Let what comes come Let what goes go And find out what remains. ~ Ramana Maharshi
I LOVE YOU
To everyone who crossed the threshold into the sanctuary of Yoga Tree Castro: I am humbled and grateful for each breath you took there, every intention you set at the door and on your mat, each drop of sweat you gave back to that place, what you put down, what you took away with you, the voice you shared into our ultimately-singular voice of compassion, the laughter—oh, the laughter—and the tears you poured forth to cleanse us all, the hearts you touched… your own, and mine.
For showing up in grief and in loss, in love and in passion, in birth and in death, in celebration and in sadness, in anger—maybe even in rage; and for the ways you dissolved again and again into the love that drives and underlies it all. I’m bowing in reverence to each one of you. For helping me remember.
The river of teachings flows because of you. The power of that room—a power it still holds in its quietness, in its current emptiness—was because of us, was given to it by us. The Castro studio was sacred because we made it so—because we arrived there, again and again, to set it all down and truly be ourselves, with all of our messes, weaknesses, hopes, dreams, delights, heartbreaks, and loves.
I LOVE YOU.
After 9/11 I packed my bags and left Los Angeles to head to San Francisco to a yoga community that had already begun to form. Within days I was teaching at Yoga Tree Stanyan, which was, at that point, the only Yoga Tree studio. But soon enough, I was walking up the stairwell to our brand new home on Collingwood. My first ascent into that space felt familiar and right—a home I knew was home the moment I arrived. Those of you who showed up—whether once, or week after week for the next 20 years—became family even as I grew my own. My two girls were raised in that space we’d made sacred together, wrapped in slings and nursing while I shared the ancient teachings. They grew; we grew; you grew… and the teachings rippled out far beyond the walls into the fabric of our lives.
We all brought everything—and I mean everything—into that space, laying our imperfect selves down on that imperfect floor. And for that, I’m deeply grateful. My vision was to hold a space where all of you—and each part of all of you—were welcome. In doing so, I grew more welcoming of myself. What remarkable lessons we learned in that space. What stories we shed. What interconnection we remembered.
You all are mingled into my every cell; and I am spending this time in equal parts celebration of every breath we took there—of the tapestry we wove together—and grief. The grief of unclenching my fists and letting what has already gone go, leaning into the OM NAMAH SHIVAYA of it all!
Palms soft and open to the coming and going
I LOVE YOU.
I am taking this time to feel it all; and when it’s all been felt I will get to “it” and see what we can (re)create together, what other spaces we might make sacred through our coming-together and being, through our practice. In the meantime, I’d love for you to share with me your experience of our home sangha space, to send thoughts or hopes about the future of gathering, and to keep showing up into each breath with kindness toward self and others.
I’m bowing to you. And I’m bowing to the exhale—even the exhales we resist—in full awareness that those endings clear the space for the inhale, for the next new beginning.
Janet Stone’s studentship began at 17 under the meditation teachings of Prem Rawat. His reverence for simplicity and finding joy in the rise and fall of life live on in her practice and teaching today. She shares from the alchemy of her own sadhana through bhakti yoga and the eight-limbed path. https://janetstoneyoga.com