INSTRUCTORS

Audrey Bonafé (Owner)

Audrey is the Studio Owner and is certified in AFAA Group Exercise Fitness,  Zumba, Resistance Training , Yoga,  AntiGravity Fundamentals 1 & 2, AntiGravity Aerial Yoga, AntiGravity AIRbarre and AntiGravity Restorative. She says “Years ago I found myself interested in fitness and the beauty of a sculpted body.  Since then I have realized there is more to fitness than having a sculpted body.  It is a lifestyle that allows you to live a happier and healthier life and more than anything is the best medicine to relieve stress”.
Audrey received her certification for teaching Zumba in 2009.  She has been teaching ZUMBA for about 7 years and still loves it!
ZUMBA was just a jumping off point for Audrey. She has continued to immerse herself into learning more about fitness techniques and nutrition by reading all she could on anything related to fitness or nutrition.
Since then she received her AFAA Group X certificate in Sept. 2012, Resistance Training certificate in Feb. 2012, and Yoga training in Jan. 2013 and Feb 2013. Her latest certificates include AntiGravity Fundamentals Fitness in April 2014 and AntiGravity Aerial Fitness in August 2014, AntiGravity AIRbarre fitness in May 2015 AntiGravity Restorative in April 2016 and Barre training in 2015.  She now offers classes in AntiGravity Fitness, Yoga, Resistance Training, and Barre.  She is  also a Personal Trainer who can design a customized workout around your specific needs and goals.
Audrey is eager to expand her knowledge and skills with the many different modalities she has studied over the past years especially with AntiGravity Fitness.  She plans to continue to grow and bring new and fresh material to her studio.
As a wife, mother and Grandmother, she knows that life can get busy and often times seem stressful. One of the things she loves the most about AntiGravity Fitness is that you get an all-over body workout with increased flexibility and joint mobility, a decompressed spine to release pressure between the vertebrae and lengthened muscles but also get the best relaxation session that you have ever experienced.  “I have never felt more relaxed then when hanging in a Christopher Harrison Hammock”.  There is just something about it that closes you off from the hustle of the world and you feel safe.  She wants everyone to be able to experience that same feeling.
My goal is to serve the people of the Richmond area and offer something that is new, different, exciting, and fun.”

Heather Mazeika

Heather has been a fitness instructor for over six years. Before teaching, she completed numerous marathons, half marathons and triathlons. She enjoyed the active lifestyle, but slowed it down a bit and settled on exercises that were kinder to her body after having her son in 2008. Her journey into teaching started with her own shoulder injury and rehabbing herself. She loved what Pilates did for her and wanted to share it. She enjoys helping others get the best from their own bodies, and watching them getting stronger. She started teaching barre five years ago and has enjoyed the fun atmosphere of the classes set to energizing music, laughing and sweating with her clients. Heather prides herself on the relationships she builds with her clients and helping them achieve their goals. She is certified in STOTT Pilates, TRX, Core Barre, and Total Barre.
In her spare time she is a busy wife and mom to a son and the family dog and cat. She enjoys her weekly dinners and brunches with her girlfriends. When given the opportunity, she escapes to the beach. Work hard, play harder!

Lorie Lower

Lorie has been practicing yoga since the early 2000s. Drawn to it by the opening of a studio in a small town in South Carolina, she was intrigued in the beginning and hooked by the time she and her family relocated to Richmond, Virginia. Deciding to dig deeper into the practice, she became a certified 200 RYT through Om On Studio in 2013.
In her practice, she reminds others of being present in the moment, offers creative and playful sequences, provides deep and thoughtful cues and encourages all her students to “just try it!” Lorie establishes the foundations then offers a safe journey to the peak poses. Lorie has been teaching Power Yoga, Vinyasa, Yin, Gentle and recently Aqua Yoga. She has been heavily influenced by the teachings of Kathryn Budig, Rolf Gates and others less famous, but equally awesome!
Lorie discovered passion in the union of yoga and teaching. As with yoga, if it feels right and you can breathe easily, it was meant to be. The little and big life lessons learned on her mat have been a guiding force for a happier, fulfilled and busy life.
When Lorie is not teaching or driving her two teenage daughters all over Richmond, she can be found practicing on her big blue mat, traveling far and wide with her family, reading as much about yoga as possible, walking her rescue dogs and trying to bring more yoga to the world, one student at a time.
Thanks to all the teachers who have encouraged Lorie through this passion, her parents who always are available to listen, her daughters who provide a younger view and mostly her husband who never stops believing in her!

