About Bend

Bend is located on Charlottesville’s historic downtown pedestrian mall. We focus on supporting women during their child bearing years through pre and post natal yoga, educational offerings, and supportive services.

It is our mission to empower the body, mind and spirit with breath, strength, and energy during the transitions that define women’s lives.

Our Mamaste yoga class is a prenatal class for pregnant women 12-40 weeks. This class prepares moms for a positive birth experience while teaching breathing techniques, pelvic floor toning and overall strength. Emphasis is placed on stress reduction and community building; moms share prenatal experiences, concerns and advice. (Moms may attend earlier in their first trimester with instructor permission.)

Our Sweet Peas yoga class (babes 6 weeks to pre-crawling + Mama) focuses on helping moms rebuild core strength, alleviate tight chest and arms, learn relaxation techniques, and incorporate baby into their workout. Babes are welcome in any mood – asleep, fussy, hungry – and breast/bottle feeding, changing diapers, sleeping babes are all allowed and welcomed in class.

We serve the unique needs of children through playful and exciting exercises. We offer yoga classes for children 6 weeks to 18 years of age, in a non-competitive and stress-free atmosphere. The yoga practice incorporates aspects of overall physical health, encourages body awareness, and promotes a focus on breathing. Through fun and engaging classes, children will develop stronger bodies and minds and an enhanced sense of themselves.

We want you and your kids to breathe in deeply safe, clean air while practicing yoga. In the studio, we use only environmentally-friendly and safe cleaners, and tea tree oil (with antibacterial properties) to clean the mats and the studio. Our blankets are cleaned with organic, phosphate-free detergent.

Bend has made every effort to use environmentally friendly materials during construction. We believe in building a community through relationships and have used local builders, designers, laborers, and suppliers as much as possible. The lobby and hallway floors are made of cork, a renewable resource, and bathroom floors are made of Marmoleum, which is made of natural renewable materials that are asthma and allergy friendly and SMART certified with no VOC’s or toxic chemicals. The floors in the yoga studios are made of non-toxic EVA foam, which contain no BPA or phthalates. We also used NO-VOC paint throughout the studio.

All of our apparel is made of 100% organic cotton or bamboo and printed with child-friendly and CPSC-compliant phthalate-free inks with no VOCs.

If you would like to have water at the studio, please bring your own bottle. We have a water fountain for clients to use.

WE REQUIRE ONLINE SIGN-IN FOR CLASSES; any classes with no one signed in 45 minutes prior to start time will be cancelled and appear red on schedule.  We also offer drop-in spots however cannot guarantee a spot – please refer to online schedule before heading to class.  Clients can cancel online sign-up 30 minutes prior to class start time.

bend mamas

Kelly Cox, Co-Director/Owner, RPYT, E-RYT200, LCSW, Birth Doula

Kelly has been practicing yoga since graduate school, where it became a great outlet for her in dealing with a demanding schedule. Through regular practice, she has learned the power of the mind/body connection and has found the ability to live a more balanced life.

Kelly’s true passion in teaching lies with pregnant and new mothers. Through her work at the studio she has gained an appreciation for the process of pregnancy, birth, and the beautiful connection between mothers and babies, as well as between the mothers who attend classes.Yoga is more than a physical practice, the community that is built is sometimes the most rewarding.

Kelly spent years working with children as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In her work with at-risk youth in the Charlottesville area, she found yoga helped her clients by allowing them to learn how to breathe, focus on issues in their bodies, and develop a greater sense of self awareness and control. On a daily basis, Kelly is able to observe how yoga can positively affect a child’s self esteem, overall fitness, and sense of well being.

Merrill Woodriff, Co-Director/Owner

Merrill has always loved working with children. She graduated from the University of Virginia in 1998 with a master’s degree in elementary education and moved to Europe to teach students from diverse backgrounds at the Munich International School. After two years abroad, Merrill returned to the States and continued to teach at independent schools in DC, San Francisco, and most recently Charlottesville. As a teacher, Merrill always worked  to connect with her students both in and out of the classroom. She made a point to support their extra-curricular activities in order to gain a deeper appreciation for the “whole” child. Merrill was deeply involved in curriculum development throughout her ten years of teaching, focusing mainly on mathematics and language arts. She also spent time honing her classroom management skills and has participated in two trainings in Responsive Classroom, an instructional method that encourages both academic and social development.

Merrill started practicing yoga while living in San Francisco in 2002. Immediately she was struck with both the physical and emotional benefits of the practice. For the first time in her life, she found a way to relax completely while feeling strong and focused. Then, when vacationing at the beach, Merrill was practicing yoga in the sand when her cousin’s child, who was age 6 at the time, asked her what she was doing. Merrill told the child she was doing eagle pose and asked her to join in. The child loved the challenge and the novelty of eagle pose and was quickly hungry for more asanas (poses). That day on the beach, Merrill realized that she could integrate the two things she was most passionate about in life: children and yoga.

