane Corn up to speed on the stark reality of sexual exploitation in third world countries, instigating her to awaken awareness in the yoga community and raise money for Youth Aids. Through working with various companies such as Gaiam and hosting a benefit event at Yoga Journal, Seane has raised over $300,000 for Youth Aids. In addition, she works with the Cambodian Children’s Fund serving impoverished children in India and Cambodia. Furthermore, Seane Corn has officially launched the Off the Mat, Into the World campaign in 2006, a leadership program designed to train yoga teachers in activism and outreach.
“My hope is to encourage people to look at what brought them into the yoga room. There’s a good chance that this is where they will feel called to serve. When you combine wisdom with empathy, you can really transform someone’s soul. We shouldn’t be afraid to find our voice and speak our truths. I want to see us come together more, celebrate this connection, and do more work to transform this planet that so desperately needs love.”
Check out Seane Corn's Yoga Schedule.