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Finding Balance Through Exercise

Centeredbeing studio in Lorton aims to make community healthy and balanced.

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Suzie Carmack, the founder and owner of Centeredbeing studio in Lorton, stands in front of a map marking the spread of her YouTube video that includes moves on how to stay active at work.

Centeredbeing studio in Lorton is more than just a place for yoga and pilates.

According to Suzie Carmack of Lorton, who founded Centeredbeing in 2008, the studio is about trying to get people to live more centered and balanced lives and to take the time to move and be mindful.

“We really want this to be something that serves the community,” Carmack said.

In 2009, Carmack was teaching yoga and pilates at different places, and decided to create some YouTube workouts about how to be mindful and move at work.

“I grew the brand globally before it became local,” Carmack said.

Carmack made the videos for her own clients to have something to do when she was out of town.

“Little by little, I started developing expertise in training yoga teachers, specifically how they could give their clients things to do during their day at their desk. Little by little, people started taking notice of that,” Carmack said.

As Carmack continued to do workshops and trainings, people would ask her where they could go to take a class. She would direct them to other teachers, but began to think about opening her own studio.

“It has always been in my heart to have my own studio,” Carmack said.

THE STUDIO in the Lorton Valley shopping center opened on Nov. 1 of last year, and has developed into a community of social support.

“I knew that moving out of my basement studio into this space would take a team. That was why I wanted to do it, it wasn’t just to have a bigger space to teach people myself, it’s much more giving a space for so many other teachers I knew that are really talented, for them to have a space where they could teach and interact with each other. We could build a community of members that support each other,” Carmack said.

Since opening, Centeredbeing has expanded to offer creative dance and movement classes for children from 6-months to 14 years. The studio has also occupied the space next door, allowing for more classes to take place.

“The expansion allows us to have a kid’s class going on while an adult can take their class. Instead of having child care, their child is actively doing something like yoga or dance while their parent can take a class. That is really helpful to the parent and the kids,” said Gina Piccoli of Lorton, who runs the school program.

According to Carmack, the dance classes allow children to rebuild their creativity and self-confidence, all while learning the process of dance making.

“What we are trying to do is to create a program that is all about the child’s development and also about the child having fun with movement without necessarily having a target goal of a high-stakes performance or a high-stakes competition. We are focusing on the process,” Carmack said. “They want to come to move, to feel good, to be expressive, and to use movement and creativity as a way to manage themselves so they can get out of their stress, feel good about themselves, and go back to their day.”

Bill McDow of Lake Ridge, who has been training in yoga since 2004, teaches the Centeredbeing yoga class and has enjoyed the response people have to the class.

“The approach is a whole body and lifestyle approach. People who may come to the studio come for a lot of different reasons,” McDow said.

BILL LYNCH, a commercial real estate developer from Lorton, said the biggest change he’s seen since starting yoga has been being able to grab his feet. He also enjoys the non-competitive atmosphere of Centeredbeing, and likes that McDow, his instructor, is around his age.

“I’m 60, I was next to a 14-year-old in class today. It’s not a competitive place,” Lynch said. “You’re here for yourself.”

Piccoli said that the yoga class at Centeredbeing helped her son deal with anger issues.

“It was just interesting how much it helped him, and I don’t think just taking a fitness class would have done that for him. The fact that we do have the mindfulness and the creativeness built in there was really good for him,” Piccoli said.

Carmack said that Centeredbeing doesn’t follow the Rockette’s approach to fitness.

"We have a limit of 14 people in our classes. We intentionally limit things. We want to get to know our people. We want them to get to know each other,” Carmack said.