She may have made her mark in sport in the cold of winter but finding an Olympic athlete on Capitol Hill as the 2012 games open in London means you’re going to break a sweat.
“There’s no reason why anyone can’t take a little time to come in and feel a little bit better,” said Jamie Silverstein, the founder of the new Vinyasa Yoga style studio The Grinning Yogi on 15th Ave E at Harrison.
“What are you doing in thirty minutes?” she asked before offering a free spot in that afternoon’s Yoga Jolt session.
Silverstein moved to Seattle from New York in April of this year to start her studio — but before that she was training under a Russian coach as a world class ice skater. After a difficult bout with eating disorders early in her career and a brief break from the sport, Silverstein came back to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin.
Yoga was originally just a way for Silverstein to increase flexibility for training, but slowly it became something much more.
“I started when I was 15 years old. I loved how yoga gave me an opportunity to let my burdens fall by the way side. Yoga’s not telling you to change anything — it’s telling you to let clutter fall away.’”
During breaks from ice skating, Silverstein found herself continuing yoga. Her enthusiasm is evident during classes, which she conducts with joyous reverence. The happy seems to be rubbing off on her customers, who rave about the sessions.
“Vinyasa is a lot about fluidity and stuff to open the body,” Silverstein said, “it links breath and movement and gives you time for meditation, which is really nice.”
Silverstein opened her studio on 15th Ave E in May. The Grinning Yogi offers a “New Student” 3 class pass for $18. “You don’t have to be flexible to do yoga—it’s for anyone who wants to take time to feel better.”
Before I leave, I have to ask Silverstein about a rumor.
“I can in fact confirm that everyone hits on everyone in the Olympic Village. It’s crazy, but you are taking the most beautiful, fit people in the world in the best shape of their lives, and putting them in one place,” she said.
“Plus, when you are at the Olympics, everything is heightened because you are competing, so — it gets crazy. My coach was part of the USSR system, so there was none of that for me.”