orbis yoga class

Mission, Vision, History

Our Mission

Orbis supports personal and spiritual growth and development by teaching body centered awareness through yoga, Feldenkrais and meditation. We welcome those seeking inspiration, support and healing.

Our Vision

We envision a dynamic center of community education and support that is both healing and nurturing and encourages each individual to realize their fullest potential.


Originally known as Orbis Personal Growth Center, Orbis has been offering classes in many different spiritual disciplines since 1974, when it was founded by Ambie Hay Hutcherson in a storefront on lower Brownsboro Road. A dance major, Ambie's interest in personal growth began when she was introduced to Sufism. She began teaching classes in dance (modern, belly, aerobic) and shortly afterward invited her friend, Karin O'Bannon, to join her to teach yoga classes. Ambie decided on the name Orbis from the Latin word, orb, meaning circle or ring.

Orbis moved several times during the 1970s and 80s, from Brownsboro Road, to St. Matthews, briefly to Pee Wee Valley, Story Avenue and in the early 90s to Crescent Avenue. In spite of several moves, Orbis always retained its spiritual roots. It was, and continues to be, more than a place of instruction. Orbis is a place of welcome, support and inspiration.

Helen and Ruth at the Green Mile

Starting in the early 80s and for more than 20 years, Helen McMahan and Ruth Allen (shown left) were the guiding lights of Orbis. In addition to yoga classes, Kundalini meditation, Tai Chi, guided meditation, Feldenkrais and classes in “conscious-connected breathing,” were all being offered in small, friendly classes in a quiet little studio in Louisville. The legend goes that Orbis was so tucked away that once you found it, you knew you were meant to be there!

Times have changed, and yoga has exploded in the Louisville area. Now called Orbis Yoga Studio, Orbis has expanded the teaching staff and schedule of classes. In 2005, Linda Smith, a long-time student of Helen’s, became director of Orbis. That year, Orbis moved to its present location in the Clifton Center. Still committed to teaching body-centered awareness through yoga, Feldenkrais and meditation, Orbis offers a wide range of classes for the complete beginner to the continuing student. True to our roots, we believe that we practice yoga on the mat to take the practice into the world. Each member of the Orbis staff is eager to help you achieve a better balance within your life, a balance between all of the ordinary responsibilities and obligations we must meet and the important search for meaning and spiritual connection we need.

Green Mile

As a resident of the Clifton Center and the Clifton and Crescent Hill Neighborhoods, Orbis realizes its role in being a vital link and contributor to our local communities. Staff and Orbis students are active in many service projects that support local neighborhood programs and emphasize community service as a part of being a good neighbor. On-going service projects include the Brightside Green Mile Program, food drives for Dare to Care and neighborhood ministries plus support of public radio through a volunteer program.

Come and check out Orbis! You will find not only instructional yoga classes, workshops and programs with experienced and well-trained teachers, but also many fellow travelers who will encourage, support and inspire your journey.

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