24 episodes

The Stillpoints Podcast with Scott Johnson brings insightful, inspiring and moving conversation to how contemplative practices has landed in our modern culture. Scott talks to the many people who have inspired him over the years, as director of Stillpoint Yoga London, to see how their practices have landed in the world.

Stillpoints: A Podcast with Scott Johnson Scott Johnson

    • Mental Health

The Stillpoints Podcast with Scott Johnson brings insightful, inspiring and moving conversation to how contemplative practices has landed in our modern culture. Scott talks to the many people who have inspired him over the years, as director of Stillpoint Yoga London, to see how their practices have landed in the world.

    #024: Daniel Simpson | The Truth of Yoga

    #024: Daniel Simpson | The Truth of Yoga

    #024: Daniel Simpson Scott talks to Daniel Simpson, on his life as a yoga philosophy teacher and practitioner. Daniel presents ancient texts for modern times. He is the author of The Truth of Yoga, a comprehensive guide to the historic tradition and texts of yoga for contemporary practitioners.
     
    We'd like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream beginner classes, Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It's a beautiful way to navigate these times...
     
    Daniel Simpson's work is informed by his master's degree in Traditions of Yoga and Meditation (SOAS, University of London), and draws on his earlier experience as a foreign correspondent. He combines scholarly knowledge with humour and insight, making yoga philosophy accessible and relevant to practitioners today.
    Daniel teaches courses online, at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, at Triyoga in London, around the UK and internationally. With two decades of experience, he aims to help students explore their own path. You can find out more about Daniel’s work and courses here.
    You can also purchase Daniel's book - The Truth of Yoga - here.
     
      The Truth of Yoga - Daniel Simpson  
    Scott and Daniel have known each other since 2015 and in that time Daniel has become a highly regarded yoga philosophy teacher and academic. In this wide ranging conversation they share insights and stories on the last 15 years of change in the yoga world surrounding how yoga philosophy and history is taught. Daniel also shares personal stories and insights from his own life that compelled him to write his new book - The Truth Of Yoga.
    In this wide ranging conversation Daniel shares:
    About his euphoric experience during a silent meditation retreat, which completely transformed his relationship with the world and himself. How this transcendent experience transformed his asana practise into a practise of embodied consciousness, a physical practise for training the mind.  His thoughts on the relationship between hedonism and spirituality.  The connection between Vedic soma rituals and yoga, and the relationship between soma and ayahuasca.  How yoga can become an addiction in itself, and about learning to identify and deal with these patterns.  That the project of yoga was never about experiencing bliss, but an extreme solution for escaping samsara. About his book - The Truth of Yoga, which distills complex ideas into an accessible format His response to the question: ‘What is yoga?’ His previous work as a journalist and his move into academia, and how both have influenced his approach to writing.  Why accuracy is important when presenting historic texts about yoga.  The enduring effect of Yoga Body by Mark Singleton and how it influenced the academic study of physical yoga That he hopes his book ‘The Truth of Yoga’  will be used as a bridge between academic researchers and yoga practitioners.  About the different and contradictory threads of yoga: dual and non-dual, householder and renunciate. How we can maintain traditional aspects in contemporary physical yoga.  About his first trip to India, and his experience of attending the Kumbh Mela in 2001.   How yoga ultimately helped him recognise, understand and deal with his issues with substance abuse. How yoga scholarship is a form of practise, a discipline in itself. How living a contemplative life is all about relationship: how we relate to the moment, relate to ourselves, and relate to others. A moment-by-moment engagement with reality.   
    Daniel is a breath of fresh air. His knowledge on the philosophy and history of yoga is so deep yet he is able to share it in a beautifully open, simple and understandable way. I l

    • 1 hr 22 min
    #023: Kia Naddermier | The Practice of Pausing

    #023: Kia Naddermier | The Practice of Pausing

    #023: Kia Naddermier Scott talks to his dear friend and colleague Kia Naddermier on their friendship and her life as a renowned yoga and pranayama teacher. They talk about the ability to pause being a key component in the evolution of yoga in your life.
     
