To provide our yogis with a community of movement, breath, mindfulness, sweat and service in a space they feel at hOMe – “Welcome OM!”


In Balance Yoga was founded by Becky McDaniel in December of 2009. Becky decided to pursue her calling and attended seminary in the Episcopal Church. She sold the studio to her childhood friends and also Blacksburg natives, Nicole and Justin Boyle in July of 2013. In Balance Yoga expanded to 1512 N. Main Street in July of 2017, custom built studio by Justin Boyle’s green construction company – Green Valley Builders, Inc.

Our mission is to support and lead a yoga community that practices and provides a variety of yoga to all populations and is passionate about giving back to each other and our planet!  To progress and expand our community we offer an array of studio classes, trainings, workshops, and retreats within our yoga studio and globally.

In Balance Yoga is a social entrepreneurship business model giving back each quarter to 3 different non-profits from public classes, workshops, trainings and fundraisers and also hosting many other donations classes to support causes and organizations locally, regionally, nationally and internationally that hold a special place in our students’ hearts.

We value positivity, service, connection, and fun with a passion for sharing movement!

Nicole Fitzwater LaFon, Owner & Teacher, Kunga Yoga School Faculty, E-RYT500, YACEP, Chief Yoga Nerd 🤓

Nicole is a Blacksburg native. She attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a B.S. in Commerce from the McIntire School of Commerce in 2001, and after 15 years of living away from the New River Valley returned home to her roots and purchased In Balance Yoga in the summer of 2013 from Becky McDaniel. Yoga found Nicole in January 2006 and they have been inseparable ever since.  Nicole has practiced in studios all over the country and even internationally, focusing on the Bikram, Barkan, Baptiste, Ashtanga, Dharma Yoga traditions and most recently – the Kunga Yoga School.   Her teachers include D’ana Baptiste, Becky McDaniel, Dharma Mittra, Jimmy Barkan and Kristin Cooper-Gulak.  Nicole is grateful to her mentors, influencers and all that have inspired her over the years.
She completed her:
  • 200 Hour Foundational Teacher Training with Becky McDaniel in June 2013 at In Balance Yoga Studio
  • 500 Hour with Sri Dharma Mittra in NYC at the Dharma Yoga Center, Life of A Yogi program in November 2014
  • 300 Hour with Jimmy Barkan in Ft. Lauderdale, FL in the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga in October 2017
  • 300 Hour with the Kunga Yoga School at Wilmington Yoga Center & In Balance Yoga Studio in July 2019
    • Specializing in:  5Elements Flow & Ayurveda, Seniors, Kids, Pre/Postnatal, Service Leadership / Yoga for PTSD, Gentle & Meditation, Hands on Assisting, Vinyasa & Power Flow, Detox, Anatomy, Business of Yoga, and Restorative
  • Completed her Professional Level 200 HR Kunga Yoga School Leader Apprenticeship with Kristin Cooper-Gulak and Noelle Whittington in June of 2019 to be Lead Kunga Yoga School Faculty
  • Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Colleen Dwyer in 2015 & 2016 at In Balance Yoga Studio
  • Certified in First, Second, and Advanced Degree Reiki Master with Nicola-Jayne Aymes, International Center for Reiki Training and Holy Fire from 2014-2015 at Reiki Journey
  • Reiki for Animals with Nicola-Jayne Aymes in 2015 at Reiki Journey
  • Advanced Art of Assisting with Baptiste Yoga in 2015 with Brandon Compagnone
  • Anatomy Workshop with Akke Hulburt and Chris Pohowsky 2016 and 2017
  • Five Hour Yin Training with Cindy Lunsford in November 2016 at In Balance Yoga Studio
  • Attended Service Retreat with Kunga Yoga and worked / volunteered at Homes of Hope Orphanage in India in December 2016 – January 2017
  • NuPower Method: Power Yoga + Strength Training in March 2017
  • Certified in Aerial Yoga with FlyDog Yoga in April 2017
  • Attended Mindbody University, November 2017, Boston, MA
  • Co-led Yoga Retreats in Nosara, Costa Rica:  January 2018 and 2019, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland with Above Yoga:  September 2018, Service Retreat in India in March 2019
  • Upcoming Retreats with Nicole: Costa Rica – January 2020
  • Christina Phipps Foundation Certification:  Yoga for Cancer Patients, Survivors and Caretakers at In Balance Yoga, February 2019
  • Thai Yoga Bodywork Level 1 Certification with Francisco Morales-Bermudez at In Balance Yoga, February 2019

Nicole teaches at In Balance Yoga and anywhere she can throughout the world.  She has taught at Floyd Yoga Jam since 2015.  Nicole teaches to all levels / abilities, meeting each student where they are.  Nicole will teach both public classes or private sessions to individuals / groups.

