Seane Corn is a globally acclaimed yoga instructor and spiritual activist, as well as author of the book Revolution of the Soul. Using experience from her personal life and as a yogi, she came by Better Together in 2020 to discuss grief, trauma, and their healing processes. Whether you’re just beginning your journey or bring years of practice to the table, Seane has tips for anyone interested in spiritual transformation.
Seane’s Steps Toward Spiritual Transformation
Accepting Loss & Welcoming Grief
Death is a regular part of life, yet western society has not normalized the conversation surrounding loss like other cultures have embraced it as a kind of celebration. It is seen as a form of transformation, acknowledged and ritualized in a nurturing way. Our culture looks at it as a finale, but communicating thoughts and feelings around the question “What does loss mean?” can help create a welcomed space for the topic and in turn, make more people comfortable with the idea. To grow from the loss of her own father, Seane had to be present with the trauma in her body, and knowing she’s still carrying his weight around in her own experiences helps. Suppressing any level of grief means to deny any of our own vulnerabilities. The more we are open with talking about it, the easier it will be to empathize with others. And ultimately, having your own experience with grief and allowing its following thought processes will help prepare you for the inevitable.
Addressing Trauma Head-On
Our bodies are made of energy, both noticeable and subtle, which even then you can feel through love, joy, hate, shame, etc. When people hear the word “trauma,” most think of shock — things like rape, murder, and violent acts. However, there’s also developmental trauma that’s experienced through growing up. As Seane puts it, it’s “anything that overwhelms our capacity to cope, and leaves us feeling helpless, hopeless, out of control, or unable to respond,” and everyone carries their own traumas with them. In overwhelming moments and triggers, people experience different reactions as a way to create safety and control. In those moments of body contractions, Seane advises to think of the information behind your trauma — the rage, fear, guilt, grief, shame — as a narrative, a story that’s imprinted within ourselves. While we’re often taught to self soothe (which typically results in unhealthy coping mechanisms) or to shame away our feelings, we should instead discharge that negative energy and release it in individual safe spaces. As Seane puts it, that over looming shadow is a teacher for us, and “our anger is what will teach us forgiveness, our shame will teach us acceptance.” To come out into the light with compassion and empathy, you must first understand that darkness. Recognizing it, allowing yourself to feel vulnerable, means to stop personalizing it so much and see that everyone is doing the best they can with their lived experiences and trauma. Seane sums it up perfectly: “Somebody has to change, so I have to dismantle the systems within myself that project rage, hate, or shame onto another without seeing and experiencing their humanity. Once I can do that, then maybe I can actually contribute to the healing of this planet.”
Finding Your Tools & The Power of Yoga
There can’t be enough emphasis on finding the coping tools that work for you, whether you’re in grief or generally overwhelmed. Find that solid emotional support system and use resources to your advantage, no matter if it’s therapy, grief support counseling, or just a good friend/family member. Talking it through with others again normalizes the idea of self-caregiving and affirms you are not alone. As you go through that caregiving, Seane says to continually ask yourself: What would love do? The answer will guide you to make the right decision, including letting go and saying goodbye. A great tool to dispel the negative energy is yoga, which Seane describes as “magic with a K.” When you practice yoga, you shift your body’s energy, transforming contraction into expansion and fear into faith. Often, there’s layers of tension to work through before you can feel your vulnerability because your body remembers everything, there’s no separation between your body and mind. Yoga helps you to connect with this and understand it better, teaching your nervous system how to titrate and face fears while maintaining an energetic boundary within yourself. Different poses and exercises work as a road map where you find strength and work through each chakra energy. With deep breaths and dedicating your time, your body will adjust and acclimate. Don’t worry about rushing into the practice because spirituality is a lifelong journey. When your body and psyche is aligned and ready, the right teacher will find themself to you. Teachers who are “priestesses” in this type of work are invaluable and will help guide your soul towards a supportive, healing path. In Seane’s own words, “I can’t know the collective until I understand the individual, so yoga gives a pathway to allow you to be in relationship to all of it.”