Seane Corn Gets Off Her Yoga Mat & Occupies Wall Street.

Via Jennifer Cusano
on Oct 14, 2011
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Photo: J.T. Liss (Photography For Social Change)

“It’s not a movement—it’s an awakening”

Seane Corn, founder of Off The Mat And Into The World, stepped off her mat and Occupied Wall Street in the beginning of the week. People raised their yoga mats high above their heads in the name of peace while chanting, marching, and praying. All together. All united for the same goal, and it was beautiful. There was even a group tree pose.

Seane lead the crowd on a chant stating:

Photo: J.T. Liss (Photography For Social Change)

“Our intention for being here is to support with all the men, women , and children, who because of lack of opportunity, dissapointment, dissatisfaction, and anger, are finally feeling the need to rally together as a community to exercise their first amendment right, Freedom of speech, as well as Freedom of Assembly. To speak to truth that is perpetually separating all Americans from happiness, health, and prosperity. What is happening out here is yoga because it is about connection, community, unity, love, truth, happiness. This is why we are here. To lend our voice. To show our support, and to show what we stand for not against. We stand for unity. We stand for opportunity. We stand for equality. We stand for love. The most important thing we need to remember is that this matters. You matter. We matter. All of us matter. It’s a bout 100% love, 100%unity, 100% peace, 100% of the time.”

Ms. Corn then went on to offer a unified prayer to protesters. and Americans involved in #occupythis all over the world. Reminding protesters to breathe, because we need them.

The video is powerful. Although I wasn’t there, I felt like I was while watching. I had goosebumps.

Photo: J.T. Liss (Photography For Social Change)

Demonstrators were absolutely beaming. This was truly an epic day for American Yoga.

Peace Y’all


(Elena Brower and Russel Simmons show their support)


About Jennifer Cusano

Jennifer Cusano, social media aficionado, research connoisseur, and writer du jour, is a Yogi on a path of personal exploration and long overdue healing. Managing Editor for YOGANONYMOUS, Producer for Where Is My Guru, Director of Social Media for YOGASCAPES and TumericALIVE, wife and mother of three, Jenn is really a superhero in disguise—or so she likes to think. In her spare time Jenn likes to read about and search for vampires, so if you happen to know or come across one, please do send them her way. Hit her up on Facebook or Twitter to discuss the various methods of tracking down said vampires. Also she is more than a little uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person, it may just be the hardest thing she's had to do, and that's saying something...


54 Responses to “Seane Corn Gets Off Her Yoga Mat & Occupies Wall Street.”

  1. […] movement has not gone unnoticed by the yoga community either — Michael Franti, Seane Corn, Russell Simmons, Elena Brower, and […]

  2. Leon Trotsky says:

    Wait a minute. Didn't Russel Simmons started a debit card company for inner-city folks that charges them up to 35% interest if the default on a pay-check loan. Anyone who thinks Simmons is a tried and true activist is clearly out their f-cking mind. Corn alignment with him is about as retarded as linking yourself to Bush on education.

  3. Michael says:

    The movement is now officially doomed. It has become hip to be associated with it and an opportunity for a photo op. The 1% is slowly working is assimilation magic. Soon Coca-Cola will be using it as an advertising backdrop.

  4. I disagree, I'm sorry. Just because "hip" people are associated with the movement doesn't make it any less valid. In fact I think their endorsement shows that they give a shit, maybe even more than others because they are certainly not up to their ears in debt, they are living comfortably, but they are still there.

  5. While i am unsure about the things you just mentioned, I really feel like Russel's parallel between Arjuna and Krinsha, to the movement was totally dead on and a very good explanation.

  6. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Michael, if we incessantly look to the future with fear, expecting constant failure, despite the sincerity of our actions in the present, then yes, I'd say we are all doomed. 🙂

  7. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Just posted to "Popular Lately" on the Elephant Yoga homepage.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
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  8. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Posting to Elephant Yoga on Facebook and Twitter.

    Tanya Lee Markul, Yoga Editor
    Join us! Like Elephant Yoga on Facebook
    Follow on Twitter

  9. elephantjournal says:

    You may be mistaking ego for power—and she's using that power for good, generously supporting a lot of great people and causes where many yoga and spiritual types are too busy thinking about ourselves, instead of helping others. As for the rest of your comment…well I'm tempted to delete it, but…we love unicorns. ~ Waylon

  10. elephantjournal says:

    Did celebrities and photos and press attention all doom the Vietnam protest movement? ~ Waylon

  11. Rebecca says:

    You should delete it. Allowing that type of commentary to exist makes the debate toxic. As adults, we should be able to disagree with civility and without personally attacking one another.

