Health & Fitness
Ava Janowitz, 4,
of Farmington Hilts
Special to the Jewish News
Kirschner of West
Bloomfield is addicted to
yoga — and she won't hesitate to
tell you all about it.
The kindergartner proudly
shows her parents the "tree pose"
or the "child pose,' stretching exer-
cises she has learned in children's
yoga classes at Temple Israel in
She also looks forward to "yoga
sleep',' a relaxation technique that's
used to end each session's where
the children imagine floating on a
raft or on a cloud.
"I never exercise at home and
they really exercise in that class':
Sadie said. "I love it so much."
Sadie is just one of about two
dozen children, ages 4-5, who
regularly attend yoga classes as
part of Temple Israel's enrichment
program. An eight-week summer
session, currently under way, takes
place on Tuesday mornings. Fall
classes scheduled for Friday after-
noons in September-January are
already booked. Instructor Gayle
Goodman of Orchard Lake says
she started the classes five years
ago after she was bitten by the
yoga bug herself.
"I feel like it focuses me
more,' Goodman said. "I
feel like yoga has helped
me and I knew it would
Goodman's yoga classes
for children are corn-
pletely different than tra-
ditional adult yoga classes,
which include a series of
Hindu mental, spiritual
and physical exercises
designed to aid in enlightenment.
In 30-minute sessions, she incor-
porates some posing, stretching
and breathing from traditional
yoga, but uses role-playing, sing-
ing and story-telling to capture
the children's imaginations. She
even works Jewish holidays into
"On Passover, we were frogs
jumping here, there and every-
where. On Yom HaAtzmaut, we
were candles singing happy birth-
day to Israel as we melted into a
small puddle Goodman said.
improve their self esteem.
"I start each class with a
gratitude circle Goodman said.
"Going around the circle, the
children say one thing they are
thankful for that day. It's very
interesting to see the broad range
Many of the lesson plans
focus on feeling good about
yourself, setting goals and
making decisions. In some
classes, the children say
nice things to each other
or explain what they like
best about themselves. Five-
year-old Sadie certainly
seems to have caught on.
"It makes me feel strong:'
"I feel like she comes home
and has an appreciation for
fitness, even at this early age
added Sadie's mom, Jamie
Kirschner. "It's her favorite class.
She absolutely loves it."
In addition to the other ben-
efits, Goodman believes one of
Kids learn the
fine art of yoga
to help stay
relaxed and fit.
The unconventional classes
include imaginary trips to the
zoo where the children do poses
representing different animals.
Sometimes, they pretend to be
fish in a stream, or trees growing
in a forest. Goodman believes they
gain strength, focus, flexibility and
the best things about yoga for
children is that it's done in a
nonjudgmental and noncompeti-
In today's society, these kids
are so competitive Goodman
said. "If they're doing a yoga
pose, it doesn't matter if they're
doing it right as long as they
feel good about it. Yoga is all
about feeling good, having fun
and being positive. It gives them
discipline; they stretch; it teaches
them deep breathing — I think
the benefits are just never-end-
ing." I 1
There are still openings
for the winter session of
children's yoga at Temple
Israel beginning in
January. For information
or to inquire about other
call Temple Israel,
July 27 2006