Dan Gottlieb, also known as “Yoga Dan,” a Detroit yoga instructor, left; Julie Levinson, a Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital yoga therapist, left center; Pistons player Luke Kennard, right center; and Pistons player Boban Marjanovic lead a yoga class at the hospital Jan. 23.

Dan Gottlieb, also known as “Yoga Dan,” a Detroit yoga instructor, left; Julie Levinson, a Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital yoga therapist, left center; Pistons player Luke Kennard, right center; and Pistons player Boban Marjanovic lead a yoga class at the hospital Jan. 23.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Pistons players join hospital yoga class

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published January 26, 2018

 Sandy Hill, of Commerce Township, poses during chair yoga.

Sandy Hill, of Commerce Township, poses during chair yoga.

Photo by Deb Jacques

WEST BLOOMFIELD — As part of a week of community-based events, a couple of Detroit Pistons players visited Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital to do some yoga and to promote wellness. 

The yoga class, held just for seniors, was part of the Pistons Fit Week initiative, which is made possible by Henry Ford Health System, one of the basketball team’s local partners. The initiative is part of the NBA’s Fit Week, which emphasizes the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle.

“Our athletes are such big role models, and we know this,” said Erika Swilley, director of community relations for the Pistons. “One of the major components of being a professional athlete is being healthy and fit.”

Pistons center Boban Marjanovic and guard Luke Kennard joined 50 local seniors at the yoga class Jan. 23. 

The class was led by Julie Levinson, a yoga therapist at Vita Wellness Center inside the hospital. Levinson teaches adaptive yoga, which is tailored to each patient’s individual needs.

“Yoga is not one-size-fits-all,” she said. “(I) focus on the health benefits. There is a fitness and body conditioning component, but it is a mind-body practice.”

Swilley said that the athletes on the Pistons team do yoga as part of their training, but the group had never hosted a community yoga event, so they wanted to incorporate it into this year’s Fit Week. 

“The goal of Pistons Fit is to expose the community to other ways to stay fit, not just basketball,” she said. “Our athletes use yoga and different methods to stay healthy and fit, and it’s (an everyday thing) people can do.” 

At Vita, classes are offered to patients six days a week. 

The practice of yoga can help pretty much anybody who wants to take the time to do it, said Levinson. 

“We have patients come in with anything — with chronic illnesses, like rheumatoid arthritis and (multiple sclerosis),” she said. “We also have people come in with anxiety or depression.”

Levinson said that she helps people figure out what works best with their body. She said yoga can lower blood pressure and balance blood sugar and hormones, as well as build bone density and strength, and increase mobility, balance and core strength.

For more information about the Vita Wellness Center and its programs, visit www.henryford.com/locations/west-bloomfield/vita.