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Yoga Off the Mat Founder Seane Corn Takes on QAnon Conspiracy Theories
Seane Corn, a popular yoga teacher, author, and wellness influencer from Los Angeles, noticed a disturbing new trend on her social media feeds a few weeks ago: members of the wellness community were posting QAnon-related content.
QAnon is a fringe movement that spreads conspiracy theories about the U.S. government, including claims that the government is secretly run by a group of Satan worshippers and pedophiles. The QAnon group has gained more prominence in far-right politics in the last few years among Donald Trump’s supporters and has now become popular with groups outside of Trump’s hardcore base, such as people interested in natural health and those who oppose vaccines. On October 12th, the House of Representatives passed a resolution condemning QAnon. House Rules Chairman Jim McGovern, a Democrat Representative from Massachusetts, called QAnon a “collective delusion,” adding “We all must call it what it is: a sick cult.”
QAnon and the Yoga Community
Many followers of QAnon spread content disguised as something else entirely. In fact, most of the social media posts that Seane Corn noticed did not specifically refer to QAnon. Some made appeals to stop child sex trafficking, while others posted messages discouraging people from wearing masks and presenting unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about COVID-19. These messages were packaged inside pretty, pastel squares popular in the feeds of Instagram wellness influencers.
Corn and many members of the wellness community are rightly disturbed by the growing tide of alt-right propaganda within their circle. They are concerned that the QAnon movement is harnessing yoga and wellness spaces to push their agendas by using cult psychology tactics to spread their messages cleverly packaged as wellness content.
The Yoga Community Speaks Out
A joint statement published on social media by various members of the wellness community, including Corn, stated, “We are aware that QAnon originated on the dark web of hate and white supremacy, and have repackaged their message to appeal to spiritual communities. Don’t be fooled. The true intent of QAnon is to spread misinformation, blame, conflict, and sow racial division in our country.” The statement made it clear that “QAnon does NOT represent the true values of the wellness community.”
The same statement further claimed that QAnon was “taking advantage of our conscious community with videos and social media steeped with bizarre theories, mind control, and misinformation.” QAnon encourages extreme suspicion of conventional authority and advocates for individuals pursuing their own research and reaching their own conclusions. With its emphasis on open-mindedness, self-improvement, and pursuing the truth, members of the wellness community are particularly vulnerable to such tactics and rhetoric. Many fear that the QAnon group is weaponizing yogic principles to manipulate more and more people into joining them.
Corn points out that the QAnon motto, “Where we go one, we go all,” is typical “yoga speak.” She also claims that much of the QAnon related content she’s seen, such as a YouTube video calling President Donald Trump a “light healer,” seemed specifically tailored to attract the New Age crowd.
“They’re using the same music we might use in meditation classes,” Corn said, speaking about the music played during these videos. “It does things to the body; it makes you more available and open.”
She continues, “I’m afraid that well-meaning folks who don’t understand the complexity of this misinformation will be seduced” by the QAnon movement and their agenda. “They’re rolling out the yoga mat right now, and it scares me.”
Safe Space for Truth
Corn admits that, while she’s lost some followers after her anti-QAnon posts, she’s also gained many more and received positive feedback for speaking out and encouraging others to vote.
On her social media accounts, Corn is dedicated to creating a safe space for herself and her followers. She pledged to delete, restrict, or block users on her social media platforms if they post anything that is “racist, sexually violent, anti-semitic,” “uplifts white supremacy,” is “anti-science,” or attempts in any way to sow hate and encourage abuse.
“We can not separate yoga from politics or justice or racism or anything else that impacts the health, welfare, equity, freedom, and sustainability of any living soul,” writes Corn. “Yes, it’s uncomfortable and messy, but we already know that about change. Civic engagement IS a holy practice. It asks us to see the Divine in all and act in accordance to that shared divinity by making certain ALL are tended to, ALL are equal, ALL are loved. This means we serve. This means we VOTE. Why just stretch, when we can reach!”
Seane Corn perhaps expressed her stance most eloquently on her Instagram page when she wrote: “I stand for justice. For the equal rights of ALL beings. I am not neutral. Lives are at stake. You can’t ‘love and light’ this moment into peace. Action is necessary. Truth is required.”
Angela Sickler - Angela is a writer, editor, and content manager for YogaUOnline. She has an MA in English from Loyola University Chicago and is currently working on an MFA in Creative Writing.