Three days a week, Kim Stevenson gets ready for her lunchtime crowd. No, she’s not serving potato leek soup or chicken Caesar wraps in a starkly-lit cafeteria. Instead, she prepares for the arrival of students at her noontime yoga class in her workout space, The Studio for Yoga, on the corner of Chester Avenue and Main Street in Moorestown.
In a brick-lined room with wooden beams in the ceiling, the fragrance of sandalwood from the nag champa incense fills the room. Stevenson, a veteran yogi, added this new twist to her business about six months ago.
For 10 or so of the Studio's practitioners—most of them female, full-time workers in and around Moorestown—arching, bending and curving for one hour is the ultimate way to feel nourished.
“The women who come in during their lunch hour are spending time getting in touch with themselves,” says Stevenson, 47, a well-toned woman sporting a short blonde haircut.
For those packing a mat instead of a lunch pail, the ritual offers an alternate class time to fit with ever-changing and diverse schedules. And the midday routine of lunges, squats and downward dogs seems to be gaining popularity, according to Stevenson.
A couple of years ago, Stevenson was driving by and noticed a sign on the studio’s door advertising yoga. A yoga enthusiast since 1996, and a teacher of the discipline since 2000, Stevenson found the sessions worked within her daily schedule after she dropped her two sons off at the Montessori School in Delran.
“Even though I’ve been an instructor for awhile, I still think it’s important that I take one to two classes a week to improve my skills,” says the Beverly resident, who eventually started to teach at the studio, and then bought the business from the previous owner a year ago. She now has seven teachers trained in several yoga programs.
Since taking over the studio, Stevenson says she’s added on more members from Moorestown and Mount Laurel, and some from as far away as Lumberton.
As the owner of a small business, Stevenson admits she had to learn balance—not the yoga posture kind, but the ability to focus on the discipline of yoga, then afterhours juggle the fundamentals that go along with a business: paperwork, bookkeeping and some marketing.
Throughout the holiday season, Stevenson says regulars—ages range from the 20s through the 70s—will succumb to the pressures of shopping, gift-giving and parties, and disappear until January. But Stevenson is pragmatic.
"It’s understandable," she said. "People have other obligations this time of year."
Stevenson knows variety is the spice of life, so she offers classes in all levels of yoga, such as gentle vinyasa (flow yoga), tranquility yoga and a hybrid class called yoga sculpt, which is done with weights.
“People think you have to be superstrong and flexible to do yoga,” explains Stevenson, who is also a registered dietetic technician and worked as a staffing supervisor for a health care company before becoming a full-time business owner. “You develop your own pace. It can be mastered as long as you are awake and aware.”
For more information and a list of classes visit www.thestudioforyoga.com.