Before having her dream job and becoming the Owner of In Balance Yoga, Nicole worked in development with both Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia for 5 years, 7 years in sports marketing as Marketing Manager with CBS Sports (University of Maryland, Virginia, LSU, Utah and corporate) and advertising with BBDO New York on the Gillette account. Nicole loves to share movement and breath and to meet each student where they are on their mat. Yoga helped her find her true self and self-care practice and she hopes to cultivate a community of service at In Balance Yoga to impact those in need in the area and beyond.

Nicole is grateful fo all of the opportunities and experiences she has had: Nicole and her husband, BJ, have a daughter named Cleo, and she has two older sisters – P & G, as well as a dogs, Ogden and Mojo, and a cat, Hobie.

She is grateful to Green Valley Builders for building our dream studio.  Nicole’s advice: practice yoga with as many teachers in as many places as you can…to learn and live as much as possible. Travel! Be receptive.  Practice patience, compassion and unconditional love. Try to simplify and keep moving! Love and light!  #practice #alwaysastudent #lifelonglearning #movement #community #service #om

Keala Mason, Studio Manager & Instructor, E-RYT200, RYT500, YACEP

Keala grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii & went to High School at an American School in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Art & Art History and her Masters degree in Kinesiology from James Madison University. Keala previously worked as the Coordinator of Sport Clubs & Youth Programs at JMU Recreation Center. She was a group fitness instructor and yoga teacher at JMU throughout undergraduate, graduate school, and as a professional. She taught for four studios in Harrisonburg, VA and was on adjunct faculty for JMU in the Hart School of Hospitality, Sport & Recreation Management and adjunct faculty at Blue Ridge Community College in the Health Department.

She completed her:

  • Group Cycling Specialty Certification, June 2010
  • 200 Hour with YogaFit, June 2010
  • Kids Yoga Training, June 2010
  • NETA Group Exercise Certification, May 2013
  • ACE Group Fitness Exercise Certification, July 2014
  • Barre Certification, June 2014
  • 250 Hour with Evolation, August 2014
  • Barre Connect Specialty Certification, May 2015
  • Restorative Yoga Teacher Training with Colleen Dwyer, October 2016
  • NuPower Sculpt: Power Yoga + Weights with Cindy Lunsford, March 2017
  • Yin Yoga Training with Cindy Lunsford, November 2017
  • Aerial Yoga Certification with FlyDog Yoga, April 2017
  • Aerial Yoga Level II Certification with FlyDog Yoga, March 2018
  • Co-led Kunga Yoga & In Balance Yoga Service Retreat in India in March 2019
  • 300 Hour with Jimmy Barkan and the Barkan Method of Hot Yoga Level II / III, June 2019
  • Co-led Kunga Yoga & In Balance Yoga Retreat to Nosara, Costa Rica January 2020
  • The Power of Awareness Course with Tara Brach & Jack Kornfield from the Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley (April 2020)
  • Barkan Method Hot 26 & 2 Training in Blacksburg with Jimmy Barkan, August 2020

Keala is a seasoned fitness instructor in numerous fitness formats (step aerobics, TRX, spin) – but her favorite to teach is yoga: all types from Yin to Hot Yoga to Restorative. She loves learning more and relating to each student. She loves taking requests and building them into her classes. Hobbies: building playlists, listening to podcasts, exploring trails, mountain biking, writing, watching movies, sports, and most of all traveling any chance she gets. She is engaged to Tim and they have a Wiemaraner puppy named Raya.

Lisa Pelanne, Kunga Yoga School 200 HR Teacher Training Faculty, MS, E-RYT200, RYT500, YACEP 

Lisa is a yoga and dance teacher offering movement and meditation practices that facilitate an authentic connection to body, mind, and spirit by incorporating acceptance, compassion, gratitude, and joy.

