Jen Coluzzi is a Philadelphia native who recently found her way down to Lexington. She has been practicing Bikram Yoga since 2003 to keep up both her physical and mental well being. She went to Bikram Yoga Teacher Training in the fall of 2010 in San Diego after working for many years as a personal assistant and in restaurants. Shortly after training, she began teaching full time and managing studios.
Jen has taught at lots of studios in the PA/NJ area, as well as other studios along the east coast. With the addition of Yin Yoga training in 2018, she teaches multiple styles of classes. She brings compassion and levity to her classes, being able to help the newest student feel comfortable while advancing the practice of a more experienced one.
Caroline got hooked on yoga in 1996 after a five day intensive workshop she attended in the Himalayas. The Iyengar teacher challenged the participants to practice six poses every day taking one day off each week then to see how they felt after 6 months, one year, two years … Caroline took the bait and found a teacher in her own personal practice as she discovered that her own attention to practice became her teacher. Her practice grew tremendously when she became a student of the Advanced Studies/Teacher Training program at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco from 2006 until completion in 2008. She had the opportunity to apprentice with Senior Teacher Janet McLeod whose depth of practice and light wit she admires. Caroline has enjoyed teaching beginners since 2008.
Susan Dixon first tried yoga when she was a high school senior. The deep relaxation and flexibility that she felt after an hour of stretching and breathing felt wonderful, but Susan was hooked by the yoga teacher’s affirmation that yoga is accessible to everyone at every age. Since then, Susan has taken classes with teachers in France and the U.S., experiencing various styles of hatha yoga. In 2017, she completed an interdisciplinary 200-hour teacher training with Ann Hunt at Evolve Yoga in Maryland, an affiliate of the Nosara Yoga Institute in Costa Rica. Susan is thrilled and honored to share her yoga at Center of Gravity. Her intention is to assist students as they cultivate physical strength, deep relaxation, and balance through a slow flow vinyasa. Susan lives in Lexington with her middle-school-aged son and yoga-curious cat. She teaches French and Francophone studies at Bridgewater College and travels to Paris and Rome whenever she can.
Susan became interested in yoga after retiring from 31 years of teaching elementary school and found that yoga benefited her other interests: hiking, tennis, golf and gardening. Her passion for yoga evolved into a desire to share yoga with others and a search began for further yoga training. After taking several classes with Yoga Fit, Susan received her 200 RYT with Marianne Wells in Costa Rico. Inspired by reading Rolf Gates’ Meditations from the Mat, Susan began searching for a workshop lead by Gates and ended up taking a 300-hour training with him to receive her 500 RYT. She has taken many workshops and trainings over the past 5 years including Yoga Therapy with Gary Kraftsow, Yoga for Depression and Anxiety with Amy Weintraub, Meditation and Yin Yoga with Sarah Powers, Restorative Yoga with Judith Lasater, and Freedom Yoga with Erich Schiffman. Each training/workshop has contributed to the mindful style of yoga that Susan enjoys teaching. She would like to thank Rolf and all the other teachers for their wisdom, guidance and inspiration during their time together on this amazing, transformative yoga journey.
Amy did not fall in love with yoga right away; rather, it was something that grew on her with time, kind of like that climbing, flowering vine you plant that creeps along for years then finally flourishes. She started in her late twenties as a somewhat reluctant attendee, simply because it worked for her schedule, but as the years went by, Amy began practicing more regularly and yoga became something she began to cherish, instead of merely an exercise routine that worked with her children’s school schedules. Her early teachers were in Charlotte, NC, all amazing teachers with completely different styles which shaped her yoga practice today. When she and her family moved to Lexington in 2014, she practiced even more regularly and became certified in Grounded Kids Yoga in 2015, leading her to teach yoga to children and teens ages 2-18 at various schools in Rockbridge County. Amy obtained her 200 YT certification with Karen Thomas and Liz Reynolds (daughter of COG’s very own Susan Evans) in Charlottesville, VA, in April of 2018. Continually learning from the fabulous teachers at Center of Gravity, Amy enjoys creating vinyasa classes for adults that provide a fun, light-hearted, sustainable environment while maintaining the integrity of yogic traditions. A 25-year veteran of the early childhood classroom, Amy now works at Washington and Lee in the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Office of Community-Based Learning.
