Action that Leads to Wellness: Willow Wellness Center

As we set sail into another new year, it can be easy to become overwhelmed with how many to-do's we want to accomplish in 2022. And while we are all for setting some goals to propel us forward in the new year, sometimes the best first action step is to take care of you!

That’s where Caitlyn Overby comes in. As the owner of Willow Wellness Center, Caitlyn believes that wellness encompasses much more than simply physical fitness or healthy lifestyle. She operates her yoga and massage studio from the philosophy of caring for your body, mind, and soul, just as it is.  

Caitlyn Overby, owner of Willow Wellness Center, stands in front of the counter at her yoga studio in High Point, NC.

"All of our instructors are just authentic, flawed, very human people who are humble. It’s relatable, and it takes away any intimidation,” she explains. “People feel like they have a safe place where they can come with the body they're in, the mind they have, and the day they've had, and they don't have to get rid of anything or be a certain way in order to be here. You show up as you are, and we hold space for that."

As a High Point native, Caitlyn also believes in the power of investing deeply in the community you find yourself in. 

“People feel like they have a safe place where they can come with the body they're in, the mind they have, and the day they've had, and they don't have to get rid of anything or be a certain way in order to be here. You show up as you are, and we hold space for that."  

She says the path that led her back to High Point and led her to open Willow Wellness Center was “laid out in bricks” throughout her life. But it’s Caitlyn who has fostered the relationships and connections that have led her to be an important part of our city’s wellness.  

“I saw a need for more places where people can work on themselves... and saw a potential for growth in High Point,” Caitlyn says. 

But the process of combining yoga and massage didn’t happen overnight for Caitlyn, although now she sees it as a no-brainer to have the two housed under the same business. Her story with yoga was love at first sight. Or maybe, love at first “practice.”  

Caitlyn Overby helps a student stretch at Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.
Caitlyn Overby helps a student stretch at Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.

“From day one, I fell in love with it, and I knew that was something I wanted to share with other people,” she says. That was more than eight years ago, which led Caitlyn to complete training to become a yoga instructor. At that time, Caitlyn was working in a pediatrics office, filing insurance and working on other clerical tasks. As someone motivated by movement and interaction, Caitlyn’s desk job was leaving her solely missing both.  

“It wasn’t fulfilling, and I thought I’d become a full-time yoga teacher,” Caitlyn says. But she laughs when she remembers how difficult that goal was. She soon found herself teaching part-time and working as a barista. One day, at the coffee shop where she previously worked, Caitlyn was asked by a customer if she’d be interested in becoming a licensed massage therapist. The classes she eventually took at Guilford Technical Community College gave her a new set of skills that complemented the passion she found teaching yoga: bringing an overall sense of well-being to people’s bodies.  

Caitlyn Overby, owner of Willow Wellness Center in High Point, performs a yoga stretch.

“I love helping people feel good in their bodies,” she explains. “I love anatomy and physiology and learning more about safe ways to move and prevent injury and pain.”  

With a new set of skills under her belt, Caitlyn ended up renting a space from Karen Altenpohl, the owner of what was formerly Yoga and Wellness of High Point. She also taught classes at Yoga and Wellness, and eventually, as Karen decided to transition out of business ownership to teaching, she gave Caitlyn the opportunity to own her own studio, combining her passions for yoga and massage.  

Today, Willow Wellness Center, Caitlyn’s studio, offers the best of both worlds to our High Point community.  

"I combined the two,” Caitlyn explains, noting how much overlap there is between the practice of yoga and massage therapy. “If someone came in for a massage, I would give them yoga homework. Sometimes we'd even do a private yoga session and then go into a massage, so I've already seen how the person moves.” 

With eight instructors and three licensed massage therapists, Willow Wellness has grown to support holistic needs for wellness in the High Point community. Their yoga classes include everything from beginners' yoga, to low-impact chair-to-mat yoga, to yoga flows for even the most seasoned yogis. And Caitlyn says there is always room in her classes for questions.  

