Dewana Waters Grillot was at a fitness conference in Washington D.C. around 20 years ago where she was having an internal conversation to try and convince herself to go to a yoga class.

As an aerobics instructor and more intrigued by heavy lifting classes, yoga didn’t seem like the right fit in her mind. 

But having suffered from a recent injury, it seemed the yoga class would be beneficial for her — so she decided to give it a try. Grillot explained her realization of the benefits was instant.

Position: Owner
Studio: Balanced Life Studio 
Keys to Being a Great Instructor:
Follow what your community wants, even if it is a different direction than you had envisioned.

“I came back from that conference and immediately started looking for a yoga class,” said Grillot. “This was 20-plus years ago and there wasn’t a yoga studio in my area, but there was a show on FitTV called Namaste Yoga by Kate Potter. I would tune in and practice with the television. This started bleeding over into my aerobics classes I was teaching.” 

Eventually, Grillot began teaching yoga in several gyms in the Beckley, West Virginia area, but because of the weights clinking and the loud music being played, she could never find the right atmosphere suitable for the practice. 

As luck would have it, Grillot had a friend who owned a building with empty space.

“I was more or less throwing it out there to him that we could put a hot yoga studio in there,” said Grillot. “I never dreamed he would say yes. He called me up a couple of days later saying he loved the idea and let’s go for it.”

No hurries,
no worries, 
no fears, 
no doubts.

Dewana’s mantra

Grillot’s Balanced Life Studios offers everything from hot yoga and barre classes to a trampoline bounce class and a devotional-based yoga program. Grillot said they have such a variety as a way to reach each member of the community. Being a space for people to change their lives is important to the studio.

“The thing with West Virginia is we are always leading the states in obesity, diabetes and depression,” Grillot explained. “We have 210 days of clouds; it has a lot to do with what goes on with depression. But in our studio, we can have 365 days of sunshine. This area needed it so badly; that’s why it has been successful.”