    We'd like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream beginner classes, Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It's a beautiful way to navigate these times...
     
    Kia Naddermier is the main teacher & director of Mysore Yoga Paris and an internationally renowned teacher of yoga and pranayama. She is a dedicated advanced practitioner with over 25 years experience of and teaches Ashtanga Yoga, Pranayama, Kriyas and adjustment techniques. Kia has studied extensively within the traditional lineage of Ashtanga Yoga, and continues to practice, research and explore this vast tradition. 
    She is a devoted, long-term student of Shri O.P. Tiwariji and his son Sudhir Tiwariji in the lineage of Kaivalyadham. Kia is one of the first few in the world to receive Kaivalyadham´s highest teaching certification in advanced Pranayamas and Kriyas. Kia teaches with careful adherence to the authentic teachings of Ashtanga Yoga and Pranayama whilst encouraging each individual to explore the beauty of the practice for themselves.
    She is dedicated to the growth and development of her students, and her way of teaching integrates her profound knowledge of the breath and Pranic energy, subtle and physical anatomy, with yogic principles. Her deep love and years of dedication to all aspects of this practice shines through in her attentive, insightful and inspirational teaching.
    She lives with her husband and two daughters in Paris where she upholds the daily Mysore-program at the Shala.She mentors teachers, runs long-term apprentice programs and gives workshops, trainings and retreats internationally.
    You can find out more about Kia’s teaching schedule here.
      The Practice of Pausing - Kia Naddermier  
    Scott and Kia have been friends since 2015, sharing similar yoga shala's in London and Paris. They are dear forms and colleague, teaching together annually at the SYL Spring Gathering since 2015 and at Purple Valley in Goa since 2018. In this warm and intimate conversation Scott talks to kia about her life and evolution as a highly regarded teacher of yoga and pranayama. Kia is deeply honest and shares personal stories about where she finds herself today.
    In this personal and intimate conversation Kia shares:
    About her first Ashtanga yoga class in the early 90’s, where she encountered John Scott while working as a photographer in London. The immediate sense of homecoming, of landing in her body, that she felt after that first class. Her experience of working as a model as a teenager, and how yoga helped her to realise for the first time that her body could be felt and appreciated, rather than being judged externally for its appearance. The evolution of her practise from that first class; how she struggled to find any Ashtanga classes in Stockholm, so began with Iyengar yoga before going to see Radha and Derek Ireland in The Practise Place. How, after initially coming to the practise through asana, deeper layers of practise have opened up to her. Her interest in spirituality, which started from a young age, and how yoga presented a non-dogmatic way to explore the bigger questions in life.    About meeting her Pranayama teacher Shri O.P. Tiwariji, and his humble way of sharing profound teachings.  How Pranayama transformed her Ashtanga yoga practise.  About the loss of her sister, and how practise helped her to cope with that loss, while giving her the resources to stay strong for her family.  That

