Hello! I’m Kim Stevenson, creator of YogaYAMA kids yoga. In short, I’ve spent my adult life investigating the ingredients for a meaningful life by studying (mainly) religion and psychology. I have loved teaching yoga for 20 years and being a parent for almost as long. When my daughters were in elementary school, I began sharing basic yoga philosophical principles of yoga with them and pointing it out when I noticed them in storybooks. It seemed to offer our whole family a framework for making good choices–choices that foster healthy connections with self and others. It was so simple and useful, I began writing stories and incorporating them into the children’s classes I taught at my daughters’ school. Thus, YogaYAMA was born!
The Long Version
My Bachelor of Arts degree in Comparative Religion led to an apprenticeship in Iyengar Yoga, which I’ve been teaching since 2003. A New England native, I spent ten years in Santa Barbara, CA, where my yoga and parenting journeys both began. Shortly after the birth of our youngest daughter in 2009, we moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family. In 2016, I achieved my dream of finally having a studio with rope walls (a fun and impactful prop) and opened Eden Yoga in a renovated barn. We then moved to our current location in Concord, NH in 2018.
In 2007 my foray into writing about yoga began with a little handbook called Office Yoga: From Cubicle to Infinity. It was inspired by the aches, pains, and general lethargy I suffered working as a bookkeeper for companies ranging from landscape architecture, to venture capital, to financial planning. I still chuckle at the title, but it was good practice in summoning the courage to create something and put it out there for the world to see.
Several years later, I noticed how helpful yoga philosophy was in figuring out typical childhood challenges, so I began writing children’s stories to teach these concepts to kids. I incorporated the stories into kids’ yoga classes at my daughters’ school and after-school programs. I learned a ton about what worked and what didn’t, both inside the stories and in the classes. When the pandemic hit, I focused on publishing the first in a series of ten children’s books. Released in August 2021, it is titled Behind Mogo’s Mask.
My Parenting Journey
It started well before I had kids. “What does it mean to be a good parent?” was a prominent question in my household growing up. When I was nine years old and my sister was six, my parents began welcoming foster children into our home. I saw the range of challenges that families can face and the impact trauma and neglect have on children. I made a vow to one day be the best parent I could be.
By the time I was in my mid-twenties, I had babysat long-term for many lovely families. This showed me that there is no one perfect parenting style. However, I did notice some fundamental elements for bringing out the best in children.
As the time approached to have my own children, I stocked up on parenting books. They were interesting and mildly helpful, but the area of study that helped my parenting the most was Non-Violent Communication (or “NVC”).
NVC teaches how to speak and listen in a way that creates healthy relationships. It is founded on the idea that “we all share the same, basic human needs, and that all actions are a strategy to meet one or more of those needs”. Children have the same need to feel heard and understood as adults do. As parents, if we view “acting out” as an attempt to get a need met, rather than a behavior that needs to be broken and reprogrammed, we can get to the core of the issue. These moments are opportunities for connection, rather than conflict. You will find NVC principles woven throughout YogaYAMA.
Yoga & Parenting
As a whole-person practice, yoga is one of the most effective technologies available for uncovering and sharing our absolute best selves. By practicing yoga, I manage my own emotions better. It helps me stay healthy physically and mentally. It has also provided me a framework of ethical principles and personal values that I rely on when my children need help solving social and personal problems. We started consciously using these principles (the yamas & niyamas) when my kids were 4 & 7 years old. Now, at ages 13 & 16, life can be a bit more complicated, so I’m grateful my daughters have such an effective resource in their toolbelts.
The pandemic made very clear the value of interpersonal connection and its importance in living a meaningful life. That prompted my research on connection, trauma, and mindset. I began searching for answers to these questions:
- What prevents us from deeply connecting?
- What stops us from doing what we know is right?
- How do we motivate our children (and ourselves) to make healthy choices?
Using the framework of the yamas and niyamas, I’ve woven the best insights on these topics into the YogaYama curriculum. I’m very excited to share it with you and your kids.
It brings me so much joy to help families HAVE FUN and strengthen life-long, heartfelt connections. Plus, it is incredibly inspiring to watch children develop the mindset and skills they need to create a life full of positive experiences and healthy relationships.
Bring on the fun!
at Eden Yoga
40 Thorndike St. Suite 2C
Concord, NH 03301
It is vital that when educating our children’s brains that we do not forget to educate their hearts.H.H. Dalai Lama XIV