Yoga has been intertwined in Adi Strigl’s life for almost as long as she can remember.
“I found yoga or yoga found me,” she said. “It really supported me though pregnancies and moves, loss and joys, so many monumental moments in life. To share that gift with the world is such an unbelievable feeling.”
A longtime yoga instructor, Strigl decided to use yoga to bring a sense of normalcy back to children’s lives amid the pandemic. In the fall of 2020, the Israeli native and Doylestown transplant began offering outdoor kids-only yoga classes. By winter, she had moved classes inside her Furlong studio. Soon after, The Yoga Gnome, Bucks County’s first kids’ yoga studio, was born. Substituting the word gnome for home, she chose the business name as a play on words for the adages “there’s no place like home” and “home sweet home.” She also liked the “whimsical” and “fairytale” feel of the name.
Classes are available for babies learning to crawl through teenagers and are grouped according to age. Each yoga class includes mindfulness, meditation and relaxation.
“Every age has the magic,” Strigl said. “You just meet them where they are. That’s what yoga is.”
In addition to Strigl, three other yoga instructors teach classes. Strigl credits her stepson, 18, and daughters, ages 10 and 8, with supporting her and taking part in classes.
What the new entrepreneur sought most in launching her business was the know-how to set up an LLC, pay taxes and provide proper insurance. She found help from SCORE Bucks County mentors Samuel Twardowski and Marvin Deitch.
“Sam and Marvin have been so wonderful to work with. They really helped me with more practical things,” said Strigl, whose brimming creativity sometimes leaves little room for organizational tasks. “They helped me so much, everything to do with numbers and with calculations. It kept me accountable. It kept me connected to the purpose.”
Twardowski and Deitch have provided Strigl with guidance and resources on various topics, including time management/scheduling and helped her find an accountant and attorney.
“She has done a great job in moving her business forward,” Twardowski said. “She has been consistently filling up her class sessions. She has expanded her class offerings to newer age groups, has brought on additional instructors and has established an upcoming summer camp program.”
Even as the U.S. heads out of the pandemic, Strigl intends to keep her yoga studio focused primarily on kids. Reminiscing about how The Yoga Gnome began – and the impact it has had on her young students – still resonates with her.
“The kids were really anxious. They were really craving going back to regular life,” Strigl recalled. “That was the moment it clicked with me. And I said, ‘I need to do this for the kids, to help them.’”
The Yoga Gnome is a “safe space.”
“If you’re feeling worried, if you’re feeling upset about something, you can express whatever is coming out of you,” she said. “We are all going through that. Humanity is all about riding the waves and the pulsation of life.”
At the end of the day, Strigl knows she is making a difference.
“Parents would tell me, ‘you really saved my kids during this time,’” Strigl said, overcome with emotion. “It is so touching for me.”