Jodi Bock

Jodi eagerly joins the fun and friendly atmosphere at Fighting Gravity Fitness! Jodi has been teaching Hatha yoga since becoming certified in 1999. She understands the mental and physical benefits of yoga personally and has found great joy in sharing them with practitioners at all levels of experience.
In June 2015 Jodi discovered aerial fitness and found how much it complimented her Hatha yoga practice in that both target the mind/body connection.In September 2015, excited to learn more and develop her aerial practice further, she became a Fundamentals Level 1 & 2 certified instructor. She feels the key to staying consistent with any fitness program is to enjoy what you’re doing.
Jodi is an artist, owns a stained glass studio and sells her crafts all over the U.S..  She lives with her dog, cat, and photographer husband, Dan Lott, in the museum district. She enjoys traveling, wine tasting, festivals, walking, reading inspiring memoirs and meeting new people.

Sara Dazsi

Sara Dazsi fell in love with yoga 15 years ago, the moment she stepped onto a mat for a class offered at the Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center. In an instant, she was taken in by how natural it felt practicing.
She continues receiving its benefits to this day, especially through the pregnancies and births of her bundles of joy, and later when diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis. Living with, at times, debilitating pain & fatigue, Yoga helps her find strength, balance & flexibility (physically & mentally), serenity, easing symptoms, allowing her to rely less on medications to alleviate pain, so she can lead a more vibrant life.
After years of practicing yoga, with her boys both in school, Sara decided it was time to go further & become a yoga teacher, so she could share her passion!  She chose to complete her certification for the 200-hour training at Glenmore Yoga & Wellness Center, for its therapeutic emphasis & personalized, nurturing approach to guiding students, and is currently a 200-hr RYT with Yoga Alliance.  By combining her education in Psychology with yoga, she hopes to help people cope with chronic pain & other life altering transitions, so they may find light and love as she does, in the practice.  Yoga gives her a sense of peace with what her body is physically able to handle on a daily basis, and guides her to listen to that inner voice, being mindful of what she needs, even as circumstances change.  This insight allows her to be more in tune with students, noticing if they need adjustments or variations, especially if rebuilding after an injury.  She encourages them, being aware first-hand how challenging the process can be.
Along with yoga, Sara stays active with Zumba (including aqua), tai chi, walks in nature, aerial yoga, singing, painting, spending time with her husband & their two boys; cooking up creative concoctions, kayaking, biking and more, and loves to be with family & friends, laughing & sharing their lives together.  She continues studying, striving to learn something new each day, as she has discovered this increases connections and furthers growth.  She finds inspiration & motivation through her loved ones, and so many incredible teachers who have illuminated her path along the way & feels a deep appreciation is they support her on this journey. Sara is delighted to join the Fighting Gravity Family, to offer her gifts to the community, by teaching yoga in many styles, bringing balance to body, mind & spirit: restorative, yin (with an approach flowing through each shape, connected to songs, allowing the body to begin naturally sensing when it is ready to shift to another asana, though still holding for 3-5 minutes each), Vinyasa, on the ball, partner, guided imagery, relaxation, meditation, pranayama (breath practices).  She became fascinated by Fighting Gravity Fitness a year ago, after seeing pictures of friends hanging out in the hammocks, had to give it a try herself, and right away was enamored with it!  Perhaps AntiGravity yoga training is in her future, but for now, she looks forward to helping you find balance on the mat, keeping yourself grounded, as your spirit soars!

