On the day I moved into Vassar, my family and I grabbed a cup of coffee at the Crafted Kup. My mom, who’s been a yoga instructor for seven years, saw a sign over the coffee shop’s storefront for Stone Wave Yoga, which had just opened over the summer. She thought that having access to yoga could help in my transition to college, so she encouraged me to visit the studio. Halfway into the semester, I unexpectedly found myself following her advice. I didn’t go for class, though, but instead to talk to studio owner Liz Glover Wilson. I wanted to learn more about her business as a component of the Arlington community, but also hear her insights on yoga as a method of self-care.
I found a sandwich board on the corner of Raymond and Lagrange Avenues which directed me to the second floor of an office building. Signs for the studio led me down a carpeted hallway until I found a door bearing Glover Wilson’s definition of a “stone wave”: “a place of beauty, strength, and fluidity.” I visited on a Friday, one of the days on which Stone Wave offers Bikram yoga and pilates classes in a heated studio, so the room was still warm from an earlier class. Glover Wilson and I sat on the floor in front of the mirrored studio wall to talk, and she was happy to share her passion for the practice that has helped her find peace.
When she was in her early 20s, Glover Wilson started taking Bikram yoga classes in New York City. Initially, the practice mainly appealed to her because of its physical benefits. Later, she began to explore other aspects of yoga, developing an interest in breathing methods, meditation and the selfcare involved in the practice. By her late 30s, she was practicing yoga while working in a corporate job and living in the East Village. Then her younger sister Esther died in a car accident at age 37, and Glover Wilson’s outlook changed. “I was numb for a while, but then I started to wake up,”she recounted. “I felt really strongly that I had no more time to waste and I had to do the things that I felt [I should] do.”
Her shift in perspective eventually led her to move to the Hudson Valley and pursue her passion. She opened her first Stone Wave Yoga studio in Gardiner and has since expanded her reach. Throughout our conversation, she cited intuition as a force driving her decisions, at one point telling me that this force would eventually help me pick a major. This instinct also led her to open up her studio in Arlington. One night early in 2019, she went for a walk around the area while waiting to pick up a pizza on Collegeview Avenue. She saw a storefront for rent and called the real estate company on the spot. She didn’t end up renting that space, but the company referred her to a rental around the corner. After only three weeks she signed a contract for the space that would become her new studio. The studio has been open since July, and so far Glover Wilson feels her instincts have steered her right: She loves the new branch and is working to integrate it into the Arlington community.
When discussing her goal for her practice, Glover Wilson emphasized inclusion. Coming from the city, she’d left a culture where yoga students were often boxed into a model-like body type and lifestyle, and she didn’t want to propagate this expectation for her students. “Yoga is not actually about the aesthetics,” she said. “It’s actually not about the poses, it’s about your journey when you’re in the poses.” Yoga, Glover Wilson believes, should be a space in which people can be totally themselves, no matter their level of fitness or experience. Her studio offers a variety of walk-in classes each week in different styles to appeal to a broad audience of potential students.
She hopes that Vassar students will explore the practice for themselves, both for the physical and mental benefits. Glover Wilson compares yoga to an oasis, and hopes that more community members will discover these moments of peace for themselves. “I know for myself when I was in university… the pranayama, the breathwork, the importance of the time alone on the mat, is really important to the success of your college experience,” she told me. She hopes that yoga will provide her students with a peaceful place to decompress and find moments of rest.