“That means students are exploring,” she says. “This is your yoga lab! This is where you explore with someone who is offering suggestions and can help you. My hope is that it inspires you to practice at home.”  

When it comes to healthy patterns of exercise, the instructors at Willow Wellness also know how to walk the fine line of pushing yourself and listening to your body. They pride themselves on keeping their culture free of intimidation and instead focus on providing a practice of exercise that is sustainable for a lifetime.  

A sign that says "Yoga, massage, repeat," sits on a table at Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.
Caitlyn Overby, owner of Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC leads her students in stretches.

“There is going to be a day when I won’t be able to get on my mat like I do right now,” Caitlyn admits. “So I'd rather create a movement practice that sets me up for longevity versus wearing my body out now to achieve short-term goals." 

In terms of massage, Caitlyn and the other Willow Wellness therapists want to help their clients accomplish similar long-term health goals through true therapies that improve pain management and healing. Each client goes through a thorough intake process, so the therapist can provide customized therapies, including therapeutic massage, pain-management massage, Thai massage, cupping, Reiki, and more.  

And when it comes to pain management and injury prevention, Caitlyn says the best thing you can do is to act sooner rather than later. She recalls one client who had been experiencing hamstring pain for weeks before making an appointment. After one session, the pain had already started to improve.  

“They had two weeks of agony before they called,” she notes. “Don’t do that! Don’t wait two weeks.”  

Caitlyn Overby gives a therapuetic massage at Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.
Therapeautic massage is one of the offerings at Willow Wellness Center.
Caitlyn Overby stretches a client at Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.
Thai massage, an ancient form pressure point therapy and assisted passive stretching.

Within their yoga practice and massage treatments, the staff at Willow Wellness incorporates a variety of meditative practices and mindfulness into all they do. Because it’s the mindfulness behind caring well for your body that leads to a lifestyle of healthier choices.  

“I love the mindfulness and quiet that yoga gives you, but I also love how it can be a tool to promote better physical care, which has a domino effect in making other healthier decisions,” Caitlyn adds. "You think, ‘I already took a yoga class today, I might as well just drink water today instead of Coke! It snowballs in the best possible way.”  

Caitlyn is also intentional to partner with other wellness and healthcare providers in the Triad to make sure Willow Wellness is a place where community members can have a variety of needs met.  

"I like to think of Willow Wellness as a puzzle piece to a bigger picture,” she explains, “because I don't think each person can have all of their needs met with just one place.” 

Caitlyn Overby, owner of Willow Wellness Center leads a yoga flow with students in High Point, NC.

From physical therapists to mental healthcare professionals, Willow Wellness partners with a variety of folks to offer workshops, seminars, combined classes, online communities, and more to improve overall wellness.  

Caitlyn knows that collaboration and support are just as important for her as a business owner as it is for her massage clients and yoga students. Along with support from other High Point professionals, a business coach, businesswomen’s networking groups, and a community of good friends, Caitlyn operates her studio with support from her husband and “biggest cheerleader,” Danny. Danny and Caitlyn both discuss that just like making healthy decisions can have a snowball effect, unhealthy choices and behavior patterns can have the inverse effect.  

“The more we talk about mental health and physical health and bring things to light, you see a rise in people who share in those experiences because now we've named it,” Caitlyn says, noting how she wants her community to feel safe discussing mental health alongside wellness.  

Caitlyn Overby stretches at the Willow Wellness Center in High Point, NC.

"We hear more about people being real humans and having struggles,” she explains. “I think you need to reach that place in order for us to create lasting change. Talking with a therapist, getting massaged, going to yoga, going on a three-minute walk, or even drinking one glass of water can be amazing first steps.”  

Caitlyn points out that wellness doesn’t have to start big. It just has to start with action.  

“Results come on the other side of action,” she says, “so you have to act in order to see those results.”

If you’re ready to take action at the beginning of this new year, explore Willow Wellness’ yoga class schedule here, or start a conversation about which massage therapy is right for you.  

Discover our High Points, 

The HPD Team

Photography by Anna Danielle Photography