Walking into Project You, there is an immediate sense of calm and relaxation.
The scent of lavender diffuses the air, a soundtrack of New Age music plays quietly in the background and the room is lit by a Himalayan salt lamp.
It’s the kind of environment Kelley Gillaspy wants her clients to experience and benefit from on their journey to better health, wellness and happiness.
Gillaspy is the owner of Project You, a new yoga studio and wellness center at 209 E. Second St., between CrossFit Seymour and Seymour Tire and Service in downtown Seymour.
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She also serves as an instructor, teaching classes on restorative/gentle yoga, which focuses on breathing, stretching, balance and core strength.
Project You is much more than yoga, however, Gillaspy said.
She recently added a clinical side to the business, bringing in Lindsey Stauffer, a chiropractor from Michigan, to set up shop and provide the community with another choice for improved health and wellness.
Stauffer specializes in applied kinesiology, which is basically holistic health care, she said. It’s treating the chemical, structural and emotional aspects of health to determine the root cause or issue, she added.
Although she has never owned her own business, Gillaspy’s experience in public health administration and her passion for yoga are what she’s relying on to make Project You successful — that and her clients.
Her background includes a bachelor’s degree in public health/health care administration. She has worked for Progressive Physical Therapy and Jackson Park Physicians, both in Seymour.
“I have a passion for the preventative health and wellness piece,” she said.
She has had a concept for a wellness center in her mind since 2008, she said, but didn’t have any clinical certifications to be able to offer services.
About that same time, she discovered yoga.
“Yoga for me is a practice that allows me to move my body, be aware of my body, relaxing and calming my mind and connecting to my soul,” Gillaspy said. “It truly is a mind, body, soul connection.”
The practice of yoga originated in ancient India and became popular as exercise in the United States in the 1980s. Gillaspy said many people don’t understand yoga.
“While it is a physical workout, there’s a misconception that it’s legs above the head and this twisting into poses,” she said. “But the classes I teach are very simple and basic.”
Gillaspy said she emphasizes how to stand, good posture, proper body alignment and breathing and stretching techniques, all with the goal of relaxation.
Most people get so caught up in the daily routines of life that they forget to take time for themselves, and that can have a negative impact on one’s mental and physical health, she said.
There’s also a philosophical or meditative meaning to yoga that Gillaspy said resonates deeply in her, more so than running, lifting weights and working out.
“I’d done all this physical stuff, but there was something about working your body gently, relaxing your mind, calming your body and feeling this deep inner connectedness I felt when I did yoga,” she said. “I fell in love with it immediately.”
She continued to practice on her own using DVDs and doing some classes with her sister-in-law, who also is an instructor, but there was no place locally offering yoga.
Gillaspy knew what yoga had done for her and the benefits she had experienced from it.
She said by practicing simple yoga breathing, stretches and poses, she was transformed.
“I became more self-aware, more confident and I felt like my relationships with others were enriched,” she said.
Physically, she said she felt stronger and more flexible, and the yoga helped her become more calm, patient and relaxed.
All of those benefits made her more productive at work and home. She started making better eating choices, and she was sleeping better, waking up feeling more refreshed, she said.
“I felt great and decided I wanted to understand yoga more,” she said.
And she knew she wanted yoga to be a part of her wellness center, so she decided to get certified as a yoga instructor.
Her certification required six months or 200 hours of training at City Yoga in Indianapolis. She graduated last January.
Combining her knowledge of small businesses, her passion for wellness and her love of yoga, Gillaspy knew it was time to move forward with her idea for a wellness center.
She didn’t want her studio to have the feeling of a gym because that’s not what people who are interested in yoga are looking for, she said.
“Since 2008, I’ve taken notes on what I wanted it to look like, what I would have in it, what it would be like,” she said. “I really wanted a space where all the senses were stimulated, so when you walk in, you feel relaxed.”
Working out at CrossFit Seymour, Gillaspy got to know fitness instructor RaeAnn Mellencamp, who encouraged Gillaspy to teach a few classes at CrossFit.
The gym’s owners, Sam and Amy Steffey, offered to rent part of their building, the former AVI/Bullard’s Food Service office, to Gillaspy to open her yoga studio and wellness center.
Gillaspy’s husband, Matt, a contractor, came in and remodeled the space, turning his wife’s ideas and dream into reality.
She opened Project You and started teaching classes in August.
Her goal was to be able to teach yoga and offer a place for others to teach. Originally, she thought she would have to move out of Seymour to do that.
“I wasn’t sure if Seymour would support something like this, but this is my hometown, this is where my kids go to school and I love this community,” she said. “I was tired of seeing people and businesses leave, so I decided if I was going to do this, I was going to do it here.”
Right now, she is operating the business part time with the help of two other yoga instructors, Kendell Burgess and Amanda Ferrando, and Stauffer. Gillaspy, who still works full time for Purdue Healthcare Advisors, is a wife and mother of three.
She credits yoga for keeping her centered, targeted and balanced, even with so much going on.
Besides a beginners yoga class, Project You offers Vinyasa Flow, which allows for more intermediate yoga practice, and Heated Power or Hot Yoga, which is more advanced.
There are a total of nine classes that meet throughout the week, in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.
“I want everyone to have the opportunity to try it,” Gillaspy said. “So I’m trying to offer different times.”
She hopes to be able to add massage, acupuncture and other services addressing the wellness of mind, body and soul.
“To take time for you. It’s truly about you. Finding you. Taking care of you so that you can be the best person you can be,” she said. “That’s what Project You is all about.”
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Project You Yoga Studio and Wellness Center
Where: 209 E. Second St. in downtown Seymour, in between CrossFit Seymour and Seymour Tire and Service
Owner: Kelley Gillaspy of Seymour
For information or to sign up for classes, visit projectyouwellness.com or Project You Wellness on Facebook. You also can email [email protected].