    • 1 hr 7 min
    #022: Josefin Wikström | Bringing Yoga Home

    #022: Josefin Wikström | Bringing Yoga Home

    Scott talks to dear friend and colleague Josefin Wikström about how yoga changed her life and how she now shares yoga and Bollywood dancing to people in prisons and to those who suffer from complex trauma. 
    We'd like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream beginner classes, Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It's a beautiful way to navigate these times...
    Josefin Wikström trained as a Yoga Therapist with The Minded Institute in London with a particular focus on complex trauma and mental health. She has also trained with Bessel van der Kolk, and is a certified TCTSY-F (Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga Facilitator), having trained with David Emerson.
    She has been sharing trauma-informed yoga since 2003, and since 2008 she has brought yoga and dance into Swedish prisons. She has developed programmes for teaching yoga in prisons, and has taught internationally, including in San Quentin state prison in the US. In 2015, she began working with the Prison Yoga Project in Europe, and has led Prison Yoga Project trainings in Mumbai, India, and Mexico.
    As part of her work for the Swedish Probation services, she co-developed the Swedish Krimyoga program, an evidence-based program drawing on research on the benefits of yoga in correctional settings. She is expanding her trauma-informed yoga programs to include settings such as psychiatry units, the Juvenile justice system, and in schools.
    Through the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, MA, she has completed the Traumatic Stress Studies Certification with She has also studied trauma-informed dance/movement therapy with Katia Verrault and Tripura Kashyap in India. Josefin is a professional member of ICPA-International Corrections and Prison Association.
    You can find out more about Josefin’s work here and all the Prison Yoga Project. 
    You will be able to buy Josefin's new book, co-authored with upcoming guest James Fox, called Freedom from the Inside: A Woman's Guide to Yoga soon through this link here.
      Bringing Yoga Home - Josefin Wikström In this touching conversation Scott and Josefin talk about Josefin's life as a yoga practitioner and yoga therapist teaching in prisons and to people with complex trauma, a journey that moves from teaching in the slums of Mumbai in 2005 to tabling a discussion at the centre of the UK government in the House of Lords in 2015. She has developed into an incredibly wise and prolific yoga teacher, sharing her love and passion for yoga to the most vulnerable people there are. 
     
    In this inspiring conversation Josefin shares:
    How yoga helped heal from childhood abuse and complex trauma. Had she been self medicating with alcohol and drugs then went to Goa at 18.  She met an old man in New Delhi who said ‘you have to do yoga’! These words landed in her - he’d seen the unease in her body. How she went to Rishikesh and connected with breathing  and moving in first or second class. She hadn't taken a deep breath before then. Started to feel grounded, less scattered. Felt like she’d found herself at home in herself a sense of safety she had'nt had before. Her drive in her work - can reach this place of safety. An accessible, simple way, for so many people How yoga isn’t just about bliss - embracing causes of suffering too. ‘Cleaning our inner space’ put experiences in boxes rather than throwing them out. How she found a healthy sense of connection with people practising yoga, not to do with drugs. She kept the dancing and let go of drugs Yoga fine tunes the senses. Her work in Mumbai - Kaivalya project. She met a lady in a cafe in Mumbai who worked with dance yoga mental health. Josefin was asked to join a

    • 1 hr 10 min
    #021: Taylor Hunt | Recovery Through Yoga

    #021: Taylor Hunt | Recovery Through Yoga

    Scott talks to Ashtanga yoga teacher Taylor Hunt about how Ashtanga yoga has helped him through his recovery from addiction and how he now helps others using the same inspiring outlook.
    We’d like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream beginner classes, Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It’s a beautiful way to navigate these times…
    Taylor Hunt is a devoted practitioner of Ashtanga yoga and a passionate teacher of the traditional method. He was granted Level 2 authorisation in 2013 by his teacher Sharath Jois who he studies with in Mysore every year. 
    His is a story of personal transformation. His book ‘A Way From Darkness’ is an inspiring account of his journey from addiction to health. He is director of the Trini Foundation, which shares the practice of Ashtanga with those suffering from addiction.
    Ashtanga yoga has been deeply healing in his life and he is dedicated to sharing the benefits with others. He teaches daily Mysore classes Ashtanga Yoga Columbus, where he supports the community of practitioners in their practice and their daily lives. He also offers workshops around the world.
    You can find out more about Taylor’s teaching schedule here.
    You can also contact the Trini Foundation if you are interested in learning more about their inspiring work.
    If you’ve been affected by any of the issues brought up in this conversation and need help you contact Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous (please note these links are UK based organisations).
      Recovery Through Yoga – Taylor Hunt  
    In this honest and powerful conversation Scott and Taylor share intimate details about how their lives have been affected by addiction. Taylor has come such a long way in his sobriety and Scott from growing up in an alcoholic family. Their unique perspectives, particularly Taylor on how he has navigated his own recovery, is powerful and honest.
    In this moving conversation Taylor shares:
    What it means to be running a Mysore shala during the covid pandemic, and his decision to immediately hold classes online so he could carry on supporting his community About his book – Away from the Darkness, in which he writes about his journey from addiction to health. How he was convinced by his sponsor into taking his second yoga class after finding his first deeply uncomfortable because of everything it brought up. How he heard God speaking to him in savasana after that second class, telling, saying ‘you’re perfect, just the way you are’. He’d been sober for six months, and it was the first time he’d felt compassion and love for himself. He’s practised six days a week ever since. How sobriety rekindled his relationship with God.  The relationship between being a Twelve Step sponsor and an Ashtanga teacher – the elements of coaching, accountability, and support. The daily work involved in staying sober, how he has to show up consistently in the program and on the mat. His reason for practising – that has to show up for sake of sobriety – means it’s life or death for him, as well as for a lot of people that he teaches, which is why he’s so passionate about showing up.  The impact of his addiction on his family. The clarity after suffering he felt when his ex-wife took him for the treatment he needed.  His deep gratitude for the second chance he’s been given That his first Ashtanga teacher was Laruga Glaser, who he practised with every day How he’s seen the practise help people, how it offers hope for escaping our samskaras. His belief in a higher power, whether it’s Jesus, Buddha, Vishnu, Shiva, Moses… they represent the same universal truths and inspire him in the s