Michelle Tankesley

Michelle Tankesley is so happy to be an instructor at Fighting Gravity Fitness!  She is currently a level one AntiGravity Fitness instructor with a specialty AntiGravity Kids certificate, but plans to become certified for AntiGravity Aerial Yoga soon.
Michelle is attending Virginia Commonwealth University, studying to become a Kindergarten teacher. She wanted to be an elementary school teacher almost her entire life and as soon as she tried AntiGravity Fitness she immediately knew she wanted to teach that as well. She fell in love with hanging upside down, swinging and flying. She feels it has really made her a healthier and happier person. Michelle wanted to start teaching AntiGravity Fitness so she can help other people receive the benefits of this practice because it has made such a big difference in her life. She also rides horses and has her own horse named Gump. She spends a lot of time at the barn riding and showing in Virginia horse shows. Michelle says AntiGravity Fitness has increased her strength and flexibility and has provided many physical and mental benefits. She can’t wait to help other people change their lives through AntiGravity classes at Fighting Gravity Fitness!

Traci Park

Traci is a nutrition enthusiast and an AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She received her Anti-Gravity certifications in Fundamentals I and II, Pilates and Suspension Fitness I and II at the Anti-Gravity Lab in New York City. She is currently working on finishing a degree in Health Science. Traci is dedicated to helping people of all shapes and sizes understand the benefits of a healthy relationship with food and how to enjoy moving your body.  She believes moderation is a key component to your own happiness in relation to food and exercise as well as it being the foundation for finding balance and harmony within your life. She enjoys cooking, juicing and teaching people that you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to at ANY age. Her classes are high energy with eclectic music and lots of fun so come with an open mind and leave your stress at the door, you’re in good hands!

Nicole Hanke

Nicole Leigh Henke has been a human yogi since she was born. Nicole recently had the opportunity to live and expand her education in India while she earned her 200 hour RYT.  She is now living and breathing her yoga as a full time yoga facilitator both on and off of the mat. The way she lives her life is ineffable. Nicole continues to deepen her practice through mindfulness courses, reading introspective books, and listening to spiritual podcasts. Through this expansion she has learned that growth and openness come from being vulnerable. Nicole is in the midst of creating a book and wishes to share with others, what she has found true in her own self observation, healing and understanding.  Nicole has discovered the gift of a life filled with an abundance of time and happiness that lies within and knows it lies within you too.

Madison Williams

Madison is really excited to start her new adventure at Fighting Gravity Fitness as a barre instructor. With a background in gymnastics and cheerleading, she has loved physical activity since a very young age. She began taking group exercise classes 5 years ago and has been taking classes at FGF for over two years. She was not only introduced to anti-gravity fitness, but also barre for the first time. She has a group exercise certification with AFAA and received barre training. Madison is currently a nursing student at VCU and will graduate in May 2017 with her BSN. In her free time she enjoys kayaking and paddle boarding, music, baking, and of course exercise! She believes in prioritizing health and that exercise is a strong component of living a happy, healthy life. She is excited to be able to encourage and lead others on their journey to become stronger and healthier. Barre has become one of her favorite styles of exercise because it promotes strong, lean muscles, proper technique and form, and flexibility.

