Yoga studio opens on Main Street

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Winters natives know the respite provided by a life in open space and a welcoming community, but many who discover small town living later in life take a deep inhale by escaping the suffocation of busy hectic realms.

Kim Stanford experienced this revelation four years ago and it was the start of her journey to bravely opening a yoga studio in a town that boasts over 7,000 residents, barely. On Thursday, March 1, at the crack of 6 a.m., Stanford led Seva Studio’s first yoga class at 22 Main Street, which was Rootstock in a former lifetime.

“I worked as home-birth midwife under supervision for a decade, but I never really landed, I never had a home-home,” said Stanford.

“I came to visit my partner, local farmer Jeremy Sheperd, four years ago. I just remember driving through and feeling like I’m home.”

Getting closer to the land and open air gave Stanford a new lease on life, and she hopes to reciprocate and give her neighbors in Winters the benefits of improving their lives through yoga.

Six months ago, another life-altering event led her to aggressively pursue bringing her yoga instruction home to downtown Winters.

“Fast forward to July 23, my guru (yogi Aaron Pappas) passed away,” said Stanford.

She said her beloved teacher Pappas came to her in a dream and showed her a vision of teaching yoga in the place she calls home. Prior to opening Seva Space, Stanford taught at Akasha Yoga in Davis.

Pappas oversaw teacher training at Akasha, and after his death Stanford took over many of those duties.

“I started doing their teacher training; I took his place, it was a huge honor,” she said.

Stanford said the process of leasing the space and starting her own business has been smooth and all of the pieces fell into place naturally.

She took her passion and vision to property owner Corinne Martinez after seeing the for lease sign.

Stanford pushed the sell, confident that her experience and and strong network with the yoga community would propel her future business to success.

“I pursued it, I sat down with her and told her my vision for the space, ‘you want this, I’m kind of a big deal.’”

Yoga has a stereotype of being a hobby for the upper crust, but Stanford seeks to shatter that notion.

“The word ‘seva’ means selfless service,” said Stanford. “Yoga should be free but you have to pay the bills. I will never turn anyone away, and I make sure all of my teachers know that. People on programs like WIC and CalWorks have significant discounts.

“This has been a really taboo subject, but it’s really hard to reach all the demographics. We have to bridge that gap.”

Stanford knows how important that outreach is from firsthand experience.

“I’ve been there. I’ve been on food stamps with my kids, the only way I could afford to do yoga was to teach it,” she said, “I just don’t want yoga to be so segregated.

Another way Seva Space stands out according to Stanford is the collaborative nature of the business. For example her “partner in crime,” Lolo Francis owns Rebel Yell Yoga in West Sacramento, and the yogis plan on promoting each other’s classes and events.

“We need to lift each other up,” said Stanford.

The studio has been well received so far, and according to Stanford there have been no less than seven people at every class, and 18 people at the inaugural class.

Bethany Williams attended the first class, and plans on being a regular at Seva Space.

“The space is inviting and has really good energy. There has been a good mix of ages, bodies and genders and the instructions are really down to earth, perfect for Winters.

“This is the type of stuff I imagine Winters investing in to remain relevant and evolving. It fits in with my schedule of commuting to Davis and there are evening classes which I should be able to make on my way back,” said Williams.

The studio offers a wide variety of yoga styles.

“We also offer pilates, which is a ton of fun, as well as restorative yoga and limited mobility yoga,” said Stanford.

Another project in the works, designed to make the practice more accessible, Seva Space will offer Yoga en Español, taught by Alejandro Cuevas who hails from Michoacan, Mexico.

Stanford likes to emphasize the healing aspects of yoga, rather than view it as a purely athletic endeavor.

“We have a tendency to push and not to listen. We’ve turned (yoga) into a competitive sport. The word yoga literally means to bring together the mind, body and spirit.”

Stanford hopes that through her yoga instruction people can translate their practice to issues in other aspects of their lives.

“Instead of getting upset, you can say, ‘I’m just going to breathe.’”

Those interested in taking a class can view the schedule online at

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