New York City is home to some of the best entertainment, 24 hours a day. But in a city that never sleeps, yoga teacher, Kim Stetz found an opportunity to provide real rest. The best part: all you need is a mat and an open mind.
After teaching private clients for 14 years, Kim opened Savasana Station last April in the East Village to provide yoga for tired New Yorkers. This humor-centered yogi welcomes people who are afraid of savasana, or don’t think they can do it, to come in and learn the real secret behind a healthy mind/body connection.
YogaCity NYC’s Ashley Rose Howard caught up with Kim to learn more about her reasoning on rest and the path that led her to opening a studio focused on getting enough ZZZ’s.
ARH: Can you tell me about the journey that led you to teaching yoga?
KS: It started with being told I’m was going to teach by Anthony Benenati in LA. I was in triangle and hung over, as usual. He leaned into me and said, “You’re going to be a yoga teacher.” I laughed at him and said, “You’ll never hear me say the words ‘inhale’ or ‘exhale’ out loud.” But he saw something and he was right. In 2002, I enrolled for yoga teacher training at Om. From there, I started teaching private clients and taught Prenatal and Mommy and Baby classes at the local YMCA. I also worked at East Yoga on the LES for about a year before the studio closed, which ironically, is now the location of Savasana Station.
ARH: Why did you decide to open a yoga studio geared towards tired people?
KS: The idea of providing yoga for tired people came to me for a few different reasons; mostly, because I feel we need to allow ourselves to rest more. Being tired seems to be a bad thing, like it’s embarrassing to be tired or sick. It’s really about recognizing when you’re sick, sad or exhausted and just feeling those emotions. My clients are always complaining, “I can’t sleep” or “I have insomnia” and I see so many people cut out savasana in their practice. Allowing the mind and body just ten minutes a day to rest has so many benefits. I really want my students to teach themselves how to rest through this pose.
ARH: Why is it important for New Yorkers to slow down?
KS: So we can be more considerate of others. You start to notice more when you slow down. You notice when you’re being too loud and making heads turn; sometimes we need attention and sometimes we don’t. It gives us the chance to feel things and process what’s going on internally so we’re not carrying it around. When you’re too busy buzzing around, there’s no chance to recognize gratitude and find peace and happiness. Slowing down also helps us to become gentle. When we become gentle, we heal.
ARH: Does studying comedy help with teaching yoga?
KS: I signed up for improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade before my 45th birthday last September, mainly to help my fear of speaking in front of large crowds. I like discipline and order and there’s a whole message you have to learn in UCB. I am so logical and improv allows me to see what I like and how I like everything to be a certain way then learning to let it all go. I’m using this as an opportunity to watch my mind rather than become a comedian. My plan is to teach mindfulness classes about seeing our own minds through comedy. Our minds are often programmed to be afraid of making mistakes: “I can’t do this” or “I’m going to say the wrong thing.” That is really seeing your mind at work.
ARH: Is it true you were 1st runner up for Miss NY State Teenager?
KS: In 1986, I entered the pageant as Miss Champlain Valley at about 18-years-old. My dress was my prom dress from junior year - a beautiful baby blue southern bell dress with a hoop and all - and I led adance routine to ‘How Will I Know’ by Whitney Houston. My name was the last one called in the top 10. I remember looking at the clock thinking how hungry I was and they said my name. I was terrified to speak in public, but for some reason I was like a comedian up there. But in the end, I finished runner up with a ‘most photogenic’ trophy. The judge later told me I lost by ONE POINT! But at least I got a 10 out of 10 for my speech.
To learn more about Kim's classes and Savasana Station, click here.