Reach your higher self with yoga and movement
Kim Walker started a life-changing yoga journey 30 years ago while managing fibromyalgia and had an epiphany to teach others how to maintain physical and mental health while disrupting a narrative.
For Kim Walker, there is a narrative about yoga that needs to be disrupted, and she has opened Move Your Body Yoga Studio in Baton Rouge with disruption as one of her goals. The narrative insinuates that yoga is only for affluent or specific needs in our society.
“Movement is for everyone. All bodies deserve to move freely and without judgment and all bodies can move daily. I was inspired to open Move Your Body Yoga to encourage all bodies to move for overall health and wellness,” said Walker. “I am driven to serve all communities and I recognize that I have a responsibility, desire and passion to share yoga with communities that have once felt unseen, unheard and marginalized.”
Her yoga journey started in 1993. Her experience was “life changing” and helped her maintain her health, stay in great shape, and reduce stress. “I also practice to build strength, coordination, mobility, toning and flexibility,” she said.
In 2015, Walker was diagnosed with fibromyalgia—a condition that causes widespread pain, sleep problems, fatigue, and emotional and mental distress. “I felt awful all the time. I ached, gained weight, was lethargic, had brain fog and didn’t know why I felt so bad. I took control of my health. I did not want to rely on pharmaceuticals. I turned to a vegan lifestyle. I went back to a regular daily yoga practice and increased my workouts, sometimes twice daily.”
In a short amount of time, she started reversing the fibromyalgia symptoms that plagued her and found a passion and desire to practice yoga on a deeper and holistic manner to connect her mind, body, and soul, she said.
After tearing her meniscus and adding yoga to her holistic rehab practice in 2021, she had an epiphany: “I had to open a yoga studio to help others stay mobile and active for overall health and wellness,” she said. That studio—Move Your Body Yoga — opened in August at 9257 Florida Blvd.
Walker said the studio “strategically focuses on helping those individuals who often lead sedentary lifestyles, have decreased mobility, and also those managing chronic illness, like autoimmune conditions.”
She offers unlimited membership for 45-minute classes: Move365 including Yoga poses, mat-inspired Pilates and cardio; and Breath365, Yoga Flow, and Chair Yoga for all levels. Most popular are the Move Your Body Stretch one-hour classes.
“Our classes incorporate traditional yoga poses, mat-inspired Pilates movement, cardio, balance, and mobility drills to help the body find balance, strength and flexibility. These movements are performed on the mat and the studio is warmed by Infrared heat…We utilize tools to aid and assist our students and build confidence while on the mat.” Walker said.
The infrared heat is also available in the studio’s sauna. It provides support to the physical workout in the form of deep tissue relaxation, increases detoxification, improves caloric burn, reduces stress and inflammation, decreases stress, improves flexibility, improves cardio endurance and can improve sleep.”
She and her team of instructors follow traditional yoga guidance using many of the traditional yoga poses. “We also challenge the norm. Our students are often challenged beyond just using their body weight; they also use hand weights, Pilates ball and ring, flex bands, resistance bands, yoga blocks and a wonderful stretch tool called a Spiro. Our students are encouraged to move freely on their mats, with safety in mind, guided cues and support and encouragement.” She continued, “As a mentor, I work alongside of my members. I listen to their goals. I encourage them while on the mat. I support their movement and make recommendations that can help to improve their practice.”
Yoga for All
Walker said movement and yoga important practices for all ages. “Movement is the great equalizer. Movement is the physical work that connects a yoga practitioner to the mat and while on the mat., Yoga can help one ground, center, and focus inwardly, thereby creating a strong mind, body and soul connection to oneself. Both are important because they can help an individual find their greater self,” she said.
Yoga improves cardiovascular health, enhanced mobility and flexibility, increased strength, better mood, increased metabolism, overall stress reduction, “just to name a few,” she said. “It enables each of us to explore the world, engage in experiences, and maintain physical and mental well-being. When we move, we can connect with others and feel good about ourselves. It is also a gift to ourselves; when we fill our cup first, we take care of ourselves so that we can be of service to others. If there is ever a concern as to whether or not someone can/should practice yoga, they should consult their physician for guidance before starting a practice.”