Have you ever ended a long day by stretching your arms up, almost in slow motion, while taking a deep breath through a wide-open mouth? I do this all the time, and it never fails to invigorate me.
It’s relaxing, calming, and incredibly grounding. Nothing pulls you into the present moment and helps you let go of the past like fully embodying your body.
Yoga’s a lot like this—except you get to enjoy this sensation over a longer period of time, and reap even more physical and emotional benefits.
In addition to helping you build muscle strength, yoga prevents digestive problems and breakdown in your joints, improves your bone health, increases your blood flow, drops your blood pressure, and helps boost your immune system.
Yoga can also help you relax, focus, release stress, heal emotional pain, and feel better about yourself, as well as more present—which, in turn, can help you build more satisfying relationships.
I found yoga after a time in my life when I had hit rock bottom.
I was completely disconnected from myself, other people, and the world around me.
And I consistently numbed my emotions with food, booze, and cigarettes. It didn’t matter that these things made me feel physically sick a lot of the time; it was better than owning and feeling decades’ worth of repressed shame, fear, and regret.
Yoga changed my life. It helped me feel, heal, and get a lot stronger.
It helped me find a place of stillness in my mind, without actually having to sit still.
Most importantly, it helped me become more mindful and self-aware. I left every class feeling like someone had scrubbed the window in my brain, wiping away everything that prevented me from seeing myself and the world clearly.
Because I am such a huge proponent of yoga, I was excited to connect with renowned teacher and spiritual activist Seane Corn.
Not only have I enjoyed her yoga videos, I’ve also been inspired by her non-profit “Off the Mat and Into the World,” an organization that uses yoga as a tool for global transformation.
Since partnering with Udemy, a site that serves over 11 million students through more than 40,000 online courses, I’ve explored a few of their offerings, searching for courses that might interest Tiny Buddha readers. I believe Seane Corn’s The Yoga of Awakening course course fits the bill.
I’m grateful that Seane took the time to answer some questions about herself and her work, and also that she offered a 30% discount on her course for Tiny Buddha readers.
1. You’ve been studying, practicing, and teaching yoga for the past twenty years. What event or sequence of events made you decide to start a yoga practice?
I was introduced to yoga by the owners of a café that I worked at in 1986 in NYC called Life Café. The owner, David Life and his partner Sharon Gannon, would go on to open the famous Jivamukti Yoga Center. Through them I learned about the philosophy of yoga and was encouraged to practice.
When I first began, it was solely for the physical benefits. I wanted to become stronger, more flexible, and healthier. In time, the practice not only transformed the relationship I had with my body, it helped ground and center me, made me less reactive and more present and, in time, helped me to develop a deeper and more profound connection with Spirit.
In 1992 I moved to Los Angeles, and I began working as a receptionist at Yoga Works in 1994. There I had more access to a variety of different styles of yoga and teachers. This diversity of practice greatly impacted me. That same year I did my first teacher’s training and began teaching shortly after that.
2. In your opinion, can yoga change lives? Where are you now that you wouldn’t be without yoga?
Yes, yoga can absolutely change your life! The practice provides physiological, psychological, and spiritual tools that can support true shifts of consciousness and resources to help guide choices, alter perspective, and heal emotional wounds.
This practice can empower us to experience ourselves and the world around us as more connected and encourage us to contribute to creating a world that is happier, healthier, and more peaceful for all.
It’s hard to imagine where I would be in my life without yoga since it has been my dedicated lifestyle for thirty years and has influenced the choices I have made along the way.
I imagine though, that without the practice, I would have been more reactive and dramatic. I imagine I would’ve held grudges longer and had a more difficult time forgiving others, as well as myself, and wouldn’t be as interested in giving back to my community the way I am now.
3. What was the most life-changing observation you made while studying yoga throughout India?
The most life changing observation that I made while studying in India is the importance of ritual.
India is a culture that begins each day and marks every important moment with ritual and prayer. This was something that I was not raised with, and I was so drawn the power of acknowledging the sacred in all moments—the miraculous or mundane.
From that point on, prayer and ritual became important in my life and influenced the way I teach.
4. What initial pointers would you give a new student who wants to achieve healing and emotional wellness, but is unsure of whether a yoga practice can help?
I would recommend patience to anyone new coming in to yoga. It is a practice that meets you where you are at and, slowly, as you become ready, can reveal insights and revelations.
When the body opens, so does the mind. When the mind opens, perspective changes. When perspective shifts, healing is possible. When healing reveals itself, the heart expands. It is this expansion of heart that allows us to experience ourselves and each other as love, and as one.
5. What are three quick pick-me-up tips you’d give anyone having a stressful day?
Breathe! Then lay on your back with your legs up the wall and close your eyes for at least ten minutes. Rub lavender oil on your hands and take ten deeps breaths of it.
6. You’re known as an inspiration to multitudes. Do you always feel like an inspiration, or do you have some lower-energy days too? What do you usually do to re-energize yourself?
No, I don’t always feel like an inspiration. Like anyone, I have days where I feel stressed or overwhelmed.
I have six non-negotiable practices that help me to maintain my center, increase my energy, and open my heart. They include yoga, meditation, prayer, therapy, a healthy vegan diet and sleep. When I commit to these practices, I can count on feeling grounded, healthy, and positive.
7. What would you recommend to someone who has repressed unresolved emotions, but a fear of confronting them?
If you have the resources, find a therapist and work with someone who can help guide you and give you emotional reflection and the psychological resources necessary for growth.
If you don’t have the resources, know that there are many books available that can help you to understand the mind/body connection (like Eastern Body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith) and that practices like yoga and meditation can help give you the physical grounding and the emotional strength necessary for safe inner exploration and healing.
8. What mantra do you try to live by daily?
“Thus far no further.” This is something I say to myself when I want to change a behavior or action. I do not want to contribute to anything that creates more pain, suffering, or separation in the world, so it becomes a reminder to myself to change my behavior.
9. What will people gain from taking your Yoga of Awakening course?
I hope that by practicing to The Yoga of Awakening people can develop the physical, emotional, and spiritual tools necessary to help manage stress; reframe personal narratives that are unhealthy and disempowering; and empower them to remember who they really are—which is love—and that they are already whole and deeply connected and bonded to each other and this planet by Spirit.
When we understand who we are and who we are to each other, we are more apt to make choices that support the happiness, sustainability, and peace for all beings everywhere. This program is about empowering ourselves, reframing our unhealthy narratives, letting go of limited beliefs, and extending our sincere good will and love to all.
From now until August 28th, you can get 30% off Sean Corne’s The Yoga of Awakening course course, brining the cost from $50 down to $35. All you need for this course is a computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. You don’t need any prior knowledge of yoga.
Continue your quest for knowledge with Udemy. Udemy offers thousands of courses on all kinds of topics, from business to writing to software engineering.
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About Lori Deschene
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. To strengthen your relationships, get her new book, Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges. For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter & Facebook.
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