Interview with Janet Stone
A Path of Devotion
Janet Stone is an iconic figure in the Yoga world today - she inspires through her multifacteted, contemporary, yet deeply rooted and traditional approach to sharing the practice. We had a chance to catch up with her radiant self to chat about her new EP, Path of Devotion (available on Itunes now!), what her daily practice looks like, and how she manages it all: being a mother, a Yoga teacher, practitioner, a musician, an activist...read on to become inspired by these wise, humble and grounded words!
Supersoul.yoga: You call the Yoga that you teach ‚a living practice' - what does this mean?
Janet Stone: Yoga as a living practice is just that. We are living here in the modern time with all of the forces of distraction, choice, technologies, families, and responsibilities. How can these ancient practices developed thousands of years ago apply? This is the constant question for me. I want to live these practices in the way that I parent, partner, make money, and move through the world. You will see me looking to the ancient texts to understand my mind and the complexities of finding presence and centeredness in the midst of my life. The asana and mat time, well, that's a powerful template for how I can relate to the rest of my day.
SY: What does your daily Yoga practice look like?
JS: My daily practice is both deeply regimented and exceptionally flexible. Over the decades that I've held a practice, I'd say that consistency is the absolute key to the practices of Yoga. Showing up again and again and again, in all the season, shades, temperatures, and times of life. You'll find me early in the morning doing a form practice, with pranayama, meditation, simple asanas that wake me up from the ground up. I will also offer 9 sun salutations with prostration (danda pranam, or full front body on the earth) as it allows me to ritualize this day and give over some of my egoic push...allowing the grace of life itself to flow into me.
SY: Everything that you do is so impressive and inspiring: you are a mother, a Yoga teacher, practitioner, a musician, an activist, -and most of the time you are on the road in one of those many roles! How do you manage it all?
JS: Wait? Am I managing it all?
My management tools fall more into the river of trust and flow...I also have an amazing Hanuman team around me, supporting, organizing, lifting up so that I can give my children, my practice, the environment, music, and my teachings all of the attention.
Also, well, I love what I do: mothering, practicing, teaching, honoring mother earth, making music, writing, and dancing through it all. AND, I fall down at times, thinking I can do more than I'm able. I over commit and then things fall through the cracks. So, it's always a work in progress and I don't like to give any impression that I somehow have it all magically figured out, like Beyonce. Nope, I'm just a human doing the best I can to honor the gift of each day.
SY: You've just released a beautiful new 4-track EP called ‚Path of Devotion' to rave reviews. This is your second album, (We love the first one!) Can you tell us a bit about your love for music
JS: Oh, music, sweet music! How it dives below the surface of reason and directly into the heart. It enlivens and reminds me of some interconnectivity with each living thing.
SY: Please tell us more about the process of creating this EP?
JS: The latest album/EP came alive through a mutual love of the practice. And through a willingness to not be a polished and perfect singer and just offer what a love of a practice sounds like. I am no "singer" and yet you'll hear my voice is filled with the remembrance of my heart and in a sense the heart of all beings.
Then there was the meeting with Nat Kendall, who has an equal passion for mantra and a deep history in music as a performer, producer, and even working at Pandora. It was based on simplicity and we recorded in empty bathtubs, in our yoga home, in my bedroom, and in my living room while my children argued in the background. It was organic to say the least.
SY: How did you choose the four Mantras (Ganesha, Om Mani Padme Hum, Hare Krishna and Guru mantra)
JS: To call in a language that is not my own gets me behind the intellectualizing mind and drops me into a resonance. Sanskrit is thought to be one of the oldest languages and to offer words/sounds that carry potent meaning and have been called across hundreds to thousands of years through a ripple of human life. In that way, they carry that power of all beings who've called these mantras before me. Whether the express and intent to remove obstacles, or call out for clarity of mind, for a reminder of the sweetness in our own hearts...they hold great power.
SY: How do you curate a life that you love?
JS: To curate a life you love has been for me, taking great risks, being willing to stay grounded during the down times and the up. To continually stay connected to my deepest intention and then follow that thread into action.
SY: Share something with us that surprises and delights!
JS: What surprises and delights? Oh, the sound of my children's laughter, their warm arms around me, dancing, every single sunset/sunrise, music that slips in there and wakes me up in all ways and our earth and her power to hold us all and feed us every single day.