  12. Yeah that was pretty ridiculous. But as far as Seane Corn goes, I really don't find her to be ego -normous, though if anyone has a right to be (and that is hard to earn) she does. She is a positive role mosel in our society and spends her time doing so much for other people, we could all learn a thing or two from her. I am interested in why you think that, can you give 3 valid reasons? I am drawing a blank.

  13. yogi tobye says:

    Why is it the strangest comments always come from people who don't want anyone to know who they are?

  14. yogi tobye says:

    And if it's a choice between love and hate, then love is always the answer…

  15. Dr. Lisa Riolo says:

    Service done with right intention does not come with publicity and showmanship. Her intention is more to feed her ego and get publicity than for the movement. I'm not convinced she understands it.

  16. Tolkyn says:

    Publicity and photo opportunity for Sean Corn. She is living the American dream. She is a famous yoga teacher who probably has many students from Wall street in her classes. It is disingenuous for a bunch of yoga students to pretend like they are speaking on behalf of factory workers somewhere.

  17. Always always always! right on Tobye!

  18. Ummm…come again? Anyone who devotes as much time and energy as Seane to true seva and taking yoga "off the mat" is definitely love-worthy in my book. I am not a fan of the whole yoga celebrity thing in general…but Seane Corn is doing some amazing stuff. Not sure where your ego comment is coming from…

  19. Sherri says:

    This is a hard sell for the yoga community because the practice caters to the wealthy. Think of the Yoga Journal, yoga conferences, workshops in exotic lands and expensive classes. A lot of yoga people are part of the problem.

  20. Chelsea says:

    Many of the comments here are blatantly sexist and make a straw (wo)man out of Seane Corn. The conversation we NEED to be having has nothing to do with her intentions, ego, or public status.

    What are we, as a community, going to do about the fact that 400 wealthiest Americans have a greater combined net worth than the bottom 150 million Americans? Better yet, while we're all hooting and hollering about being "the 99%," maybe we should consider what we're going to do about the REAL 99%… like the 750,000 people in the Somalia starving because of one of the most desperate famines the world has ever seen?

    Really, there are more important and constructive conversations to be having right now. And what an opportunity for conversation this is. Shifting the focus to a yoga teacher is deflecting the spotlight away from the painful reality #occupywallstreet is forcing us all to confront.

  21. Ramani says:

    We must not forget that there are several types of yoga. Bhakthi yoga is the yoga of devotion to your higher power and Karma yoga is the yoga of action. I agree that they were probably meant to be a little more low key. But at this point we have a duty, much like Arjuna. We know that there are going to be ppl we love that disagree, or who are against us but we have a duty to do what’s right…

    I think that yoga and politics is not a new idea and we need to come together, unify. We need to demonstrate, assemble, meditate, practice awareness, ahisma…Sean wants unity, let her show her devotion and let her practice her service and if compelled join her <3

  22. Angela says:

    Seane’s journey may not be the same as those she helps – but her extension of love through service is no less genuine.

  23. Lorayne says:

    While this is beautiful as a yogi moment I would have liked to hear dialogue that a Wall Street Banker might relate to. "Be united and filled with love, power to the community" is positive prose, but how do we CHANGE this economic crisis that we are suffering from, where are the answers? Ideas also need to be spread, and to get this through to a strung out on greed banker…do you feel that chanting and reminding people that we all matter is enough? There needs to be a little more substance, BUT I feel the intention here powerful, and Seane's enthusiasm is always appreciated.

  24. carrie says:

    yoga is about unity and equality we all deserve 100 % we are all beautiful individuals with talents and gifts . Yoga enlightens us to to get off our mats inspired share our love, truth and passion with the world. It helps cultivate our passion and purpose to help others around us My personal yoga practice has empowered me as woman with disabilities, columnist and a disabilities rights activist.