Natalie Morales

Natalie found her devotion for Yoga in 2011 when she attended her first Bikram Yoga class. Over the years she became enthralled with various forms of yoga, including Vinyasa, Ashtanga, SUP Yoga, Yin, and meditation. She earned her 200-hour RYT certificate in the summer of 2015 through LifeTime Fitness in Reston, Virginia and has been teaching Vinyasa, Yin, and SUP Yoga at Cary Street Gym since March 2016.
She is eager to explore her new format at Fighting Gravity Fitness: Shakti Dance. Shakti Dance explores Yogic postures and breathing exercises set to rhythmic, expressive music, blossoming into a freeing and uninhibited dance. She aims to help students discover their own body’s natural intelligence and create self-discovery through physical movement. She will also be teaching Vinyasa Yoga, a class that flows through sun salutations, balance postures, strengthening sequences, and finishing stretches on the floor to awaken the body, mind, and spirit in a holistic way.
Natalie is freshly graduated from VCU with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Her experiences as an actress, singer, and dancer have shaped her teaching style and facilitated a love of public speaking, connecting with others, and sharing stories through her teachings. She hopes to use her skills as an artist to lead Yoga retreats across the globe and awaken within each person she meets a boundless self-love and awakening. She is thankful to everyone who has guided her to her path and hopes to inspire others in the way Yoga has inspired her.

Sydney Leighton

In 2015 Sydney Leighton graduated with a BFA in Sculpture and Extended Media from VCU and took her enthusiasm for performance and creation back to her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Coming from a background of dance and gymnastics, she found passion in the aerial arts scene of North Carolina, training on aerial silks, trapeze, and Lyra. A few years later she found herself back in Richmond with the desire to teach others this empowering art form!

Sydney believes the body is an outlet and a form of expression, as much as the paintings and sculptures she creates. Her approach to fitness is practical, and she insists that by treating the body well and having fun, what once might have seemed impossible is possible! She also believes that with proper coaching and instruction, the aerial arts are for all ages and fitness levels.

Her classes will challenge your strength, flexibility, and creative spirit. She is also certified in VOLEE and hopes to complete AntiGravity certifications soon.

Rachel Scott Everett

Rachel is a Cardio Dance instructor who has been dancing since childhood. She is passionate about the power of movement in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and outlook.
Growing up, Rachel took jazz classes at West End Academy, Richmond Dance Center and Richmond Ballet. At JMU, she was an active member of the Associate and Contemporary Dance Ensembles and taught advanced jazz at local studio, Dance & Co. While earning her master’s degree at the VCU Brandcenter, Rachel worked as a dance instructor at Ballroom Dancing by Pete Godfrey, teaching Ballroom, Latin and Swing. She later went on to compete and place in national amateur dance competitions.
Her favorite aspect of dance is freedom of personal style and loves seeing students take moves and make them their own. She believes anyone who likes to move and have fun will have a blast in Cardio Dance.
Rachel is a freelance creative director living in the Fan with her husband. In addition to dancing, she enjoys yoga, hiking, wine tasting and traveling to far-flung places.

Jade McGill

Jade McGill is thrilled to join the team at Fighting Gravity Fitness! Originally from upstate NY, Jade previously lived in RVA after graduating college, and is happy to be back. She is certified in INSANITY and Turbo Kick Live, and is a big fan of high-intensity formats. She loves helping her students unlock their full potential and can’t wait to see you in class!

Erin Chancellor

Erin has been a member of Fighting Gravity Fitness since November 2015! She is excited to be a fitness instructor because it combines two passions: teaching and a healthy lifestyle!
Erin used to be a competitive swimmer and diver, currently teaches 4th grade, and loves taking cool pictures of her food.
Come join the world of Barre fitness! It’s a 45 minute total body workout combining the principles of Pilates, Yoga, and ballet (but no dance background is required!) All ages, abilities, and fitness levels are welcome. Wear comfortable clothing and bare feet, and be ready for upbeat music and an energetic time: results show within weeks!
Erin believes that with support comes progress, and progress FEELS GREAT!
In her free time, she enjoys lifting weights, bicycle riding, and finding adventurous activities to do.

Susheela Varky

I am domestic and sexual violence attorney who works for the statewide legal aid office, Virginia Poverty Law Center. Throughout my life, I have participated in dance and fitness activities, including ballet, jazz, tap, bharata natyam, high- and low-impact, 80s-/90s-style aerobics, spin, lifting…you name it; I’ve done it! Now, I am excited to continue my career as a “dancing lawyer” by teaching BOLLYX!!

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