Riverdog Yoga opens in Edgecomb

Posted:  Tuesday, December 5, 2017 - 7:30am

Kimberly Smith is offering yoga classes in Edgecomb.

Smith taught yoga in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, outside New Haven, where she had a studio for 13 years before moving here.

Before yoga became Smith’s focus in life, she worked in corporate wellness and brought alternative wellness ideas into the corporations she worked with. “I’ve always been interested in the mind body spirit things,” she said.

Smith’s last corporate position was with Bristol Meyers Squibb, where she introduced yoga into that workplace, before she became a yoga instructor. She found a yoga teacher named Christina Sillari, and the two collaborated and started holding yoga classes at Bristol Meyers Squibb. Eventually, they built up to two classes of 20 students each.

Sillari decided to move into another field, and Smith asked her to help her find a replacement to teach yoga. Sillari already had someone in mind.

A few weeks later, Smith pressed her for a name. “One week before she was set to leave, I said, ‘Christina, I really need to know who you have in mind.’ She said it was me. I told her I wasn’t a yoga teacher, and there was someone in the class who was. She said, ‘She’s not a healer, you are.’”

Sillari started training Smith and eventually she became certified and started teaching yoga in studios, private schools, hospitals and other venues after work and on weekends. Two years later, after she married and moved with her husband Hal Ostrom to Old Saybrook, she bought a studio. She got it after getting a thumbs-up from Sillari, who had become something of a mentor.

“It just sort of fell into my lap. I bought the studio and over time transitioned from my corporate job, going from full to part-time, then I left altogether and started teaching yoga full-time.”

Smith came to Maine as a child, on vacations with her family. She volunteered in Maine during college, working on trail maintenance at Acadia National Park, and came for weekends with friends.

Nine years ago, the couple adopted their daughter YuJi and decided to move to Maine. They bought a house in Newcastle and then moved to Edgecomb almost four years ago. “We loved the quality of life here, the people, and the nature.”

Smith has a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology/biomechanics and a master’s in cardiac rehab/physiology. She started teaching yoga again, after a weekend retreat with her women’s group last spring. She taught a brief yoga class at the retreat. The response was enthusiastic. One of the women in the group, Chris Correa, is the arts and humanities teacher at the Deck House School. She offered Smith use of her arts class space at the Cross Point Road school. Smith began holding classes in November.

Smith’s list of yoga accolades includes The Yale Medical School Study of Yoga and Cardiology, where she taught. She has also taught in various community and outreach programs, including classes for incarcerated teens.

The class Smith is teaching in Edgecomb is an “all level spinal” class, to specifically decompress the vertebrae of the spine, and to strengthen the pelvic and shoulder girdles. She also teaches with intuition, as she learns students’ specific needs.

Mainly focused on yoga, Smith will teach private Pilates classes upon request.

At this time, the classes, which include a “good amount” of Savasana, or relaxation, are Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 10:15. She is planning to teach on one weekday morning, and hold a once-a-month family class, beginning in January.

Smith said another plan in the works is for a “yoga for food” class. She started an international event getting yoga studios connected with food drives after the Sept. 11 disaster. The National Yoga for Food campaign pairs yoga studios and teachers with food banks throughout the country.

To learn more about Riverdog Yoga, or to schedule a class, call 860-391-5218, or email: info@riverdogyoga.com