  25. carrie says:

    As a woman with disabilities and disability rights activist I found your use of the word "retarded" very offensive and degrading
    to the disability community. Please keep in mind this word only adds to the stigma and stereotypes problems facing the disability community. The word is very outdated and there is an ongoing campaign to bann this word. Please keep this mind
    thank you

  26. Yoga is a lot more than just the classes. Not to mention the fact that there are affordable or free classes all over the place you just have to find them. This is a really poor stereotype.

  27. Lia says:

    With the exception of the occasional class at Lululemon, I have never heard of a free yoga class, here, in Vancouver, BC. Studios used to offer a one time free class to introduce people to their centre, but now charge a somewhat reduced fee. Yoga studios are expensive. However, I agree, yoga is more than classes at a studio.

  28. AnArtist says:

    To my mind (and physical practice) yoga is a system of discipline which is training me to be aware of my body, my mind, and my emotions so that I am less reactive and better able to be consciously active in my daily life. Thus, I don't view this debate about Seane Corn's involvement in Occupy Wall Street so much as an either/or as it is a both/and. Yoga is like a structure within which one can live his/her life and Seane uses yoga (I assume, considering her extensive study of the practice and long years teaching it) to discipline herself and protest the growing inequality in this country in a way that is more active and engaging instead of reactive and combative. Just as I am learning to use yoga to live my life in the way I see fit and far be it from me to judge another person's way of living. I just hope that whoever is against Seane's involvement is making a well-thought, conscious decision and not an emotional, gut reaction. And I hope for the same from whomever is supporting Seane's involvement in Occupy Wall Street.

  29. Chaz says:

    If you are really concerned about the people struggling in Somalia, you should support the US government/military/CIA in their efforts to eliminate Al Shabab, the militant group that has control of Somali territory and denies access to international aid organizations (many of which are also funded by the US).

  30. Chaz says:

    Bottom line: Developing sound economic policies is really hard. If you really want to make a difference, stop squatting in a park and go out and become an economist.

    And factory workers of the country should resent having a wealthy elite instructor for the rich and famous purport that she represents them and their interests.

  31. Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu…May All Beings Be Well
    -ancient sanskrit prayer-

    In our Off The Mat trainings we engage in deep conversations about the state of the world, we look the challenges of these times squarely in the eye and we breathe…practicing the mindfulness of seeing things exactly as they are, both internally and externally. We recognize how much easier it is to run away and withdraw than it is to see clearly, find our voice and speak our truth (especially if that truth goes against the status quo).

    But we don't stop there…the next crucial step is to also acknowledge that which we stand FOR and that which we are hopeful enough to CREATE. Our yoga then becomes pro-active and evolutionary. We are interested in creative solutions to some of the most challenging problems that we face today. But without awareness of the root causes of these problems, we cannot create lasting or effective change.

    We acknowledge the responsibility that comes with the privilege of being able to do the work of self inquiry and healing through the practice of yoga. We work toward connecting our beliefs and values with our everyday choices and actions. We begin the work of serving ALL life and alleviating the suffering of others as much as possible. We allow our own healing to spill over into every aspect of our lives and our communities so that we can build healthy dialogues, creative collective solutions and a unified vision for the continuation of life on this beautiful planet.

    This is a time of economic crisis giving rise to environmental crisis. This is also a time to bring our spiritual tools and communities to the forefront and magnetize the kind of changes we want to see for the well being of ALL living beings – not just the 1% who are making decisions that effect the other 99% adversely. This is the time to become creative visionaries for change and to stand for the life protecting, life supporting, fiercely compassionate values that we have cultivated in our daily practice. This is a time to share the gifts that we have been given through our practice with the world.

    This is not a movement that will be led by one person but a grassroots movement that begins within and slowly but inexorably moves outward in compassionate connection and true collaboration to serve the liberation of all beings from suffering…

    Rather than question whether this is truly yoga or not, I ask you to go within and ask yourself what you stand for, what you are willing to create and how YOU will serve…starting right now.

    with love…Suzanne (co-founder of Off The Mat, Into the World)

    “At this moment the brave and dedicated #OccupyWallStreet protesters are in the streets of New York and cities around the world. They call the world’s attention to Wall Street greed and corruption as a common source of the many crises that threaten the human future—economic, political, social, and environmental…

    Ordinary people all across America are rising up to expose Wall Street’s deceptions and reclaim their country from this alien occupier. The Declaration of the Occupation of New York City enumerates Wall Street’s crimes against people, country, nature, and the world. The personal stories emerging from Occupy Wall Street document our common experience under Wall Street’s rule—unemployment, wages that cannot support families, dwindling retirement accounts, foreclosed homes, student debt, and deferred health care. These stories are inspiring yet more Americans to come forward.

