HEALTH & FITNESS
on the cover,
The Flight Of Yoga
Studios take off despite the economic downturn.
STORIES BY JUDITH DONER BERNE I SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
onny Kest thanks his dad for
turning him on to yoga, an
ancient practice that is gain-
ing modern followers in Metro
Detroit despite the precarious economy.
Local yoga studios report more
people are practicing yoga, a discipline
born in India that has taken a more
aerobic form in the United States.
Not only are established yoga stu-
dios growing and expanding, but new
ones are opening up.
"Our business has increased in
2008-2009," says Kest, who operates
the Center for Yoga in Birmingham and
West Bloomfield with his wife, Milla.
They are planning to launch a third stu-
dio in Ann Arbor.
Although most people are attracted to
the physicality of yoga, they end up stay-
ing because the mental benefits are even
better, says Kest. "That's recession-proof
because you learn to live life in a more
calm and balanced way," he says.
It was his dad, Dr. Rohm Kest,
an oral-maxillofacial surgeon, who
turned to yoga to heal a bad back
when Kest was a child. He whisked
Kest to India, taking him out of school
for three months, to study yoga.
are doing yoga
because of the
— Brian Granader of Red Lotus Yoga
When they returned, Kest's physi-
cal education teacher at Groves High
School in Beverly Hills, Emma Jo
Washka, had him teach yoga once a
week to his class. "That was my first
teaching experience," he says.
Many years later Washka, who is now
Emma Jo Charron, unknowingly found
herself in a yoga class that Kest was
teaching. "It's a real proud thing for a
teacher to see someone practice what
you've tried to instill," Charron, a White
Lake resident, says.
Kest formed his first yoga center in
Michigan in 1993. "Nearly all the area
yoga centers started from here," he
Indeed, dozens of yoga teachers as
well as studio owners, such as Eric
Paskel, a partner with Steve Feldman
FLIGHT OF YOGA on page A22
Why They Do It
"I need yoga every day," ac-
knowledges Andy Wolfe, a West
Bloomfield husband and father
of four, who does loyalty market-
ing for the auto industry.
Although he may only get to
one class a week, he has relied
on it for 10 years "to help keep
my head clear, balance myself
and keep my life in perspective
between business and home."
Wolfe, who mountain bikes
and plays in-line hockey, says
yoga "is one of the best exercis-
es I've found, from head to toe."
Like many of us, Gayle Good-
man of Orchard Lake has cut out
a number of non-essentials in
her life, in the wake of the poor
economy. "But I can't give up the
yoga," she says.
"It relaxes me, it calms me,"
says the one-time aerobics
enthusiast, who practices daily
and teaches Kids Yoga at Temple
Israel in West Bloomfield.
WHY THEY DO IT on page A22
June 25 2009