    • 1 hr 16 min
    #20: Prem & Radha Carlisi | Finding Humility Together

    #20: Prem & Radha Carlisi | Finding Humility Together

    #020: Prem & Radha Carlisi  
    Scott talks to Prem and Radha Carlisi (and their lovely dogs) about their friendship since 2008 and how they've evolved over an incredibly close, and tender, twelve years of knowing each other.
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    We'd like to invite you to join our growing Stillpoint Online Ashtanga Yoga and Mindfulness community. We live stream Ashtanga Yoga assisted self practice and guided classes with evening mindfulness sessions over 6 days with Scott Johnson and the Stillpoint teaching faculty. It's a beautiful way to navigate these times...
    ---
    Anthony ‘Prem’ Carlisi and Heather ‘Radha’ Carlisi first came together as a teaching team in Sri Lanka in 2007. They felt a powerful synergy between their combined energy as teachers, which led them to continue to teach together internationally. They were married in 2013.
    In December 2008 they travelled to Bali, where in November 2009 they established the Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Center (AYBRC). In their shala they teach in the tradition of K. Pattabhi Jois, with whom they both studied for many years. Prem first travelled to Mysore to study in 1978, and Radha in 1995 having begun her study of Ashtanga yoga with Chuck Miller in 1990.
    Following the example set by Krishnamacharya, they adapt their teaching to the individual needs of each student. They also apply their knowledge Ayurveda to their unique teaching style, blending the elements of Ashtanga yoga and Ayurveda to help students to achieve a balanced lifestyle well beyond their asana practise.
    Prem and Radha have many shared at AYBRC. You can find out more about their teaching schedule here.
     
      Finding Humility Together - Prem and Radha Carlisi   
    In this moving conversation Scott, Prem and Radha share intimate and tender memories of their friendship over the past 12 years. Prem and Radha are deeply open and honest about how their relationship managed the passing of Prem's daughter Shanti in 2012 and how they navigated people coming to their Yoga Shala in Bali and their own yoga practices. We are left with hope....
    In this deeply moving conversation Prem & Radha share:
    The challenges they’ve faced running a Mysore shala from Bali during the COVID-19 pandemic. How Scott contacted Prem in 2008 after reading ‘The Only Way Out is In’, and ended up hosting both Prem and Radha for a London workshop. Prem’s motivation for writing his book - to share his perspective as a ‘regular guy’ so that people would know that yoga is accessible to anyone. That after Radha’s first yoga class - which she found in the Yellow Pages - she told the teacher (Chuck Miller) that she was going to be a yoga teacher. About the incredible support Radha has given Prem in his work and in his personal life. About how they set up Ashtanga Yoga Bali together, and how it felt like everything was falling into place for them.  That everything collapsed in 2013 with the death of Prem’s daughter, Shanti. How they managed to keep the shala open, with crowds coming to see them, while struggling to come to terms with this tragic loss.  The thoughtless comments that Prem received about how, as a long term yogi, he should be able to deal with grief. How grief forces a deeper perspective to Ashtanga yoga practise beyond the physical.  That teaching - being able to give to others - can be a solace, and that suffering can bring empathy. The sense of humbling humiliation that Prem felt, in the face of such grief after this life-changing loss, despite external material successes.   Their intentions around organising Ashtanga yoga conferences, hoping to keep the community connected after K. Pattabhi Jois died.  The responsibility that senior teachers have to pass on the subtler layers of practise that move beyond the physical. About why Ashtanga yoga is a constant process of discovery, rather than a static set of rule

