The first thing you notice about Seane Corn is her hair, a mane of wavy blond locks that frames her youthful and open face. And as she leads you through a vigorous vinyasa yoga class, her whole being is quite open. She lays it on the line: yoga is hard physical work that can take you places emotionally and spiritually if you stay present on the mat.
Seane knows your thighs are burning in Warrior 1, but she encourages you to stay with the breath and empower yourself. In fact she's named one of her signature classes "Empower Yoga" for that very reason. The name is a play on Power Yoga — a fast-paced, physical variety that can sometimes shortchange the spiritual aspect of yoga.
Seane is, however, equal parts spiritual and profane. She easily discusses the extra challenge your yoga practice might face when not being able to take your morning "poop" before hitting the mat. She will tell you that twists stimulate your kidneys, helping you to cleanse your system, and she will explain that yoga can help you stop running from your demons. This woman believes in the power of yoga to transform lives. And not just your own. Seane has created a nonprofit, Off the Mat and Into the World, to encourage yogis to raise money; this year her organization is raising money to build a bakery in South Africa.
Hear more of what Seane has to say when you continue reading.
I was able to take a two-hour class with Seane at the Yoga Journal conference, and if you have the chance to study with her, I encourage you to do so. Her class was equal parts physical, spiritual, and educational — she talked at length in many poses on how to protect the low back while fully realizing the pose, saying: "We bend where we're soft not where we're hard. It is the law of compensation." Further explaining how we compress the vertebrae of the low back in hip openers, "giving the illusion that you have flexibility. You do this in 88 poses per class and eventually the back becomes venerable." Seane used the images of pulling the sacrum in but not tucking.
Another message from Seane that I have been able to use both on and off the mat is this simple statement about the importance of breath. "If you're not breathing deeply and concentrating on the breath, odds are you're not present. You start to disengage from the experience and disassociate." This has been helpful when counting 20 breaths in shoulder stand and when negotiating hair washing with my youngest child.
You can experience Seane in the comfort of your own living room with her DVD Vinyasa Yoga Flow, one of my fave yoga videos for home practice.