Lisa is a Faculty Yoga Teacher Trainer in the Kunga Yoga School at In Balance Yoga in Blacksburg, Virginia. She completed her 200-hour foundational yoga teacher training with Nicole Boyle in 2016 at In Balance Yoga in Blacksburg, Virginia and her 300-hour Kunga Yoga Service Leadership Yoga Teacher Training at the Wilmington Yoga Center in North Carolina in 2018.

Her passion and focus is offering the tools of yoga and movement practices to all populations and abilities, and has completed certifications in:

  • Yin Yoga with Richard Gartner in May 2016, with Cindy Lunsford in November 2016, with Bernie Clark in June 2018
  • Barkan Method Hot Yoga with Nicole Boyle in June 2016
  • Vinyasa/Power Yoga:
    • NuPowerYoga with Cindy Lunsford in March 2017
    • 5Elements Vinyasa Flow with Noelle Whittington in August 2017
    • Detox Vinyasa Yoga with Kristin Cooper-Gulak in April 2018
    • Vinyasa and Power Flow with Noelle Whittington in May 2018
  • Restorative Yoga with Colleen Dwyer in October 2016, with Noelle Whittington in July 2017
  • Gentle Yoga and Meditation with Jessica Bichler in January 2018
  • Special Populations and Therapeutic Yoga:
    • Prenatal and Postpartum Yoga with Gracia Gimse McKinley in January 2017, with Heather Metzler in October 2017
    • Kids Yoga with Jessica Bichler in February 2018
    • Senior Yoga with Jamie Annette in June 2018
    • Yoga Service Leadership: Yoga for PTSD & Special Populations with Kristin Cooper-Gulak in March 2018
    • Treating Trauma Master Series with Ruth Buczynski, The National Institute for the Clinical Application of Behavioral Medicine in October 2018
    • The Yoga Way: Toward Psychological Health & Wellbeing with Holle Black in July 2018
    • Christina Phipps Foundation Gentle Yoga for Breast Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Caregivers with Beth Daugherty in February 2019
  • Hands-on Assisting with Noelle Whittington in November 2017
  • Anatomy of Yoga with Jessica Hartmann in September 2017
  • Business of Yoga with Jessica Bichler in December 2017
  • Elements of Dance with Pat Cohen, National Dance Education Organization in July 2017
  • Thai Body Work (Thai Yoga Massage) with Fransisco Bermudez-Morales in February 2019

Lisa also studies classical ballet and other genres of dance. She teaches classical ballet to all ages as well as technique-based ballet barre fitness classes to all levels. She believes dance and creative movement is for every body and infuses the elements of strength, balance, flexibility, breath, humor, love, and a deep knowledge of human anatomy and physiology into all of her classes.

Betsy Walker, Part-Time New Student and New Membership Educator & Instructor, RYT200

Betsy Walker began to appreciate the mental, physical, and spiritual well-being that yoga cultivates over a decade ago, but more recently decided she wanted to share the practice of yoga with others as an instructor.  Betsy completed her 200 Hour Foundational Yoga Teacher Training certification in 2015 after a 10-month training program with Satsang Yoga at In Balance Yoga. Betsy received her certification as a 5Elements Flow Yoga teacher with the Kunga Yoga School and Kristin Cooper-Gulak with Noelle Whittington at IBY in December 2017. She loves teaching the hot series, as well as sharing an invigorating yet accessible vinyasa practice supported by a great playlist. Betsy has also completed restorative yoga trainings and works with children and private clients.  Betsy is currently pursuing her Kunga 300 Hour Yoga & Lifestyle Teacher Training through the Kunga Yoga School at In Balance Yoga Studio.

In addition to her passion for the practice and philosophy of Yoga, Betsy loves reading, traveling, horseback riding, and spending time with her family, friends and dogs.

That Dude JOnny, Part Time Kunga Yoga Teacher Trainer Promoter & Instructor, RYT200

What’s good world?!?!? I am That Dude J0nny and I’m here to talk to YOU! This is not your average bio, because I’m not your “average yogi”. A proud son of the Blue Ridge Mountains I have lived in this area most all of my life. Foregoing a collegiate football career at Virginia Tech, I graduated in 2013 and traveled the country attending and working numerous concerts and festivals searching for myself and my purpose. Instead I found addiction and depression.

Fortunately, these circumstances led me to the practice of meditation which later led to the practice of yoga. I returned to Blacksburg in 2015 to work for an upstart which eventually led to meeting Nicole Boyle and In Balance Yoga Studio. My practice increased at the studio as my work in corporate sales led to unbearable stress and old habits.

