I’m Kim Stevenson, creator of YogaYAMA. I just came across a really interesting website that gave no information about the people behind it, which I found rather disconcerting. So forgive me if I overshare.
Who am I?
I’m the oddball you may stumble upon while hiking…the one who is unburdening a young tree bent in half by a heavy, fallen branch.
“Be free little tree! Grow tall like you were meant to!”
I actually said that out loud. When I turned back to the trail, three hikers had somehow approached silently despite all the crunchy leaves underfoot. They hurried by, avoiding eye contact. The glory of the moment was briefly subdued, but my enthusiasm for helping others live a full, meaningful life is always turned up to 11.
The Resume Bit
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, 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 authorship 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 40 hours a week at a desk as a bookkeeper for companies ranging from landscape architecture, to venture capital, to financial planning. I still chuckle at the title, but it was the beginning of a meaningful path.
A few 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 program. 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 called 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. Through 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 12 & 15, life can be a bit complicated, so I’m grateful my daughters have them 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. And I’m unbelievably 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 meaningful life.
Bring on the fun!