I’ve had a lifelong interest in fitness, encompassing distance running, yoga and Pilates. Anymore, I stick to Pilates because it’s the most efficient, foundational form of exercise I know, enhancing whatever physical activity I’m involved in, whether dance, running or just sitting at my computer lost in the vortex of the Internet. My fitness credentials: I received my Stott Pilates certification in 2008. I taught a popular mat Pilates class in the evenings at Washington and Lee University until 2011, when I transitioned to more of a rigorous, cardio conditioning class with weights. This class was quite popular among students. I started teaching it to employees at Virginia Military Institute a couple of times per week as well. In 2012, I received training to teach Stott Pilates Reformer. I no longer teach group fitness classes at the colleges, but operate a very small Pilates Reformer studio where I teach one-on-one sessions to clients on equipment. When I’m not teaching fitness, I am a writer. I’m currently working on my third book and do radio reporting for NPR affiliates across Virginia. I live in Rockbridge County with my husband Jake and our two daughters, June and Katie
Alisa moved to Virginia in 2015 from her beloved home of Rhode Island. Seeking community after the transitional move, Alisa found her way to yoga. In her yoga practice, Alisa enjoys experiencing a wide variety of teachers and gravitates towards playful, athletic, and flowing classes. She completed her 200 hour teaching training at The Center School of Yoga in Harrisonburg, VA with Suzanne McCahill Perrine in 2018. In teaching, Alisa aims to encourage students to experiment and to not take themselves too seriously. She firmly believes that there is no such thing as being bad at yoga or a perfect pose. Initially, the physical aspects drew her to yoga, and Alisa will always have a special place in her heart for arm balances and inversions, but the internal aspects have kept her curious through teacher training and beyond. When she is not practicing yoga, Alisa enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking, and walking her tiny dog, Donny.
Kristen is a 1995 graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a B.S. in Athletic Training. She studied dance for 18 years and has been faithfully practicing yoga and Pilates since 2002. In May of 2011, Kristen returned to UNLV to earn her Mat Work I and II Pilates certification. She is an instructor at Washington and Lee University, a position she has held September 2011.
She continued her Pilates education in April 2012 with workshops in “Pilates for Golf” and “Pilates for Stress Management.” Kristen lives in Lexington with her husband, Gene and their four daughters Kaelan, Molly, Ava, and Georgia. She is one of three co-owners of the studio.
As a Physical Education teacher for 18 years, I discovered yoga through group fitness. At that time, to enhance my job as a coach and teacher at Hollins University I became an aerobics instructor, certified through the American Council on Exercise. I began coaching and teaching at Washington & Lee University as the Head field Hockey coach and the assistant Women’s Lacrosse coach in 2001. I have taught yoga, aerobics, CPR and women’s health classes at the University level.
My training in yoga is through Yoga Fit, a company founded with the goal to bring yoga to the masses. The goal of Yoga Fit is to demystify yoga and create classes that are practical, user friendly and understandable to all levels. Although I came to yoga for the physical benefits, I have been impressed and pleased with the mental benefits. The ability to de-stress, control breathing and have a deeper sense of well-being has been significant and enjoyable.
As someone with an active interest in contributing to the local area, I am excited to begin this next chapter of my involvement in the Lexington and Rockbridge community. Currently serving on the board for Hull’s Drive-In, I have been a member of the Natural Bridge Volunteer Fire Department, and have also created a summer camp called Camp PLAY, focused on bringing active movement into the life of youngsters.
With over 20 years’ experience as a coach, I love to exercise with others and inspire others to get moving. While my specific training in yoga has been important, my teaching degree, classroom experience and coaching experience are what make me enjoy creating a fun and inspiring yoga class. I live on a small farm in Natural Bridge with my husband Mike and two children. My personal enjoyments include reading, riding horses, and being in the outdoors.