Visibly distressed, Nicole suggested I attend the first Kunga Yoga class taught at the studio by Narayani Noelle Whittington. That class changed my life. The next day I quit my job, began my path to sobriety, and a month later enrolled in our first Kunga Yoga 200 HR YTT where I was taught by Narayani, Kunga Yoga founder Kristin Cooper-Gulak, and our fearless leader Nicole Boyle. In the time since I have also been a grateful apprentice and OMmie to Yogi J Miles of Richmond, VA.

I share the details of my yoga journey to emphasize that I am not this perfect, polished, put-together yoga teacher on a pedestal that we often think of when we see teachers in our classes or in the media. I’m just a regular dude, that found a means to better myself. I use the music I love, the humility of my struggles, and the compassion shown to me by my teachers and this community in EVERY class I teach. My mission is to help you discover yourself and your truth, the benefits of this practice, and a way to overcome life’s difficulties without having to hit the lows I did to do so. If you’re already in those lows, know that I’m here for you; this practice is here for you; this studio is here for you. They helped make me who I am today. And now I return the favor.

One Love!!!


Aaron Richards, Kunga Yoga School 200 HR Teacher Training Apprentice to be Kunga Faculty & Instructor, RYT200

Aaron began his yoga journey in 2013. With a background in athletics and competitive sports, Aaron took his skills as a coach and athlete to the mat in order to bring yoga to as many populations as possible. Aaron works to teach that all people are able to find a relationship with their body and mind.

Aaron is RYT200 certified with Yoga Alliance through the Kunga Yoga School. Kunga yoga teaches service, ahimsa (non-violence), and compassion for all beings. Aaron studied under Nicole Boyle, Kristen Cooper-Gulak, and Lisa Pelanne. In 2019, Aaron studied with Cindy Lunsford to become certified in the Barkan Method. Currently, Aaron participates in the Kunga 300 HR Program, graduating to 500 HR in December 2019. 

As a public school teacher, Aaron strives to bring movement and mindfulness into his classroom. He has worked with young people since 2011, and he sees teaching youth to be confident, capable members of their community is the surest path to establishing the good life for all. With yoga, Aaron encourages mindful breathing, communication, and regular breaks for movement during instruction.

Before yoga, Aaron’s primary focus was long-distance running. When he discovered yoga, much of that focus was redirected towards learning asana practice and incorporating the other limbs into his life. Being a runner, Aaron knows well the demands that athletes put on their bodies. Yoga created the balanced approach to athletics that Aaron now encourages his students to integrate.

Aaron lives in the rural surroundings of Blacksburg, VA with his wife and two dogs.

Erin Nuckols, Kunga Yoga School 200 HR Teacher Training Apprentice to be Kunga Faculty, RYT200

Erin Nuckols started her Yogic journey as a teenager with her mom. She began learning and practicing in earnest in 2010, studying Zen Buddhism, Yoga Anatomy, and Asian history. In 2015, Erin created space to dedicate time for a 200hr. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT). She became Yoga Alliance-certified with the ShambhavaYOGA Center at Om Ananda Studio in Colorado. Her primary teachers are Sarada and Shivaji Erickson with the support of Aramati Casper. In 2016, Erin studied in Pune, India under the tutelage of Rewati Salelkar, a B.K.S. Iyengar practitioner and teacher. Erin began a 300hr. YTT at In Balance Yoga through the Kunga School of Yoga created by Kristen Cooper-Gulak. She is currently apprenticing to become an instructor with the Kunga School for 200hr. trainees. Her primary teachers include Nicole Boyle, Lisa Pelanne, Noelle Whittington, and Ange Stopperan. 

Erin is certified in Kunga 5Elements Flow and Ayurveda and Yogic Lifestyles. She believes deeply in the philosophy of “in Yoga, as in life.” She teaches a non-dogmatic style in her classes, focusing on alignment and personal growth as determined by each student as an individual. The Eight Limbs provide the foundation for Erin’s teaching. Erin is excited to create space with students to bring growth, change, and peace into their lives. Erin specializes in Yoga Foundations, Restorative, Seniors, and Women’s Health yoga. She is available for private yoga instruction. Erin’s current teaching schedule is listed at www.lunarelm.com

1512 N. Main Street

Blacksburg, VA 24060

@ VTCRC: 2000 Kraft Dr. Suite 1204

Blacksburg, VA 24060