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Yoga practice helps Bucks County kids find balance


Adi Strigl saw the toll the COVID-19 lockdown was taking on her three children. They couldn’t go to school. They couldn’t see their friends. None of the activities they normally enjoyed were available. They had a hard time falling asleep. It was then in 2020 when Adi got an idea of how she might help give her children, and maybe other children, some tools to help them cope. This impulse gave root to what would become The Yoga Gnome.

As a teen back in her native Israel, Adi had been persuaded by a friend to attend a yoga class. It was love at first sight. “From the minute I smelled the lemon verbena and saw the fairy lights hanging from the ceiling, I knew this was for me.”

Yoga had to wait when Adi joined the Israeli army at 18. I tell her I can’t think of anything more unlike yoga than the military. She doesn’t agree. “They both require discipline and having a mission.”

I ask what the mission of yoga is and without hesitation, she responds, “Yoga’s mission is connecting you to your own truth, truth of body, mind, heart, and spirit, and through that, connecting to the world around you.”

Adi left the army at 21 with the rank of Communications Sergeant. She traveled all over, Spain, Central America, Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, and eventually the United States. She followed friends to Bucks County where she met her future husband, Mike, in Langhorne. They both worked at the Oxford Valley Mall.

Her interest in yoga had never left her and she loved its philosophy so much that she began taking classes in Doylestown, which proved useful when she started teaching her own children some basic poses. She included a body scan meditation before bed and saw right away how it improved their sleep.

Adi posted on Facebook asking if anybody was interested in yoga for kids and said she was willing to teach. A friend offered her a beautiful courtyard beside an orchard in Furlong to hold her first classes. She started sessions with up to 10 students per class, mostly 5-to-10-year-olds.

“Everything after that just evolved,” she says. “I felt like the universe was backing me up.”

Autumn came and people started asking what would happen now that it was getting too cold to stay outdoors. Next to the courtyard where she’d been holding classes was a building that just happened to be vacant. It became her first studio.

I ask her why she thinks it all seemed to unfold so easily.

“Everything comes from my heart, and it paved this effortless road. I am so grateful,” she says, and I believe her. Adi has kind eyes and a very loving demeanor.

In October, The Yoga Gnome will reopen at its new location in Doylestown. It offers “Baby and Me” classes for babies six weeks to crawling and “Gnome and Me” for preschoolers. Other classes include “Family Yoga,” four separate “Yoga and Mindfulness” classes for kindergarten-to-2nd grade, 3rd-5th, 4th-6th graders, and LGBTQ+ for Tweens and Teens.

Adi said the kids’ favorite pose is the “Savasana” or “Final Pose” at the end of class where they simply lie on their backs, letting their arms and legs drop beside them. Adi says it gives them “a chance to rest, no effort necessary, nothing to try for, no outcome in mind, nothing to achieve, giving them the chance to go from “doing” to just “being,” an opportunity less and less available in our over-scheduled lives.

I wish they’d had yoga for kids when my children were little — and when I was myself. I remember how much I hated what was euphemistically referred to as “gym,” which consisted mostly of dodgeball and jumping jacks, neither at which I was able to excel, and the notes I wrote to get out of it, lengthy missives inventing feminine maladies so complex and personal I knew Mr. Deviney would never want to question me. That was when I first honed my writing skills.

I love yoga. No other form of exercise provides that sense of overall well-being. Best of all, you don’t sweat, gasp, or have balls thrown at you.

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