Seane Corn is busy. The Jersey-bred, California transplant who co-founded the
“Off the Mat Into The World” took a four-month sabbatical recently from a hectic schedule to begin writing her first book called The Yoga of Awakening. She’s coming to YogaWorks Soho on June 13th with her new workshop, “Radical Healing,” that will bring some ancient techniques into 21 century language through vinyasa. YogaCity NYC’s Karen Schwartz caught up with her to talk about her latest ventures.
Karen Schwartz: What is “Radical Healing?”
Seane Corn: The workshop is intended to be about accountability and personal responsibility. I want us to see if the stories we tell ourselves are true – and how those patterns of physical and psychological behavior keep us stuck and how, through the practices of yoga, meditation, prayer and reflection, we can really look at some of these narratives and see the way that becoming attached to those stories serves us and they way it also sabotages us from our own growth. We can begin to look at the narratives in a different way to become empowered, not in spite of them but because of them.
Obviously this isn’t a process that takes three hours and all of a sudden you’re fine, but it plants seeds so that there can be some reconciliation and movement forward.
KS: That sounds like a whole synthesis of narrative therapy, mindfulness work and yoga. How can that happen in vinyasa?
SC: What we’re taught is that there’s no separation between the mind and the body -- the body remembers everything. When events happen to us in our life and we don’t have the capacity or guidance to process the energy around it, then we hold onto that energy and that becomes tension. When you’re tense you become repressed or contracted, and it’s very hard to be open to themes like acceptance, self-responsibility or even forgiveness. But when your body is more relaxed it is easier to see a bigger picture, understand why things happen as they do and move towards acceptance That is what the vinyasa class will allow space for.
KS: How does it work?
SC: The practice will be more ritualized. There will be more prayer and intentionality set into the theme; we’ll use movement and breath to release the tension and then, toward the end, even more framework to try to reconcile some of one’s own personal narrative and how to release it.
KS: You said this is not something that will happen in the course of a 3-hour class . Does it involve other support systems?
SC: Oh yes. For radical healing to occur...it’s mind body and spirit, and if you have the privilege to be able to explore various healing modalities I recommend it - that includes therapy, breath work, yoga, diet. There’s all kinds of things we can introduce to create sustainability. The more self-care we can offer ourselves the more grounded and available we are to new information. Radical healing really comes when you can remain open to the different healing modalities that exist.
KS: Is this an outgrowth of the social justice work you’ve done?
SC: My work is an extension of my own personal experience around trauma. In getting
more articulate around training leaders to do social justice work [for Bent on Learning] it became very important for me to understand not just personal trauma but the way in which we can inherit trauma that impacts our belief systems.
KS: Do you see this as evolution on the spectrum of yoga? Are we changing the narrative?
SC: I see it as a contemporary languaging, but it was always there because yoga’s always been a healing practice. These themes that have existed for years and years are getting more nuanced. What we’ve often been taught in the practice of yoga is something called detachment. But detachment without awareness is dissociation and denial. I think that as we become more sophisticated we’re seeing that there’s a little bit of a gap between letting go of some of these samskaras or limited beliefs, and understanding them with empathy.
KS: You’re writing a book -- can you talk about it?
SC: The book is a lot of personal stories that lead to teachings. I’ve always been a storyteller and believe that narratives are very helpful so that people can visualize and understand these broader concepts. It’s not academic. But the book will also have practices that include meditation, prayer and asana practices. The broad themes will be yoga, transformation and social justice, and how to step into leadership from the inside out. The book will explore what it means to be radically honest about our own humanity so that we can actually stand in the presence of another soul without judgment. [Note: There is no publication date set, but the target is Fall 2017.]
KS: Are they your stories or are you bringing in other people’s stories?
SC: They’re mostly mine. Right now I’ve got a load of them -- who knew?! It runs the gamut -- love, heartbreak, intuition, all the things that I’ve experienced over the course of a 50-year lifetime and practicing yoga since the 80s, some of the synergy that came from me finding yoga. I think it’s relatable and a little edgy -- some of my most joyous and spiritual experiences have come from environments that someone else might find dark or dysfunctional, but I’ve been led on a very symbolic path.
For information and registration for the June 13th “Radical Healing” workshop at YogaWorks Soho, click here:
Karen Schwartz is a Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga facilitator and freelance writer. Visit her web site at www.mindfullivingnyc.com