Pa. woman creates yoga studio to ease anxiety in kids and families

RICHBORO, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- "If you asked me maybe even 10 years ago, 'What's yoga?,' I would have looked at you with a blank stare," said Michelle El Khoury.

Born and raised in Trinidad, an island in the Caribbean, El Khoury had never been exposed to the practice. In fact, after earning a PhD and working in the pharmaceutical industry, it still hadn't crossed her mind.

"And then when I was pregnant with my second child, I got into yoga," she said.

Her experience inspired her to bring yoga classes to her community. Her dream was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred conversation about anxiety among both children and adults. Thus, YOGAMAZIA was born. It started as an online service in 2020 and opened the doors to its physical space in the summer of 2021.

The second-floor studio in Richboro, Pennsylvania, offers prenatal sessions, free family yoga, and membership-based classes for children and teens.

"I saw it as a lifeline for my daughter," said Jodi Silvers from Newtown, Pennsylvania. "The kids have been through so much in the last couple of years, and they struggle with anxiety, and it teaches them coping skills."

Other parents say El Khoury helps their children find a space away from the hustle and bustle of school and siblings.

"As soon as you walk in this door, she connects with you," said Kathryn McNamara from Warminster. "And it's just like a second home."

El Khoury is hopeful that her business will continue to grow as a helpful resource in her Bucks County community.

"I think from an overall perspective, it was offering the community a chance for their kids to learn something they would be able to implement in every aspect of life," she said.

To learn more about YOGAMAZIA, visit their website.

This story is part of 6abc's partnership with the African American Chamber of Commerce of PA, NJ and DE to put a spotlight on a diverse array of "Good Business" owners in our area. To learn more, click here.

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