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Women Bisnow
   
October 1, 2008
 
 
 

Zen Woman


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By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

It's hard to believe, but once there were no yoga studios downtown. Then came Christy Turlington doing yoga on the cover of Time in 2002 and everyone was saying "Om."  Kimberly Wilson, Creative Director of Tranquil Space, started teaching yoga in her U Street living room in 1999, during the dark ages of the Indian exercise discipline. Within a year she had outgrown her home, and nine years and three studios later, Tranquil Space has gone from 10 students a week to 700.

 

One of the few non-corporate types to win the Smart CEO Bravo Women Business Achievement Award this year, Wilson came to Washington for a paralegal program, then worked in the trademark area. She left the legal world in 2000 to focus on her studio and pursue a masters in women's studies at GW, which had the first such program in the nation. "Our students are 85% women, and that's pretty standard nationally," says Wilson who offers a men-only class on Wednesdays at her 17th street location. "The studio is quite feminine. The goddess is our logo. It's just that foremost, my work is about empowering women." Tranquil Space launched a non-profit two years ago that brings yoga, creativity and leadership to girls in high school. The all-volunteer program goes to schools, synagogues, boys and girls clubs, "anywhere there is a group of girls already gathered."

 

Tranquil Space just moved to a new three studio, store and spa space on 17th, adding to its Arlington and Bethesda locations. Wilson used sustainable materials like cork flooring and wood from an old farmhouse. She takes the same mentality to her yoga clothing-line started in 2002. "We use bamboo organic cotton and plant a tree for every online order we ship." A clothing line and three studios in nine years sounds like a fast rise but Wilson calls it "a slow organic journey."

 

With the juggling act that is corporate womanhood, Wilson encourages women to be diligent about taking care of themselves. "We are always so focused on other people or on our businesses. You need to take time out to replenish and be with like-minded people. You need to surround yourself with people who support you." For relaxation, she recommends a comfort drawer at your desk. It can be filled with lavender, inspirational quotes, a nice quote from a client, positive press. Author of Hip Tranquil Chick and currently working on her second book, out in '09, Wilson doesn't just want you to bend yourself into a pretzel between meetings. "I try to bring yoga to life so it is not just poses; it's a lifestyle. It can help women grow in their careers and lives."

 
 
 
 
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