Sean Feit Oakes, PhD

Welcome. This website contains material related to my work as a scholar-practitioner, weaving between academic research and community-based teaching. My research looks at the experience of subtle states of consciousness in Western contemplative arts, and works toward a robust, socially-inclusive Buddhist phenomenology. In my communities, I teach Theravāda Buddhism, Insight Meditation, and Haṭha Yoga as supports for personal liberation and social justice, working with practitioners of meditation, āsana, prānāyāma, devotion, and inquiry. I also write about current issues in Western Buddhist and Yoga communities, as well as art, performance, politics, and social issues. Shorter writing is on the blog and longer academic essays under Performance Studies.

No particular religious belief is necessary to practice with me, but my teaching is strongly rooted in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition as expressed in Thai Forest and Burmese Vipassanā lineages, with expansive influence from Śaiva Tantra and Vaiṣṇava Bhakti Yoga. All are welcome to come and explore the mystery of this human life together. My current teaching schedule is at the bottom of this page.

Central to my understanding and teaching of spiritual practice is the role of trauma and relational disruption in the process of self-knowledge and inquiry. Trauma comes in many forms, from physical harm through violence and accidents, to emotional harm in unsafe relationships, to the systemic harm all of us experience in cultures where racism, sexism, oppression, and the abuse of communities by rapacious social systems (consumer capitalism, toxic individualism, religious fundamentalism, intolerance) are the norm.

Wise action to heal trauma consists in addressing it wisely on all levels, including the personal and societal, and influences every level of spiritual development. My work in trauma resolution is strongly influenced by the work of Dr. Peter Levine (Somatic Experiencing), Dr. Stephen Porges (Polyvagal Theory), and my SE teacher and mentor Steven Hoskinson (Organic Intelligence). I see people with an ongoing practice of yoga or meditation for individual sessions, and teach on the relationship of trauma to Buddhist and Yoga practice.

Stay in touch if you’d like (email list and contact form), and I look forward to practicing with you sometime soon. Blessings always.


Teaching Schedule

Insight Meditation Satsang
Namaste Yoga & Wellness
2820 7th St, Berkeley
Tuesdays, 7:30-9:15pm

We sit in meditation, exploring different aspects of inner practice, and I offer a talk and discussion on an aspect of practice, generally from the Theravāda Buddhist tradition, but often integrating perspectives from Mahāyāna, Tantra, and Yoga as well, with digressions into politics and trauma.

Offered fully on donation, or “Gift Economy”, influenced by the beautiful Buddhist practice known as dāna (“giving”). Your generosity helps me offer practice somewhat outside the assumptions of the capitalist system, and others of lesser resources to be able to come.

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Intro to the History of Yoga: Philosophy, Practice, Transformation
Hatha YOga Shala East Bay
8 Thursdays, 9-11am
Part 1: July 20-Aug 10
Part 2: Sep 7-28

An 8-week course of foundational study of yoga from a historical perspective, exploring the “Classical Yogas” of the Buddha and Patañjali, the radical practice innovations that became Tantra and Haṭha Yoga, and the complex mix of ideas and lineages that became the forms we do today.

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Yoga Philosophy & Practice Intensive
Yoga Garden San Francisco
August 2017 Immersion (8/15-20), or
Fall 2017 Extended (10/7-8, 10/28-29, 11/18-19)

In this philosophy and practice intensive, we’ll look closely at two primary root texts of modern yoga: Patañjali’s Yoga Sūtra and Svatmarama’s Haṭha Yoga Pradīpikā. We will weave between historical context, close reading and discussion, and embodied practice.

These two texts teach a full range of yoga practice, including ethics, meditation, mindfulness, and personal inquiry; asana, pranayama, energetic cultivation, and the awakening of the feminine embodied force called kuṇḍalinī.

Exploring the roots of Haṭha Yoga in Tantra, we will also look briefly at an accessible tantric source text, Kṣemarāja’s Heart of Recognition.

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Trauma-Informed Yoga Teacher Training Core Module
Yoga Garden San Francisco, co-teaching with Karen Macklin
Sep 16-17, 2017

Many people come to yoga to help heal old wounds, both physical and emotional. In this workshop we will dive in deeper to help support students who have been affected by past trauma.

In this two-day teacher training, you will learn how the nervous system responds to stress and danger, and how that natural response is affected by trauma, often leading to states of anxiety and overwhelm..

We will explore specific yoga and meditation practices that can support healing and resilience. By the end of this training you will be able to create a trauma-sensitive yoga class that is appropriate for the general public and safe for students who are trauma survivors.