Catching Up with Janina Edwards, 2014 Scholarship Recipient

February 16, 2016

Janina Edwards of Atlanta, GeorgiaIt has been over a year since the Yoga Alliance Foundation awarded Janina Edwards one of our Advanced Training scholarships. Janina, an experienced runner and marathoner, initially turned to yoga as a means to help recover from running injuries. Since then, she has brought the light of yoga to many who need it in her community in Atlanta, Georgia, including victims of domestic violence, incarcerated substance abuse offenders, brain and spinal cord injury patients and senior citizens.

We recently reached out to Janina to discuss how the scholarship has helped her and the people she serves.

Yoga Alliance: What was the most memorable part of your training, Janina?

Janina Edwards: It is impossible for me to pull out just one moment to share. The year was an interlocking puzzle of experiences. Some of those moments were part of the official training with others, and some were private moments that I experienced alone.

YA: Out of the lessons you learned in training, what helps you the most today?

JE: Underscored in everything I learned was that the essence of yoga is in the breath, the awareness you bring to your poses and the movements between them. Recently I watched “Breath of God” about Krishnamacharya. I can’t do most of the complex poses shown in the film, nor is that my goal. However, I noticed and recognized that moment of hesitation, the stillness and the breath in the practice of the poses. Yoga is that moment. The pose, the mantra, etc. is a vehicle to that moment. Whether or not I can do the more extreme poses is not the point.

YA: What did the scholarship mean to you?

JE: The scholarship allowed me to have a year of svadhiyaya (self-study).During my 300-hour training, there were moments that were very much like the “moment out of time” that The Bhagavad Gita describes, where Arjuna pauses right before the battle and Krishna advises him on his dharma--his purpose--and how to practice yoga. The scholarship allowed me that “moment” of deep spiritual and physical study of Kali Natha Yoga. It also continued my journey exploring my own dharma and sankalpa, or resolve.

YA: What's next for you? Will you teach yoga, or something else?

JE: This year has been a whirlwind. I sat at a very large banquet and tasted many dishes. I expect to take the next several years digesting the information, finding out what resonates for me and figuring out how to use it in my personal practice and my teaching. I look forward to teaching the non-traditional populations that I enjoying engaging with on a regular basis. Finally, this year was also full of Naad yoga (Kirtan and mantra), that I hope to explore more deeply.

Sounds like a great year, Janina; thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! We’re glad your scholarship from the Yoga Alliance Foundation allowed you the time you need to grow your practice and find the next step on your journey

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