A self-identified “global yoga warrior”, San Francisco-based vinyasa yoga teacher Janet Stone is passionate about passing on the wisdom of yoga, meditation and life. Yoga editor Ella Isakov speaks to Janet about yoga, uncovering the light within and parenting.
Parvati Magazine: You have been on this yogic path for 20 years. How has it brought you towards acceptance and ease within yourself?
Janet Stone: The teachings, as I understand them, speak repeatedly of an accepting of the whole of reality, the totality of both humanity and of the infinite which holds it all. The practice reminds me to embrace “all of it” and approach myself, my shortcomings and all, with more compassion and inclusion.
PMAG: What do the words “the light within” mean to you?
JS: We are all imbued with a light of awareness that illuminates our true nature, the nature that is beyond our name, our form, the stories we tell about ourselves and the world. [We can] move toward this internal light that is always there through thick and thin, ups and downs.
PMAG: How can the practice of yoga asana and philosophy help in moving towards embracing both the dark and light within, and how can this create greater joy and ease in one’s life?
JS: The body stores the wisdom of the Universe which holds the space for apparent opposites, all working in symphony to create this whole. Through asana we explore simultaneous expansion and contraction, grounding and rising, effort and surrender and so on. When we pay attention, this can allow us a direct and very embodied experience of unity in the face of seeming polarity.
We must include the shadow aspect of self; otherwise, we will never know wholeness. If we can look at our samskaras, our habits of behavior, those places and ways of being where we’re not our best and bring them to the light and air them out… well, then we can begin this practice in earnest. We all get the mighty gift of birth and we all get the mighty gift of death, so we might as well dance in all that these two things bring during this journey.
PMAG: You are a parent; how do you plant seeds for your daughters to embrace all of themselves, and does yoga play a part in teaching this to your daughters?
JS: I have found, personally, that the only thing that goes in and sticks with my daughters is what I model. The way I actually behave in ups and downs is what they learn in their cells. This means that the closer I am to living my practices of yoga, through my day-to-day actions, the more the practices and messages of self-acceptance live within them.
PMAG: You created the Stone Yoga School, and travel worldwide teaching teachers to delve deeper into Ayurveda, yoga philosophy and their own intuitive wisdom. What is the main message you wish to put forth as a teacher of teachers?
JS: We are all students of this life. The closer we stay to sadhana and a humble practice (whatever that may look like) and the more aligned we are with the teachings and living them, then the less we “teach” and the more we simply emanate the teachings through all of our actions. It becomes less telling people what to do and more living the practice.
Janet Stone blends the alchemy of her own practice with decades of studentship. She aspires not to teach but to allow the practice to emanate from her, letting awareness blend with movement and breath. Based in Bali and San Francisco, she leads Stone Yoga immersions, retreats, workshops. www.janetstoneyoga.com