About the Yoga Center Retreat

A Reality 20 years in the making

The Yoga Center Retreat was founded in 2018 by Jennifer Gray, Amanda Collyard, Amy Wolford, and Jane Maltby, but the studio’s foundations were laid 20 years prior when Jennifer Gray opened the Yoga Center of Minneapolis 2000.

One of the first yoga studios in the Twin Cities and one of the longest running, The Yoga Center of Minneapolis (YCM) was home to some of the most sought-after yoga teachers in the city and was known to train the most prepared and professional new 200-hour and 300-hour yoga teachers. Jennifer owned and successfully ran The Yoga Center of Minneapolis for nearly 15 years. In 2014, she sold the studio to a local businessman to help grow and expand the thriving community. After the sale of the business, Jennifer stayed on as the program director and teaching, however, after two years,  decided to pursue other dreams and goals and remained just a teacher at YCM to stay in relationship with the community.

Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes

When the Yoga Center of Minneapolis unexpectedly closed in 2018, the active community Jennifer had dedicated almost two decades of her life to was shut down. Students who had been enrolled in the Yoga Center of Minneapolis teacher training programs were left in the lurch and money was lost. It was a heartache for all. Gray was surprised by the response from  the YCM community. Many investors reached out to her offering to help in hopes that she would reopen. Humbled by the unexpected outpouring of support, Jennifer was faced with a choice: continue with her current path or come out of “yoga business retirement” and resurrect the community she loved so much.

Jennifer knew what to do next. Amanda Collyard, Amy Wolford, and Jane Maltby stepped up to partner with her in opening a new studio: The Yoga Center Retreat.

Built on 20 years of tradition and experience

The Yoga Center Retreat continues the tradition of educating the best yoga teachers in the Twin Cities using Gray’s time-tested yoga teacher training curriculum and offering the most eclectic and inclusive class offerings available in the Cities. Come join a vibrant and thriving yoga community where you and your practice belong.

The Yoga Center Retreat Leadership

Jennifer Gray | CEO and Program Director

Jennifer opened the Yoga Center of Minneapolis in 2000. A wife, a mother of three, a yoga teacher, public speaker, and a business woman, Jennifer feels truly blessed to be living a full and meaningful life.

Her passion and drive to create a space  where a whole community can gather, learn the tools and ancient teachings of yoga with uniquely qualified teachers and staff has been realized and continues to thrive and grow again. Jennifer has studied with many great yoga teachers and scholars of our time. She has written curriculum and designed programs for both the yoga community and her community at large. She feels blessed to be revitalizing and working in collaboration with her new partners, as well as teaching students and training teachers. “I can not believe I get to do this again, only this time with hindsight and partners at my side. I am truly grateful.”

Amanda Collyard | Finance Director

Amanda has thrived on the energy derived from group classes (of any sort) for the past 25 years. Five years ago, she considered enrolling in a yoga teacher training study but was too intimidated to pursue it. Fast forward three years and her heart knew it was time to do it. She sought out the Yoga Center of Minneapolis and found the program she was seeking. She also found herself. Amanda is a wife and mother to four phenomenally loving and loud kids. She is a clothing stylist and former accountant.

Amy Wolford | Creative Director

Amy’s first experience with yoga was an Ashtanga series over 10 years ago. She became certified as a yoga teacher in 2017 with 260.5 hours. Her training group was an important touchstone that helped her traverse a devastating family health crisis. “I think yoga has exponential potential to create positive change. Nobody can do everything but everyone can do something. I hope this venture can be one of those somethings.”

Amy grew up camping as the oldest of 3 girls and has always felt a spiritual connection with nature. She roots for the underdog, is a recovering “fixer” and is passionate about philanthropic causes especially refugees and mental health. Her guilty pleasure is interior design magazines and she loves the power of color to communicate feelings. She is a former department store window dresser, believer in holistic medicine, the mother of two boys and married to her best friend.  She holds a degree in design communication and is a trained jewelry silversmith.

Jane Maltby | Director of Student Experience

Jane is a recent graduate of the YSChanhassen 1 group. She currently teaches at The Transformation Club and volunteer teaches at Mt. Olivet Rolling Acres with adults with cognitive impairments. She has practiced yoga for only 4 years. As soon as she found yoga, she knew she had found a lifelong passion to learn more and help people through yoga. She is a mother, a wife, loves to cook and garden with her trusted poodle by her side. She knew she wanted to help the yoga community heal after being dealt a devastating blow. She is always willing to help if she can. “I love to make people laugh.  It’s so beautiful to see someone’s whole face light up with laughter.”