“Yoga has taught me that you are in a conscious body to learn what love is, not romantic love, although that may be part of your learning, but God-love, which is inclusive and infinite. In order to truly understand what this ‘love’ is, part of the challenge of being human is that you will also have to experience and explore its opposite; what love is not.” ~ Seane Corn
Seane Corn is the real deal.
She is the alignment genie, the guru of emotional accountability, and the only yoga teacher I know who can pull off graciously saying f*ck and God in parallel sentences.
Her talent and rawness lends her to being one of the most gifted yoga teachers in North America.
Six years ago, I had no idea who she was. I was on the cusp of my yoga teacher training and had randomly ordered a DVD of hers to clean up my practice.
From the moment I started listening, her words hit home:
“For us to be able to do the work we need to do in the world, to be able to hold that light for spirit and to serve that grace, we must cultivate self-love, self-compassion, self-forgiveness.”
Self-love? Self-compassion? Self-forgiveness? These were all things I had never been taught.
“Now my understanding of spirituality, of God, has always been quite simple; it’s everything that we embody that is of truth and love, everything that we embody. So everything that we’ve been looking for, seeking, searching, begging, praying—it already exists right now beneath your hands. Do you have any idea how close you are to God?”
It was like she saying this directly to me. She reminded me that I was close to God. That God actually remembered me—and all the while, I thought I’d been forgotten.
This ethereal feeling crept up. I cried, I hurt; emotions swam to the surface. She was voicing things I longed to hear and that every part of my being knew to be true.
This was the beginning of my yoga teacher love affair. After 20 years of studying the craft, I had found my muse.
That was half a decade ago and ever since, I have maintained (mostly) a weekly commitment to downloading a class of hers. They aren’t easy either, and often, I have to wrestle with myself to get to the mat.
A few years ago, I did a 7.5-hour intensive training with Off the Mat Into the World. This is a non-profit foundation that Seane and fellow founders created to bridge the gap between the yoga community and activism—essentially, to create leaders who take accountability for themselves so they are able to come off the mat, into the world, and create change.
I learned so much.
I had never asked myself questions like: “Where in my life am I speaking my truth?” and “When is the first time you realized you were of a particular race?” Growing up in a liberal household, I had never even considered the pecking order of different races and the ranking of being a man versus a woman.
The emphasis of looking at our shadow sides was also a powerful part of the training. I knew there was a dark side to me, that there were sad, angry, and lost places in me—I knew my shadow existed. What I didn’t understand was how much I disconnected from that shadow and what this cost me.
Suddenly, it became transparent—how we all disconnect. Call it blaming, call it shopping, call it over-eating, all the isms and distractions, it’s all the same thing: disconnect.
What would happen if we lived in a world where we stopped running from the things that bring us pain? How could we better show up for ourselves and the people around us?
It is this profound awareness that shocked me: The individual questions about our relationship to self are the catalysts which will lead us toward finding out how we contribute to problems on a global level.
This is the gift of the foundation and Seane’s teachings.
Seane asks to us elevate our practice; not by doing handstands or saying namaste to everyone we meet, but by learning how to show up for ourselves—learning that we are the work.
If we choose to acknowledge the things we have historically learned to separate from in our bodies, minds, and lives, and to bring them to the light, our potential is endless.
The last time I saw Seane, I had plans to share with her how much she changed my life and what her work has meant to me. I got to the front of the long line of students waiting to get their photo with her and I gaped, blurting out “I love you!” She returned the sentiments—unconditional love. Thanks, beauty.
Author: Kristen Dobson
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Danielle Beutell