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A World Beyond Yoga

January 07, 2008|Janet Cromley

Seane Corn

Age: 41

Occupation: Yoga instructor and community activist

Why she matters: Has channeled the goodwill of the yoga community into funding charitable causes.

Corn wants to save the world, and she's off to a good start. In the last decade, she has evolved from simply a driven yoga instructor into a committed community organizer and charity worker.

She's been practicing yoga for more than 20 years, and teaching it since 1994. Her classes, which blend vigorous vinyasa yoga with visualization and prayer, have gained a devout following -- and the media have taken notice. She's been featured in Glamour, Fitness, Self and Allure magazines and has been tapped by Nike to appear in national commercials and print campaigns.

But a few years ago, she found her true passion -- helping at-risk youth. Since 2005, she has raised an estimated $300,000 for YouthAIDS, a nonprofit health services organization that serves at-risk young people ages 15 to 24 in 70 countries.

"I started to recognize that the yoga community is 20 million people," says Corn, "and here you have these openhearted people trying to make a difference in their own lives. What would happen if we came together and used our resources, our time and our energy to serve a cause or a crisis?"

Last year she co-founded Off the Mat, Into the World, a fundraising and leadership training program designed to promote outreach and service efforts among individuals in the yoga community. One of the group's projects is a trip to an orphanage in Cambodia, with participants paying $20,000 each to perform charitable work there, such as building a well, with Corn. Ninety percent of the funds will go to the Cambodian Children's Fund, and the remaining 10% will go to a scholarship fund for inner-city teachers.

She's also launched a yoga program at Children of the Night, a nonprofit shelter for adolescent prostitutes.

"I never would have thought 15 years ago that I would have developed a sense of purpose around service the way that I have," she says. "And it took me many years of yoga and guidance to help direct me into that part of my passion today."

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