Meet the Team

Marybeth Grinnan SoulShine Studios Owner and Co-Founder, First Degree Nia Black Belt

Marybeth is a First Degree Nia Black Belt with over twenty years of experience teaching Nia, an accessible and joyful movement practice that combines elements of dance, mindfulness, and martial arts. She has deepened her practice by attending many Nia trainings, and is certified to teach Moving to Heal, Nia Five Stages, FloorPlay, FreeDance, and MOVE It. In addition to her teaching practice, she has led over twenty retreats in the United States, Costa Rica, and across Europe.

Over the past two decades, Nia has taught Marybeth to live with more joy, connection, and belonging, and it is her passion to share these lessons with others. Since returning to her hometown of Richmond, VA, in 2008, Marybeth has magnetized a thriving community of Nia students and teachers who uplift and support each other’s growth. In 2019, she co-founded a home for this community: SoulShine Studios, a Nia and yoga studio in Richmond. Marybeth loves dancing in community and creating the space for people of all ages to feel playful, loose, and free.

GeGe Beall Nia Black Belt, RYT-200 Yoga

I love to dance! And after a love/hate relationship with exercise, I finally discovered Nia in 2010. With this discovery, I found a way to incorporate dance as part of my overall commitment to health and I haven’t stopped dancing since. I’m a black belt level Nia instructor who is committed to sharing the joy of Nia with you! In addition to my Yoga certification I have an additional certification in Restorative Yoga. I feel many of us often don’t get the chance to fully relax. Restorative and other forms of yoga help us find that missing peace. In addition to the movement arts, I have master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Currently, I’m a healthcare speaker and a consultant focusing primarily on culture. On weekends, you can catch me performing as at ComedySportz Richmond where I’ve been a professional improv comedian since 2013.

Suzzette Chopin RYT-200 Yoga, PhD

I’m excited about teaching mixed level yoga at SoulShine! I have been on my personal yoga journey since 2003. While seeking to find a balance between my graduate school requirements, work, and stress of everyday life I realized what a profound impact yoga has on one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. I completed my teacher training in 2014 to share these benefits with others. My teaching emphasizes good alignment, personal growth, and enjoying the practice as a lifelong process.

I work primarily as a licensed clinical psychologist with military veterans and active duty service members. For the past five years I have also been fortunate enough to offer a yoga program for these men and women, and I continue to see the positive effects yoga can have on the most challenging physical and psychological conditions. I have seen the holistic healing properties of yoga help those of all ages and abilities in amazing ways.

Sarah Fischer ERYT-500, YACEP, MA, Certified Life-Coach

I’ve always loved creating with my body. As a quiet child I figured out that when I danced, roller skated, or choreographed, something came alive in me. That vitality inspires my practices today.

I started yoga in 2001 and I’ve been teaching since 2007. Most of my training and practice have been in Anusara and Ashaya Yoga®. Both styles emphasize physical alignment that is integrated with philosophical teachings. Now, I draw on that foundation while exploring more spontaneity on the mat.

Over the years, I have spent hundreds of hours supporting students and mentoring teachers. I know that no one needs another place where they feel like they’re striving to measure up. So, my classes, workshops and retreats offer students guidance for embodying sacred alignment while confidently building a lifelong practice. It gives me great joy to witness folks using yoga as a way to build relationships with their bodies, minds, hearts, and that thing we’ll call Mystery.

Jessica Forsythe SoulShine Studios Co-Founder, Nia Black Belt, RYT-200 Yoga 

The opening of SoulShine Studios marked the beginning of integration for me. Teaching and practicing daily movement and mindfulness techniques give me tools to increase and channel life force energy so I can be fully present in all areas of my life. Yoga philosophy has become my roadmap for living my authentic truth. At the heart of that truth is SOCIAL JUSTICE. It is central to my teaching, travels, volunteerism, political activism, and parenting. I care deeply about our planet. I stand up against oppression. I support equality, a living wage, universal healthcare, and criminal justice reform.

I’m ready and willing to step back on that live wire. I’m ready and willing to learn and listen and grow. I am a conduit for change. We are all conduits for change. Let’s raise the vibration together. Let’s move.

Janie Peterson Nia Black Belt, RYT-200 Yoga, AFAA Group Instructor, Ageless Grace Educator and Trainer

Hi! I believe that through movement we find our way to health and that exercise has got to be fun! As a Certified Nia Black Belt Teacher, I bring a background in dance, nutrition, and body building. My intention is to inspire my students to take control of their bodies, minds, and spirits! By embracing our bodies in thankfulness and moving within the range of motion that is available at that moment, joy and magic are created! The sense of community and connection, the collective joy that happens when we dance together, touches the heart and soul. I have been teaching Nia since 2010, and have also trained in Free Dance, Moving to Heal, and 52 Moves. As a certified yoga instructor, I offer yin classes, targeting the myofascial tissues and hydration of the body. When not moving in the studio, I am helping families move to new homes throughout the Richmond area. Come and let’s move together!

Jen Russo COO (Chief Officer of Other Stuff) aka Chief Happiness Officer

At my very first Nia class in Jessica’s backyard about a decade ago, I was surprised and delighted to discover my “new favorite exercise”! Moving joyfully in community is such a beautiful way to feed my soul. As an elementary school librarian, I’ve developed a sense of order and organization that translates well into working at the studio. I’m so glad to apply my particular eye for details and Jen-of-all-trades skills to being SoulShine’s Chief Officer of Other Stuff.

Niki Schemmel Nia First Degree Black Belt, RYT 500 e-RYT 200 YACEP

Niki Is a passionate facilitator of growth and joy. She began teaching yoga in 2001 after she fell in love with yoga philosophy that opened her heart and alignment principles that strengthened her body. Being a former jazz dancer she was drawn to the freedom and artistic expression of the Nia practice and began teaching Nia in 2010. In all of her classes, Niki is committed to creating a space that is inclusive and supportive for every body. She offers modifications and progressions while encouraging participants to focus on how they feel rather than how they look. She experiences the depth of yoga and the playfulness of Nia as the perfect marriage of practices to nourish body, mind and spirit.

In addition to teaching weekly public classes at SoulShine Studios, Niki has been teaching yoga and Nia retreats locally and internationally since 2012. She lives in Midlothian, VA with her husband, two teenage kids and her cat Cheddar.