Founder and CEO, Born Yoga
Interviewed by Andrea Zarczynski
Meet Ashley Brooke Goldberg, a Birmingham resident and yogi changing the way children approach fitness.
A seeker of serenity and nature, she became a certified children’s, postnatal and baby yoga instructor and began teaching the discipline to her preschool students at Temple Shir Shalom in Bloomfield Township. The experience was so positive that she opened her own youth yoga studio, Born Yoga of Birmingham.
Today, Ashley connects with children and teens of all ages through exciting yoga activities, projects and music to promote active, healthy lives. The two-time cancer survivor also seeks to bring mindfulness and yoga to children facing illness in and out of the hospital.
“My survivorship has really led me down all of the paths I have taken in life, which ultimately led me to opening the studio,” Goldberg said. “Yoga is my passion — I am exactly where I need to be.”
What inspired you to pursue a career in yoga? Yoga has had a profound impact on my life. I was practicing yoga before I even really knew I was. What I mean is that at age 7 and again at 12, I was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma (osteosarcoma), a cancer that starts in the bone. My childhood consisted of more than a dozen surgeries, years of chemotherapy, hair loss, a wheelchair, crutches and all of the emotional trauma that goes along with a cancer diagnosis.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was using breathing techniques and mindfulness to help me get through all of this. It wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I actually went to a yoga studio and began the practice of yoga, combining the physical with the mental that I was already doing. I felt like I was a part of a community for the first time. Truly, anybody can do yoga.
What do you hope your studio will offer young yogis? I hope Born Yoga offers children a place to be themselves, a space where they feel welcome to be who they are without anyone judging them. I want them to leave here feeling strong, both physically and mentally, as they learn to be more mindful and aware of themselves and how they have the ability to leave a positive impact on the world around them.
Who has made the most positive impact in your life? My mother is hands down the most important person in my life. She has been my rock, a constant source of love and support, a role model and my best friend. I probably would not be here today if it wasn’t for her.
Why is yoga so important for youth? Yoga is important for many reasons. Aside from the physical strength and flexibility gained, yoga provides youth the opportunity to stop and breathe. As they learn to breathe and move with their breath, they learn to be in control of their actions. In essence, they are becoming more mindful.
Furthermore, yoga is a practice that anybody can do. No matter what physical limitations you may have, there is always a way to modify a pose. What a beautiful gift it is to give our children the opportunity to do an activity that doesn’t rely on competing or looking exactly like the person next to you.
What has been your most meaningful yoga teacher-student interaction? At the end of each aerial class, I have the kids pick an affirmation card, and we take turns reading them aloud. I then ask them to tell me if the card sounds like them or if it’s something they need to work on. I explain to them that, as yogis, we are always working on being better human beings.
One day I picked and read aloud the “I am a shining star” card. The description on the back reads “I make a positive difference in the world.” One of the girls in the class said, “You do that every day right here!”
This meant more to me than this child could possibly know. Many kids also tell me how much they love yoga and that they use the breathing techniques they learned when they are feeling stressed or upset at home or in school. This is always music to my ears.
What do you enjoy doing outside of yoga? Being a small business owner means that I do not have much free time; though I love being outside, surrounded by nature whenever possible, and I especially enjoy golfing and biking. NS
FOR MORE INFO
2121 Cole St., Birmingham
(248) 480-0452, bornyogastudio.com