Kim (Desi) Stevenson
Ever since taking a World Religions class in ninth grade, I have been fascinated with the many ways people seek to create meaning in their lives. I eagerly studied Comparative Religion at Haverford College and UC Santa Barbara, hoping to find some common denominator that could point to a greater Truth. In the meantime, I began practicing yoga and discovered–wow–yoga felt good! Physically and emotionally I always felt better after class. But why? I had always exercised, and that felt good too, but this was different…
Here, I had thought that the secret to happiness was hidden in some esoteric universal truths. The reality was that I needed to get out of my head, to stop grinding my mental gears and be present in my body. This experience of being *fully alive, fully present and content* is what yoga offers. I interpret that sensation as one of interconnectedness–a pleasant awareness of the connection between my mind, body, and soul, and the connection of all living things.
Yoga philosophy also provides guidelines for how to behave (niyamas) and how to interact with others (yamas) without the threat of retribution that usually accompanies the dogma of institutionalized religions. Yoga students are always welcome to accept whichever teachings work for them and leave the rest. It can be used purely as a tool for physical health, or as a spiritual path, or anything in between. Personally, yoga offered what I was hoping to find in my comparative religion studies and time at church (I was considering becoming a minister at the time) so when my mentor offered to take me on as an apprentice, I jumped right in. Now, fifteen years later, I am so grateful to have had this practice to provide increased stability in my body, mind, and heart throughout the ups and downs of adult life.
I have taught Iyengar yoga since 2003. I am grateful to many teachers, especially Richard McLaughlin for being a brilliant and dedicated mentor; to Janice Vien and Jill Johnson for their support, guidance, and wonderful teaching; and to B.K.S. Iyengar for dedicating his entire life to making yoga accessible to every body.
When not teaching, I love to spend time with loved ones, be in the woods, visit new places, and eat weird foods (weird-exotic and/or weird-healthy).