Guidance and inspired yoga with Seane Corn at Wanderlust 2014 and learning how to embrace the light and the dark.
Wanderlust Oahu is coming back to the beautiful North Shore of Oahu in 2015, and we couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the event again this year! Wanderlust Oahu 2015 includes a great list of teachers and practitioners, but one I’m most excited about is yoga with Seane Corn, whom I had the chance to take my first class with last year.
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Seane has a deep understanding of the connection of yoga, psychology, personal growth, and how these tie into the bigger picture of life. In one of her classes last year, she spoke on the whole gamut of the human experience in a deeply compassionate way in the context of embracing the light and the dark.
Embracing the Light and the Dark
“If we are afraid of the light and the joy, or the darkness within ourselves, the shame and sadness, then there is no way we can hold sacred the experience within our soul. There’s no way we can be empathetic, understanding, or give a wide space for our own experience, whether we approve or not, whether we understand or not, if we don’t accept our whole self,” she said.
She illustrated this through a story from when she traveled to Uganda for a service trip, to visit a permaculture farm that housed and educated kids with HIV Aids. When the children of this permaculture farm came in for dinner, the director deliberately asked the children three poignant questions to offer a valuable lesson for us all:
- “What did you do today that made you happy or proud?” One by one, the children shared and cheered each other on, laughed, and the director smiled and nodded as each child shared their joy.
- “Children, I’m curious, what happened today that you weren’t proud of, or that made you feel angry, sad, or scared?” One by one, with the same enthusiasm, they shared little moments that were challenging or hard. One child shared how he had bullied another. Another child shared how she had stolen food that morning because she was afraid she wouldn’t have any for dinner. Another child shared how she was having a hard time sharing for fear of shame and guilt, until the other children encouraged her that she could. The director smiled and nodded with the same kind of enthusiasm to these responses as the responses to their joys and victories.
- “Children, what will you commit to tomorrow?” he asked. One by one, the children sat up straight and said, Love. Love. Love. Love.
Connecting to the Bigger Picture
After dinner, the director explained more about the reason for asking those questions, and how it relates to the practice of permaculture. “It’s important that the children get comfortable with who they are as human beings, both the light and the dark, because, if they cannot take ownership for their whole experience, they’ll carry that shadow into everything they do. And, that will influence the soil on the farm, influence the seed, and influence the whole experience.
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He was teaching the children to be as comfortable with their joy, as they are with their fear. The more comfortable we can get in our own humanity, we can also love each other without holding on to the burden of resentment, jealousy, and anger. “I’m teaching the children empathy for themselves and for others,” he said.
Everything influences and affects the whole. Everything in nature works in relationship. If any part of these relationships is disordered, it creates disharmony and imbalance. The quality of the seed is essential, as well as the quality of the soil that we’re planting the seed in, and so is the quality of the emotion and intention of the human being digging the ditch or planting the seed. And if that being is disordered, then its not permaculture; it’s just organic gardening, which has value, but it’s not ultimately sustainable. Sustainability is dependent on the harmony of relationships.”
Bringing Inspired Yoga to Your Daily Life
So what if we asked you, dear reader, to consider these questions and connections for yourself?
- What are you proud of and happy about?
- What griefs, disappointments, traumas, or shame do you hold within you, that may be keeping you blocked from your capacity for courage, love, or full-on human experience? What if you were able to better confront any difficult experiences with love and compassion? What energy would that open up for you?
- What will you commit to tomorrow?
As Seane said in her inspiring class: “Never ever be afraid of the depth of your shadow, for it only reflects the grace of your light. The more that we can get really comfortable in taking ownership of who we are, the more we’re able to truly stand in the presence of another being, in their light and their shadow, and truly honor them with an understanding of the human experience as it is.”
When we learn to question ourselves, breathe into these difficult spaces, we begin to witness the whole of our experience, for it has made us who we are. When we remember who we are, and who we are to each other, we live our lives according to this understanding. We’ll understand the power of this interdependency, and no longer contribute to the oppression that exists, to the imbalances that create pain and suffering in this world. The revolution begins within.
So, what will you commit to tomorrow? Love. Love. Love. Love, is the answer for us all.