Janet Stone’s yoga journey began at 17 under Maharaji, her meditation teacher, whose reverence for simplicity and joy live on in her practice and teachings to this day. She shares from the depth of her own sadhana (sustained practice), her studentship in the eight-limbed path, her creative approach to asana, and her reverence for bhakti (devotional, heart-centered yoga, including chanting mantra). With over thirty years in studentship to the practice and twenty years of teaching, Janet offers classes that challenge students to investigate what they think they know, to hold compassion for what they discover within themselves, and to remember presence, the long view and the radical depth of our interconnectedness.
In 1996, Janet traveled to India, the birthplace of her grandfather, and became dedicated to the path of yoga. Based in San Francisco, California, she now shares the teachings through retreats, workshops, teacher trainings, an online platform, and three devotional albums filled with heart-centered mantra.
In Janet’s Words:
I came of age on some wonderful, wild hippie land in Northern California. Mine was a childhood spent rescuing orphaned animals (everything from racoons to deer to birds to snakes), milking goats, eating homemade tofu, cleaning cages, baling hay, swimming naked, dancing freely, and feeling naturally connected to both the land I grew up on and the broader earth it was a part of—an experience that informs my life and my teachings to this day.
A move to Oregon expanded our farming life and its accompanying attention to—and care for—the earth. It’s also where I immersed myself further into dance and became the lead dancer at a company. Our next move to Boulder, Colorado introduced me to all manners of moving over this great planet: mountain biking, snowboarding, windsurfing, motorcycle-riding. It also led me to my meditation teacher, Maharaji. I took work as a lifeguard and an EMT on an ambulance, and continued my environmental sustainability pursuits. After a year-long solo move to Paris introducing me to late nights, museums, and pastries, I found myself back in Colorado to care for my vibrant 45-year-old father, who was battling brain cancer. The cancer won, taking my guiding light. My response was to run off to Hollywood where I spent nearly a dozen inspiring years in film and TV production, writing scripts, working for the company* that made Seinfeld and Larry David’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. When I wasn’t working, I was connecting with, and healing, the loss of my father through mountain biking, surfing, and—above all—time on my meditation mat.
After nearly a decade of meditation as my primary practice, I took a break from Hollywood in 1996 and headed out on a life-changing solo journey around the world. Egypt, Southeast Asia, New Zealand, Nepal, Fiji, and India were a few stops along this sojourn of profound personal transformation. India, in particular, was where I found my greatest connection. It was there that I was able to explore the birthplace of my grandfather and several generations before him. I’d grown up hearing stories of this wildly foreign land; and placing my own two feet on the ground there helped make sense of where I’d come from… though it didn’t prepare me at all for the internal seismic shift that took place in the halls of the Shivananda ashram, or wandering the land guided by every interaction.
Returning to Los Angeles, I steeped myself in the community that included Bryan Kest, Max Strom and other teachers centered around Yoga Works, Sacred Living, and the dance home above Radio Shack (yep, it was that long ago). Time, fate, and love guided me to Northern California in 2001, where I’ve been ever since, raising my two daughters and cultivating a rich yoga sangha (community). I couldn’t have fathomed the power a single community could have—and could create—in its willingness to set down defenses and performances, and to show up fully and courageously, again and again.
San Francisco has been both my home base and my launching pad as I’ve continued to travel, sharing the practices with students and yoga teachers across the globe. The deep reverence for this earth instilled in me by that early Northern California landscape still informs my practice; and—along with asana and bhakti—I teach compassion and kindness toward all living things, inner and outer sustainability, and environmental advocacy. I’m humbled by the gifts and opportunities offered to me by my teachers and by this practice. It is my life’s work to honor what has come before me, and to offer the teachings with all the integrity I have.