Cover of "common ground" magazine, September 2017 issue, featuring a profile view of a woman in a yoga pose with text overlays about yoga and various articles.

September 2017

September is National Yoga Month

My interview this month with Seane Corn teaches valuable parables. Before going on to become one of yoga’s brightest stars, Seane was a crap high school student who shunned God. At 17 she moved to New York’s Lower East Side, took a lot of drugs, and waitressed at Life Café, an artsy neighborhood hangout. Her very first customer, after ordering coffee, overdosed in the bathroom. Seane’s brand of yoga is informed by the streets.

My favorite story is about Billy, who taught her to see God in unexpected places. Billy was an older black man who had been excommunicated from his church and family after coming to terms with his homosexuality. Billy and Seane befriended each other at an all-male sex club, where she was the only female employee. Three weeks after informing her that he had contracted AIDS, Billy died but not before imparting a life-changing lesson. Billy’s message helped propel Seane to earn her impeccable reputation—notably as an advocate of social service within the yoga community. She is cofounder of Off the Mat Into the World. Read the interview to get the full story.

This issue’s pictorial, My First Trip to India, are of my photos. It came about after a foiled effort to engage a real photographer’s images. I happened to call him this summer just as his upstairs neighbor’s plumbing was flooding his apartment. In fact he only answered my call because he thought I was the emergency plumber. We hurriedly agreed to speak in a week but after several unsuccessful attempts, I received an apologetic email explaining the circumstances and his unavailability.

At that moment I was sitting with a friend and decided to peek into a dusty old backpack that contained a stack of photos from my first visit to India. I had visited 20 years ago as a consequence of a motorsports accident and took about a dozen rolls with a borrowed camera. I hadn’t seen these in decades, but my friend liked them and urged me to use my images for the pictorial. I sheepishly agreed. It was a transitional pilgrimage at an innocent time.

I want to thank Maya Breuer for her much-needed essay about the Black Yoga Teachers Alliance. Equally, Tias Little has given us a thoughtful essay “The Subtle Body.” We thank Matt Licata for his piece, “Illuminating the Shadows: A Radical Act of Kindness.”

Thank you, Jackie Barshak, for your important reminder that yoga isn’t just for the agile in “Accessible Yoga: Opening Doors to All Abilities, Sizes, and Shapes.” On the lighter side, Monnet Zubieta gives us “Laughter Yoga: It’s No Joke,” while Kristen Fischer contributed a beautifully illustrated intro to kids yoga by instructing us about five childfriendly animal poses.

As ever, please show your appreciation of Common Ground by patronizing its advertisers and consider becoming (or recommending a friend to become) an advertiser. This is how a free community magazine exists in a world dominated by multibillion-dollar media conglomerates.

We look forward to seeing you at the wonderful events coming our way. Our hearts go out to the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

In Service,


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