Karen recently returned to Rockbridge County. Although she is new to instructing Tai Chi, Karen is retired from the elementary school system. She is an experienced and passionate teacher. She has also been an instructor in ballet, canine obedience, and canine massage. Karen was an original member of the Rockbridge Ballet. She currently holds two teacher certifications in Tai Chi. Karen is married to retired Lt. Colonel Joseph Price.
Karen has always been a seeker interested in science and philosophy. She began taking yoga in 2000 not only as a way to become more flexible and calm, but also because of its connection with meditation and spirituality. She enrolled in a 200 hour teacher training with Anna Pittman in 2003 to deepen her practice and because she wanted to bring more yoga to Lexington.
Karen has been teaching yoga since 2003 in the Lexington area. She went on to receive her 500 hour certification with Anna Pittman, and has also studied with Tilak Pyle, Paul Grilley, Shiva Rea, and Sarah Powers. She continues to explore present moment awareness as a central principal of her teaching and her own practice. Karen is married with two spirited young sons and spends as much time as possible immersed in the natural world as a forester with the Commonwealth of Virginia and is one of three co-owners of the studio.
Laurie recently moved to Lexington from Philadelphia, PA where she discovered yoga in 2015 during a time of deep inner work and life transitions. Although her attraction to yoga was at first for purely the physical practice, she quickly learned that yoga is so much more and discovered the profound connection between the mind, body and spirit. Within a year of her first vinyasa class, Laurie began teaching after obtaining her 200hr Yoga Teacher certification in 2016 under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Mitchell at Dana Hot Yoga. Since 2016, she has taught weekly classes at a variety of studios and companies in the Philadelphia area. She continued her yoga education by getting certified for Kids & Teens Yoga with YogaLife Institute, restorative yoga with Judy Curiel, and yin yoga with Corina Benner.
Through the yoga practice, Laurie has gained a deeper understanding of the strength and flexibility of her spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health. She aims to bring those tools and lessons into all her classes long with making them fun and accessible for all levels. Laurie is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and has Level 1 certifications in Reiki, Emotional Freedom Technique, and completing Meditation Method Teacher Certification. She combines all these techniques in her profession as Life Coach, helping others break free and release their emotional baggage and unhealthy behaviors to live their true passions and pursue their personal freedom.
My 200 hr. training is in the traditional style of Hatha Yoga under Anna Pittman of Blacksburg, VA. To complete my 500 hr. RYT I studied at the Samudra School of Living Yoga with international teacher and activist Shiva Rea, innovator of Prana Flow® Yoga. As a graduate of this program, I am a certified teacher of Prana Flow® Yoga. I have done continued training with many others including Maria Garre, Eric Schiffman, as well as Sarah Powers in Yin Yoga and meditation. In the summer of 2012 while walking on the Florida beach, I met my qigong teacher, John Walcott. The ancient tradition of qigong has added a new dimension to my practice, and I have gone on to earn my qigong teaching certification at Cloudwalker Studio in 2014.
With a degree in classical piano performance, over the past 32 years I have worked and taught in the fields of music, outdoor experiential adventure, timber framing, and yoga. In addition to my various vocations my interests have included long distance and athletic endurance adventures. I have always been drawn to nature and personal challenges in nature. In 1991 I backpacked the entire length of the Appalachian Trail, and in 2014, I completed my first marathon.
My yoga practice began in California in 1989, but in 2005 it took on a new level of dedication and consistency as I searched for a way to heal my body from the stresses of timber framing, backpacking, playing a musical instrument and running. It was the physical healing as well as the benefits of strength and flexibility that drew me into yoga, but through the physical I discovered the deeper mental and spiritual benefits of yoga and qigong as well.
I believe a passionate student is what makes a good teacher, and as a lifelong student my greatest gifts come from sharing what I learn and love.
Heather Rhea O’Connor graduated from the University of the Arts in 2014 with a BFA in modern dance. Along with dance, Heather is passionate about pilates, yoga, and other methods of self-care through movement and exercise. Heather recently moved to the Rockbridge Area and is currently working as a Behavioral Support Clinician for Compass Counseling Services of Virginia. Heather is looking to re-explore her love for movement and pilates following the recent birth of her daughter and is happy to be a new member of the Center of Gravity team!
Center of Gravity Owners
Wendy Cobb Orrison