Seane Corn: Yoga for Social Change

Posted by Erin Ward on

Seane Corn is an international yoga teacher, traveling around the world for over 20 years teaching. See Seane and other luminaries at Wanderlust Squaw Valley, July 20-23. 


Seane Corn has been an internationally known figure in the yoga community for over 20 years, celebrated for both her unique teaching and her work in the social justice space. After moving to New York City and working as a waitress, Seane discovered asana practice and started on her path of self-inquiry. Having studied with some of the most revered teachers in the space—it was Sharon Gannon and David Life who introduced her to the practice—Seane today is one of the most sought-after teachers in the world.

But it’s not only Seane’s dance-like expression and eloquently articulated philosophy that make her stand out. Seane has lived and taught from a place of commitment to change and harmonious living for every being. She demonstrates the power of intention combined with intelligent activation in creating a world we all want to live in.

Yogic Philosophy as Social Change

Around 2007, Seane began her journey organizing spiritual activism and implemented the idea of using yoga as a platform for social change into her teaching and what would become her career.

“I had a moment,” Seane said, “when I realized I wanted to engage the yoga community in conscious and right action and encourage people to get involved in what they care about.” From this place of passion for social justice Seane began teaching spiritual activism workshops for yogis. She found through her early experience in yoga activism that she was able to inspire the community to action, yet lacked the infrastructure and resources to organize and turn that inspiration into action. There was fire, but not necessarily a place to direct the burning to make an impact.

It was when Seane went into partnership with the Engaged Network that her non-profit Off The Mat Into the World was born. Along with Suzanne Sterling and Hala Khouri, Seane created a leadership training program that uses the power of yoga to facilitate social change through a deep process of self examination. This process helps move an individual toward their purpose as well as a greater understanding of the state of the world.

Now More Than Ever

With the current cultural climate being one of tension in light of the recent controversial election, Seane believes that now more than ever Off The Mat can provide the structure and training people need to be a part of beneficial change. “I want to encourage people in knowing that their participation is essential for social change so we can create a world that is peaceful for everyone.”

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In the past, Off The Mat led Seva trips around the world during which participants traveled to underserved areas in order to directly serve populations in need. After years of leading immersive service experiences, Seane and her team have altered their focus based on what they’ve learned from years of community activism. Seane and her team are now leading smaller excursions of what she calls “learning and listening trips,” in which OTM partners with an educator to learn about the culture they are visiting. The first step to service is to develop cultural sensitivity and connection. Last year, Seane took a group to Cuba to learn about the history and current status of social need, and in 2017 Seane will be taking a group to North Dakota to learn from and about the Lakota Native Americans and the current hardships they are facing.

When choosing what causes to support, Off The Mat assesses where bias and discrimination are most present and what social issues are most pressing. They partner with organizations who are already on the ground working to create change and provide additional resources to catalyze growth. With so many social justice issues on the table, OTM goes to where they are needed most, especially when it is timely. Most recently, OTM has turned their efforts towards supporting the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Come Together

Off The Mat is not only an in person immersive leadership training, but additionally can be taken in an online format. The goal for Seane and her team is to make their training accessible to as many people as possible. The more people who undergo the training, Seane notes, the more people working towards a better world.

In order to allow more people access to the OTM trainings, Seane and her team are holding events to raise money for scholarships funds. One such event is the upcoming collaboration with musician and activist Nakho at Wanderlust Hollywood. The duo will lead a night of yoga, meditation, music, and connection. When talking about the evening Seane expressed that the theme of the night is community. “People need a place to come together and pray… We hope we can help people to feel activated and excited about the future again.”

Nahko, a social and political activist in his own right, is an advocate for indigenous populations and is outspoken about the importance of respecting cultural traditions. As Seane describes him, “he is pure rock and roll with soul and intention.” Seane also noted her excitement in partnering with someone whose inspiring lyrics along with musical innovation take people into a sacred space while promoting positive affectation out in the world.

erin wardErin Ward is a freelance writer, yoga teacher, and navigator at Wanderlust Hollywood. 

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