A cancer survivor has created a yoga studio for children. It’s her way of helping them celebrate their different abilities and it’s why we’re making her this week’s Ann Marie All Star.
As a preschool teacher, Ashley Goldberg knew she loved teaching children. But, after spending her own childhood battling cancer unable to participate in most activities, she knew how important it was to start teaching in a different sort of classroom.
“This is the place where little yogi’s come to life,” Goldberg said.
Born Yoga is not your typical quiet yoga studio.
“I like to do yoga and it’s so fun,” four-year-old yoga student Stella Manney said.
There are smiles and laughs as kids of all ages learn the practice of yoga in the Birmingham studio.
“It was just natural, the kids love it, they’re natural yogi’s it’s incredible,” Goldberg said.
Yoga for kids is a fairly new concept Ashley Goldberg is bringing to Birmingham. It’s the creation of her own passion for yoga and love of encouraging kids of all abilities to get strong, healthy, mindful and to celebrate what they love about themselves.
“I had bone cancer as a child and I always sort of struggled with finding something to do,” she said. “It was in my leg so I couldn’t do sports, I could never play. Once I found yoga it was something I could really do that I felt I was part of a community.”
Today the studio and her students are her community. She offers aerial yoga, camps and welcomes special needs students helping them to modify the poses for every ability level.
“Watching them and they’re each different in their own way but they all are capable of doing the breathing or poses and they all love it,” she said. “The smiles that they bring, it just makes it all worth it.”
Now cancer free for 24 years, Goldberg says this is her life’s purpose.
“I’ve had chemotherapy twice, lost my hair twice, I’ve probably had over a dozen surgeries – I’m beyond lucky to have my leg,” she said.
So, whether is just an hour of fun, calm or boost of self-esteem for her- every moment is precious.
“I lost a lot of what I would call a normal childhood so for me- I live through the eyes of these children every day and it’s just such a beautiful blessing to teach them.”
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