    • 1 hr 19 min
    #19: Laruga Glaser | Leaning In To Vulnerability

    #19: Laruga Glaser | Leaning In To Vulnerability

    #019: Laruga Glaser Scott talks to Laruga Glaser on her life as a yoga student and teacher of Ashtanga yoga. She also shares her experience as a woman of colour in the yoga industry.
     
     
    On 3rd June Laruga shared a 52:39 face to camera Instagram post on her experience as a POC in Ashtanga yoga. The majority of her conversation (with Scott) references Laruga's post. It would be highly beneficial to watch this whole share. It is beautiful, powerful and raw....
    Laruga Glaser was first drawn to yoga in 1996, and after coming across Ashtanga in 1998 she fully immersed herself in the method and now has over 20 years of dedicated Ashtanga yoga practise. She made her first trip to Mysore to study at KPJAYI in 2007 and has returned every year ever since. A committed student, an advanced practitioner and a Certified teacher, Laruga endeavours to pass on the tradition of Ashtanga yoga. Laruga shares the teachings of Ashtanga yoga as an act of deep love with which she aspires to create an open, challenging and inspiring space in which each individual who comes to her can realise their full potential. 
    Laruga leads the Ashtanga Yoga program at Yogayama in Stockholm, Sweden and teaches workshops and retreats around the world. You can find out more about Laruga's teaching schedule here.
     
    Leaning in to Vulnerability - Laruga Glaser.  Scott and Laruga have a beautifully open conversation on Laruga's life as a student and teacher of Ashtanga yoga. She shares how she left a corporate life to become one of the most recognised faces in Ashtanga Yoga. She also shares how she has had to struggle as a woman of colour in the world of yoga and push hard to get to where she is. Scott and Laruga also talk about how to make yoga spaces more diverse. 
    In this inspiring conversation Laruga shares:
    The ways that yoga has landed for her many times in her life, right from the very first time -  a series of ‘aha’ moments, of finding inner stillness. How she began practising by following Iyengar-inspired videos by Patricia Walden and Rodney Yi, which helped her to release back pain and encouraged her to carry on practising.  How she started learning Ashtanga from David Swenson’s videos and books, which she considers to be her first virtual teacher  That despite ‘doing things wrong’, like not holding the drishti or poses for long enough, she still felt a shift, another ‘aha’ moment How Ashtanga felt ‘complete’ to her Her sense of finally feeling at home when she found yoga, that she was in her space, where she’s supposed to be. That while she was at university in Ohio she found an ad in the student paper for 90 days of yoga for $90 - she went every single day. That she found Laurel Howdry, her first Ashtanga yoga teacher, in her last year of university,  How her dedicated Ashtanga practise kept her sane and grounded while she was on a corporate career path. That when she found herself at a crossroads between her career and yoga, she decided to follow yoga. When she made her first trip to Mysore in 2007 it was to be a student, to go and study at the source. How she began teaching internationally after that first trip to Mysore, when a fellow student invited her to teach in Taiwan.  About her 14 trips to Mysore and how the energy in the new shala still remains the same The importance of being a student. The strong energetic pull she felt that led her to share in depth on about the lack of diversity in Ashtanga yoga, and how it was a vulnerable thing for her to do. About how it finally felt like people were collectively willing to listen to her experience, despite having been speaking out on individual level for years That she spoke out for the people who didn't feel they fit in  About having to deal with microaggressions from within the yoga community, and how she’s been the one who’s had to do the work unpacking

    • 1 hr 21 min

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