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Revolution of the Soul > Revolution of the Soul First Half of Book

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message 1: by Meryl (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 807 comments Mod
Hi all:

I hope some of you are reading Seane Corn's Revolution of the Soul. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much introspection and sharing Seane does; I had been worried it might be too much of a yoga name-dropping memoir, but it's hardly that at all.

Here are prompts for section one, which is a bit more than the first half of the book. Please don't give away anything that happens in section two here. I'll post prompts for that section and the whole book in about a week.

As always, feel free to ignore my prompts and just riff about your opinion of the first half. This is all done for fun--it is not school : )

1) The book starts with her time in New York City during the ealry '80s. Seane readily admits to lots of drinking, drugging, skimming money from her job, and feeling adrift. Later, she admits to having severe OCD--picking at the skin on her feet, having to be touched in a pattern. Does all of this surprise you? During this time, she learns from her friend Billy, who is dying of AIDS, that God is everywhere, that "when we judge others, we disconnect not only from those we judge but from our highest Self--the God within." (P. 18) Do you agree with him?

2) Seane first discovers yoga when her bosses David Life and Sharon Gannon and fellow worker Eddie Stern (all later become well-known yogis in New York; Eddie's book is the one we read this summer) suggest she check out Integral Yoga (where I actually taught yoga in the late '80s--maybe I even taught her!). She describes an intense experience she got after leaving a class one day: "Nothing has changed, I still have no sense of purpose, but somehow I know it will all work out....I am immensely grateful." (P. 48) Have you ever had an elevating experience like this after yoga? If yes, describe how you felt. Seane admits that these kinds of moments don't last ("the next day when I wake up, the anxiety's back.") but this time instead of drinking, doing drugs, or looking for sex, she goes to yoga. Do you sense this is the turning point in her life and career?

3) Only after she goes to therapy does she realize her sexual molestation at age 6, plus other times she was cat-called and bothered on the streets, have deeply affected her. Have you had any experiences yourself that, only in retrospect, have you realized have been crucial to your development? Seane turns to yoga to allow herself to be present to what comes up--and sometimes those emotions are intense--even crying and vomiting at points. Why do you think yoga brings up such emotions?

4) What do you think of the set-up of the book, where memoir-style reminiscences are interspersed with pages of teachings? Did you enjoy reading these various teachings, on the yamas/niyamas, chakras, etc. In "teachings from the mat," Seane talks about buried negative emotions, aka our shadow. "Unless we process these deeper emotions, they stay within us and impact our life and our. health, or they get projected outward, affecting our relationships and our work in the world. You can't run from what is within you. The shadow self is not bad; all it's asking is to be understood." (P. 94) Do you relate to this?

5) Seane decides to look for a guru in India. While there, she believes she is sexually assaulted by renowned guru Pattabhi Jois. Other followers of his dismiss her concern, saying an esteemed yoga master would never do this. (In recent years, many other women have come forward with similar stories.) This, along with disappointments with other potential gurus, makes Seane realize she needs to be her own guru. Do you yourself have a guru? Do you think they are helpful or potentially harmful in our Western society?

6) In the last chapter in this section, she goes to a woman, Mona Miller, who believes you must directly process buried emotions (by screaming, hitting things, etc). She says yogis are too eager to bypass this stage, believing it's enough to dispassionately observe emotions without actually feeling them. This "spiritual bypass" is something others have critiqued yogis for. Do you think it's necessary to "rinse" the emotions, or is being aware of them enough?

7) What do you think of the book so far? Do you have any sense for what the second section will be about?


message 2: by Meryl (last edited Sep 22, 2019 09:34AM) (new)

Meryl Landau (meryldavidslandau) | 807 comments Mod
I'm going to answer a couple of my own questions:

1) I enjoyed Seane's brutal honesty about her life. Too often yoga masters want to paint themselves as perfect from the start. I enjoy how much real-world pain and drifting Seane admits to, which makes her relatable.

2) As I mentioned above, I taught at Integral Yoga in New York in the '80s. Seane's descriptions of the classes there are not accurate, and this caused me to question her memory of other things in her life. She says Integral Yoga is like Sivananda Yoga, which is true only in that the founders of both methods were disciples of Swami Sivananda in India. But the way the classes unfold are different--Integral does not start with breathing practices (it ends with them), does not encourage everyone to wear white to yoga class, even her description of kicking off her shoes in the lobby/bookstore and being directed to class there (instead of in the women's locker room one floor above) are not accurate. They are small things, but they add up to a person who is reconstructing her memory based on Sivananda classes she has subsequently taken, rather than recalling properly from the first.

4) I am enjoying the separation of her memoir style with the teachings. Too many yoga books are all teachings. Getting to know Seane as a flawed human being (and one with a flawed memory, lol) makes the teachings more powerful.

6) I agree that too many yogis try to use the witness mind of yoga to avoid feeling intense feelings. I think it's important to feel those feelings and not let them get locked inside your muscles and fascia, as too many are. But then yoga helps us move beyond this, so we're not stuck in the past more than is necessary.

7) I'm enjoying the book so far. I'm eager to see what section two is about, because I didn't get a sense for what's to come when I finished section one.

message 3: by Rhonda (new)

Rhonda | 5 comments I am not much at keeping up and writing comments on here. I did however start the book. I‘m only a about 30 pages in but i am really enjoying it and look forward to reading the rest. Thank you for bringing this book to light. I look forward to finishing it and seeing what everyone thinks

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