Merrill’s proudest achievement to date has been giving birth to her three children.  She has already shared her love of yoga with them and hopes that they will find a meaningful place for it in their lives.

Sarah Reedy, Manager, CYT

Sarah began practicing yoga while pregnant with her first child. She fully believes she has yoga to thank for a easy labor, positive birth experience, and quick postpartum recovery. Yoga continues to provide a calm strength in her life. Moving to Charlottesville in 2012, Sarah quickly fell in love with bend. She has been both an attendee and now teacher of most classes bend offers. A former education volunteer with the Peace Corps and urban high school History teacher, Sarah enjoys teaching and learning in this new classroom.

Sheila Currier Chrobak, M.S., CCC-SLP

Sheila is a pediatric speech language pathologist who loves discovering the unique ways each child finds joy and comfort while learning and growing. Recognizing the connections between movement, our sensory systems, respiration, communication and social emotional development, Sheila has always integrated these same elements in her speech language therapy sessions.  When she stumbled upon Bend she knew it would be a perfect match. After participating as a parent with both of her own children, she is thrilled to have the opportunity to move into the role of instructor. Hoping to share her enthusiasm for yoga and all things related to children’s development, Sheila looks forward to seeing you in the studio! You can check out Sheila’s speech language therapy practice, Dot to Dot: Pediatric Speech Language Therapy LLC, at dottodotspeech.com

Jen Fleisher, RYT, Birth Doula

Jen completed Yoga Teacher Training in 2005, as well as her Prenatal Yoga teacher training with Leslie Lytle of OmMama. She completed a weekend doula training with Gail Tully of spinningbabies.com in 2010. Jen assists many of her students in labor as a birth doula and midwife’s assistant, and teaches Prenatal Partner classes with Kelly

Julia Gilchrist, RTY

Like many people, Julia got into yoga for the physical exercise and stayed for the spiritual and emotional benefits. Yoga has taught her so much about speaking her truth and practicing compassion towards herself and others. Julia’s goal in class is to inspire confidence and show people that yoga is so much more fun when you stop struggling; let go and let your practice flow. Julia attended Bikram Teacher Training in 2010 and taught in New York City and Austin before moving back to Charlottesville. In 2015 she completed Vinyasa Teacher Training at Mosaic Yoga. She teaches at Hot Yoga Charlottesville in addition to Bend.

Amy Kidd

Amy Kidd has been teaching yoga since 2001.  In 2003 while pregnant with her first child she completed her prenatal training. She loves being able to teach expectant mothers, and sharing in the ups and downs of pregnancy, birth and beyond. She hopes to see you in a class soon.

Amy also manages Hot Yoga Charlottesville – her Sunday Yin offering is great for pregnant mamas!

Shannon Wells MEd, RYT

Shannon is thrilled  to join the bend family of teachers after having been a participant in Mamaste classes throughout her two pregnancies. She started practicing yoga while in graduate school at UVA and was
quickly intrigued by yoga’s gift of granting stillness through movement. Shannon believes that yoga can be for everyone and has led yoga classes for cardiac patients, college students, executives, and pregnant women.

She holds a masters degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology, certifications in yoga and Pilates, and incorporates elements of Pilates and functional strength into her yoga classes.  She hopes that her students gain both an awareness of alignment and a deep sense of relaxation from her classes.

Laura Dillon Rogers, RYT, Birth doula student

Laura discovered yoga in 2006, soon after settling in New York for Fashion school. She started by attending all types of classes; from gentle Hatha, to intense Vinyasa flows and Bikram – and realized no matter what your type of practice or age may be, yoga has the most amazing impact on everyone’s life and wellness. Laura got her 200-hour yoga teacher training in Costa Rica in 2010 and the ChildLight Yoga program a few years later. The ability to share the yoga path with young children and see the wonder, flexibility and joy that it brings will always be one of her top passions.

Erin James, RYT

Erin discovered yoga when she was in high school, and it has been a beautiful and powerful force in her life ever since.  Little did she know back then that her yoga practice would be uplifting and transformative in ways she had never imagined, including prenatal classes at Bend leading up to the birth of her son in April of 2017.

She completed her Teacher Training in 2008 and received her Calming Kids Yoga Certification in 2009 while teaching and practicing yoga with children of all ages at a local summer camp.  Erin has also spent ten years as a classroom teacher, ranging from teaching in a Montessori School to Middle School, and has witnessed the powerful effects that mindfulness and movement can have on children in helping them feel balanced and calm.  In addition to teaching classes at Bend, she currently also teaches Yin and Hatha classes at ACAC.

Kendra Patrick

Kendra started practicing yoga when she moved to Charlottesville for college in 2012. Her connection with the practice and the strong community of yogis led her to complete a 200 hr vinyasa training at Hot Yoga Charlottesville where she now teaches. She has regularly watched kids of all ages since she was 14, so the Yoga Bears class at Bend was the perfect opportunity to combine two important parts of her life.