By Marlee Riggin
Embody Movement Studio and Lifestyle Boutique is not your ordinary exercise or shopping experience. The lighting is low, the fragrances subtle, and there are not any clocks hanging on the wall.
Husband/wife team, Christina and David Wolf have transformed a neglected historical building and created a space designed to bring joy to all who enter through its doors.
“Embody is completely my vision and not part of any larger chain. I chose the name because of its meaning in relationship to what we do,” said Christina. “Embody is defined in lots of ways, but the definitions I like best are ‘to provide (a spirit) with a physical form’ and ‘to be an expression of or give a tangible or visible form to an idea, quality or feeling.’ At Embody we strive to embody movement, wellness and beauty.”
Embody offers classes in Nia dance, yoga and meditation. Nia is a low-impact, cardio-dance workout completed barefoot. It’s designed to energize and engage the mind, body and spirit and is adaptable to all fitness levels.
Embody’s approach is different from standard gyms and clubs. “Many gyms operate on a self-loathing and guilt-driven model – that you are not good enough as you are. I have no interest in that world,” said Christina. She described her studio as “the antithesis of that.”
“We provide a fitness experience that honors the individual and feels good and joyful,” she continued. “That’s why people come back – the weight loss, fitness, and better sense of well-being are simply the byproduct.”
“I consider the body a ‘sacred vessel’ for our spirit while we’re here,” said Christina. She provides a space for nurturing to take place. “When we care for our body in a loving, nurturing and healing way, we provide a home in which our spirit can thrive,” she said.
The idea for offering a yoga and movement studio was conceived from a place of grief. At the end of 2012, she received devastating news of an infertility diagnosis. “I always wanted to be a mom,” said Christina.
She had worked hard and was successful in the digital world as an advertising executive for AllRecipes.com. “I kept working and saving money so I could be home with a baby,” said Christina.
“Embody became my grief project,” said Christina. She and David starting looking for a space in January 2013. They found one in downtown Centralia. “The building had been a lot of things. It was completely gutted. David did pretty much all of the renovation,” she said.
Christina had a background in dance and yoga, but lacked the certifications in Nia and yoga. She did, however, have a business degree. She took the classes and put in the hours necessary to gain both certifications. She used social media to network and promote the business and offered a six-week free trial to select friends and family so she could practice teaching Nia.
That’s how she became reacquainted with Jana Dean. “Jana used to babysit me when I was three and four years old. She came with a friend and became even more excited about Nia than the friend who was originally invited,” said Christina.
Jana has been with Embody since it opened its doors, first as a volunteer trading time in the boutique for Nia classes, and then coming on as a part-time employee. She admitted when she started attending classes, she didn’t want to look at herself as she moved through the studio which has one mirrored wall. “Now, I love my body,” said Jana. She notices and celebrates the changes. “For an hour you can come here and be free,” she said.
It was a crazy time getting ready for Embody’s opening on August 24, 2013. The anticipation was amplified when Christina learned she was pregnant the day before.
She shared a personal story that made sense to her with the passing of time. “Nine months before my infertility diagnosis, David and I attended a three-day silent retreat,” said Christina. During this meditation retreat she journaled the following: “What you do if you found out you couldn’t have children? Do that, and trust that the baby will come in due time.”
Now two years later she said, “I never imagined it would be this, but I totally know it now. It’s been a process of surrender, again, and again, and again.”
Embody Movement Studio and Lifestyle Boutique
115 S. Tower Ave in Centralia
Classes offered 7 days a week from 6:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Friday from 12:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Closed on Sunday and Monday