    There is also the quiet—but powerful—protest of the millions of Americans who are putting their shoulders to the wheel of change by building the new community-rooted, market-based, life-serving Main Street economies we need for a 21st century America that provides secure, adequate dignified, and meaningful livelihoods for all in a balanced relationship to nature."
    -David Korten-

    "Safety and refuge and healing are important aspects of spiritual community. But they are not the whole of spirituality…

    Spirituality is also about challenge, about pushing our edges and giving us the support we need to take great risks. It means we need to use our magical tools to face the stark and overwhelming realities that confront us, acknowledge our feelings, and transmute them into the energy we need for change. If two-thirds of the people on the Earth don't have access to the water they need — as is predicted within another decade or two — and I am integrally connected to those people, that's a spiritual crisis as well as a physical and political crisis.

    …at this moment in history, we are called to act as if we truly believe that the Earth is a living, conscious being that we're part of, that human beings are interconnected and precious, and that liberty and justice for all is a desirable thing."


  32. Gina Newlin says:

    Eloquent, intelligent, and enrolling. Thank you, Suzanne.

  33. Thanks so much for sharing Suzanne!

  34. There are no free or reduced classes where I live either, but I know of their existence, and you are right classes are expensive, but you also have to decide just how much it is worth to you because what you leave with, you can not put a price on. I practice at home, I can't afford to do otherwise, and I have three small children so I don't have much time either, but I would love to one day go on a retreat and take formal classes, and when and if I can afford to do so in both monetary means and other terms, I will not complain about the price, to me it is worth it. But I do understand what you all are saying, and it is frustrating–just not frustrating enough to support a poor stereotype.

  35. Loryn R says:

    Those Occupying Wall Street and around the world share a voice. I support their voice whether or not I agree with all they say….I support the freedom for them to say it. in unity and in assembly. That is American. They do not have to have the answers to say it's not ok. The government does not seem to have the answers so why should the protestors be charged with finding a solution or be silenced. It nevers evolves that way. Segregation was challeged without solution. All injustice needs to be challeged and the solution evolves…sometimes good and sometimes not so good…but it invokes change. We all agree that things need to change. I support my fellow citzens willing to speak their truth and chant change.

  36. Lia says:

    Just stating how it is in my city and community in reference to your statement that, 'there are affordable, or free classes all over the place you just have to find them.' Interestingly, you acknowledge there aren't any where you live as well. I wasn't expressing frustration, just a fact.

  37. Lia says:

    If the house is burning down, does the yogi not put out the fire? We respond to our environment. To many, our collective house is on fire and something must be done.

  38. Lia says:

    Yes, thank you.

  39. Lia that is a great analogy!

  40. Loretta says:

    "This is not a movement that will be led by one person but a grassroots movement that begins within and slowly but inexorably moves outward in compassionate connection and true collaboration to serve the liberation of all beings from suffering… "
    Thank you, Suzanne. Thank you, Seane.

  41. Jenifer says:

    wow, i didn't realize there were trainings for "off the mat" yoga. I just assumed that you do yoga, you eventually take it off the mat, and that every student naturally does that, without requiring anyone telling them to do it. very weird indeed.

  42. Lia says:

    Thanks, Jennifer. Many blessings. Lisa (Lia)

  43. GOo0n Sqrd says:

    This is cheesalicious.

  44. Yogini5 says:

    I swear, though, as a movie lover (maybe even more than I love yoga), I was dismayed to find out that Occupy Wall Street is being written into set, scene and script of the Batman movie to be shot here in New York …

    I realize all the injustice that the character Batman fights.

    I realize including OWS is a form of creative innovation, working with what you've got, and even a measure of awareness in the moment ….

  45. Yogini5 says:

    This type of education has to be made palatable to certain strata of folks with money and/or leisure, who were not brought up by union people, working class, or activists. It's a niche like any other.

  46. […] Wall Street? That’s the new rallying cry of yoga progressives. And why not — that’s where you’ll find Lululemon’s […]

  47. […] Wall Street? That’s the new rallying cry of yoga progressives. And why not — that’s where you’ll find Lululemon’s […]