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April 28, 2011

Body builder

Yoga instructor opens new downtown studio

While living in Colorado, Natasha Walters tried yoga for the first time.

“I saw all these advertisements,” she recalled.

She finally decided to give it a try after noticing an advertisement for “Hot Yoga,” which is held in a room with a temperature above 90 degrees and offers a deeper stretch.

“That class was amazing,” she said. “I felt great afterwards. I knew from that first class I wanted to teach.”

After two years of classes and 200 hours to become a certified trainer plus three years to prepare the building, Walters’ dream has become a reality.

“I’ve been working with this very seriously for three years,” she said. “Before that, it was a vision that didn’t seem like a reality.”

Bodyworks opened April 13, but Walters has been teaching yoga for a little over three years. She has been teaching with Kim English in an office space on West Market Street.

Bodyworks offers a variety of services including yoga, Pilates, cardio kickboxing, core strength, kids yoga and personal training. Walters is already considering additional options, including the introduction of hot yoga in May.

She’s also completed a program through the Institute for Integrated Nutrition to learn how to provide health and nutrition coaching and cooking classes.

Bodyworks is a team of six instructors striving to create a fun, challenging and inspiring environment for participants, according to Walters. Classes are offered at a variety of times, including early morning, morning, lunch time and evening classes.

Schedules can be found online at

Her quest started after Walters moved home from Chicago. Her dad, the owner of Walters Precision Collision Repair, purchased the building next to his shop for storage purposes.

“I walked through the building and saw a lot of potential,” she said. “I started teaching some lessons upstairs before the renovation. I wanted to get a feel for it and build students.”

She also wanted to see if her idea of opening a full-time business would work. Walters contacted Logan’s Landing to find out the steps needed to start a business. That was when Logan’s Landing was finalizing the steps for the Real Estate Capital Access Program.

Walters learned her project qualified for funding to help renovate the old building. She also received considerable support from her friends and family as well as Area Five and the Small Business Development Center.

She continues to take multiple training sessions to stay up to date and maintain her ability to teach.

Her original training in yoga, she said, came during a point in her life when she needed personal support.

“I had a couple family members who battled cancer,” she said. “It helped me train to deal with stress.”

After working with Urban Outfitters for 10 years and traveling around the country, Walters decided to take a different path when her family members began dealing with cancer.

Her goal was to start learning more about health, wellness and food. She wanted to know how to deal with cancer. She felt nutrition was a missing link in the healing process.

From a physical standpoint, Walters had always been active in sports. Not competing in sports any more, however, she quickly grew bored and turned to yoga.

“It left me more strong, more physical and more focused,” she said. “The physical benefits were outstanding and kept me coming back. Once you start doing something you enjoy, the possibilities are endless.”

Looking ahead, Walters would like to offer healthy breakfast and lunch options in addition to drinks in the building’s front.

One of the biggest challenges she had to overcome was the fear of failure.

“The fear might not ever go away,” she said, “but I have the tools to move past the fear and do it anyway.”

• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or

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