March 2021 Honor Yoga Zionsville just recently opened its doors and is excited to offer the Zionsville and Whitestown communities not just a yoga studio but a place in which providing a safe environment to build sense of community, connections and acceptance is prioritized. Owner Anne “Annie” Wolka is creating more than a place to practice yoga—she and her fellow instructors are building a place for all who are interested in finding community and a place to discover or further explore the physical and mental benefits of yoga. Honor Yoga in Zionsville offers conventional, hot and aerial yoga options and classes ranging from beginner to advanced. A Yogi’s Journey to Finding Her Purpose Wolka is excited to begin the next chapter of her life. After a year of planning and pushing through the pandemic, she opened Honor Yoga in Zionsville on March 15. Wolka’s yoga story begins nearly a decade ago when she was employed by Eli Lilly and Company. “I had a corporate job , and I was really stressed out, which probably sounds familiar to a lot of people,” Wolka said. “Eli Lilly has a gym on their campus, and they offer different yoga classes. One day, I decided to try as it was supposed to be good for stress. And that’s how it all started.” Wolka quickly discovered the mental and physical effects of yoga and shared that it did help her reduce her stress. “I loved it so much, and I realized there is more to than just the physical practice,” Wolka stated. “There’s the breathing practices, mediation and yoga philosophies, such as self-compassion, truthfulness and things that you can practice in your daily life. The more I learned about it, the more interested I became.” Wolka enrolled in yoga teacher training classes while she was working her corporate job, and teaching yoga became her side gig for a while. But after the sudden loss of her beloved husband, Wolka decided it was time to make some major changes in her life. “Sadly, my husband died—unexpectedly—a little over three years ago,” Wolka shared. “It was a life-transforming moment that made me stop and think to myself, ‘What am I doing with my life?’ and ‘Is this what I want to do for the rest of my life?’ And the answer was no.” Taking the Leap Wolka took a couple of years to grieve and discover what her next steps would be. “That’s a very scary place to be,” Wolka said. “I thought about going back to school, and I did a couple of workshops on yoga therapy, which is a different path within yoga, but I had always thought about owning my own business. So, without having a business background, I wanted the additional support of a yoga franchise, and I began looking at different yoga franchises.” Wolka found the Honor Yoga franchise that is headquartered in New Jersey. “I discovered Honor Yoga and found that I clicked with all of their values and philosophies,” Wolka expressed. “Honor Yoga incorporates ALL of the different parts about yoga that I love, and not just the physical practice but the breathing, meditating and philosophies.” Wolka was impressed by Honor Yoga’s management, in how the company pivoted during the pandemic to offering online virtual classes and the support it offered to its franchisees. “Honor Yoga management did a really good job of putting together a streaming class platform,” Wolka said. “It allowed people to take classes online, via Zoom, and they developed that platform as a way to support their franchisees.” After signing her franchise agreement, Wolka began to seek out locations for her new studio. “I signed my agreement in November 2019, and then the pandemic began in March 2020,” Wolka said. “I kept looking for a location, working with my Realtor, and I successfully leased this location, which was my first choice when looking at available spaces in the Zionsville area. The space is really amazing, and before we opened, there wasn’t any yoga in this area apart from some classes in an area gym—but that’s a completely different environment from Honor Yoga.” Honor Yoga in Zionsville offers 3,100 square feet of space and two separate practice rooms. “We have a larger practice room that we practice conventional and hot yoga in, then a smaller room where we practice aerial yoga and yoga barre that combines yoga, Pilates and ballet bar. I’m really excited to bring yoga to this area and to bring so many options for beginners to advanced. Anyone can find what they’re looking for at Honor Yoga, depending on what their goals are with their yoga practice.” The Honor Yoga Experience Anyone looking for a safe, comfortable and welcoming environment to explore yoga will find that and more at Honor Yoga. “When people walk in, I want them to feel welcomed and not intimidated,” Wolka emphasized. “I think in our yoga culture, there are a lot of things that are ‘prized’ that shouldn’t necessarily be, such as being the perfect physical specimen, being young and not having injuries. And being super flexible. Those are the images we see with what I call the Instagram yogis, and when people see that, they think, ‘Oh, that’s not me. I can’t do that.’ I really want to show people that there are many ways to practice yoga, and it doesn’t matter your age, experience or body shape—there’s a yoga practice for everyone.” Exploring yoga at Honor Yoga in Zionsville, people will find the benefits, at all levels, it has on their mental and physical well-being. Good mental health plays a significant role in the body’s overall health. “My favorite part of yoga is the final pose,” Wolka shared. “The final pose in yoga is a relaxation pose at the end of every class. It’s my favorite part because I find there’s something about moving and the breathing that clears my mind for a few minutes. I’m not stuck in my mind, ruminating about things.” Practicing Safe Protocols Currently, the class sizes are reduced so that people can safely spread out 6 feet apart on their yoga mats. “People are required to wear masks in the common spaces,” Wolka explained. “Once they’re on their mats and are socially distanced from others, they can remove their masks if they choose. I have masks on hand if they forget their masks, and we have hand sanitizer around the studio. I’ve also installed an ionizing air cleaner in our HVAC units so that it cleans the air and eliminates viruses, bacteria, mold, dust, etc. And we keep the fans running for better air circulation.” How to Enroll and Begin Your Personal Yoga Journey Honor Yoga had a soft launch on March 15 but is planning a grand opening celebration in the summer, dependent upon the state’s pandemic regulations at that time. “With regards to COVID-19, we may do it outdoors if that feels safer at that time,” Wolka said. “It just depends on what the environment looks like then. We will have giveaways and snacks and all the things you would expect from a grand opening.” Honor Yoga offers classes seven days a week—both in person and streamed are available. “We’re starting out with 28 in-studio classes on our schedule and keeping the streaming classes offered online as well,” Wolka stated. “We have one early morning option that starts at 6:30 a.m. and the other morning classes are typically from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The evening classes typically run from 6 to 7:30 or 8:15 p.m., depending on the day.” The classes are posted on the Honor Yoga in Zionsville website. Wolka shared that there’s also an Honor Yoga app. “I really like the app. It’s really simple to use,” Wolka expressed. “People can create an account on there and search for Honor Yoga Zionsville for our schedule. Right now, we have a pretty special sale going on! It will be available for a little while longer. We are offering 30 days of UNLIMITED yoga for only $30! If you’ve taken yoga, you know it is usually $20 to $25 for one class. So, we’re offering a whole month for $30, and you can take as many classes as you want. It’s a great way to experience different class styles and different teachers. It’s an offer that doesn’t come along very often.” Wolka invites anyone who is interested in learning more about Honor Yoga’s classes and philosophies to come in and experience yoga in a safe and inviting atmosphere where everyone’s personal journey is truly their own but comes with the support of experienced yoga instructors who are there to help you get the most out of the classes offered. “I believe we offer a real personal touch,” Wolka emphasized. “I really want to build a community and not just a yoga studio. I want to get to know the people that come in and help them find what they’re looking for in their yoga practice. And I really want them to feel welcome the minute they walk in the door. They can come in wearing an inexpensive pair of shorts or leggings or they can wear a $100 pair of yoga pants. It does not matter as long as they are comfortable. I want people to know that if they are going through grief or celebrating a milestone in their lives, they are all welcome here. They can just be themselves, and they don’t have to worry about putting on airs. Just be yourself and enjoy your personal exploration of yoga and everything it encompasses. Yoga is a very personal practice. People can just come in and make it their own experience and make practicing yoga whatever they want it or need it to be.” Don’t miss out on Honor Yoga in Zionsville’s incredible, limited-time offer! Register through the Honor Yoga app or online at zionsville.honoryoga.com. Be sure to follow Honor Yoga in Zionsville on social media for updates on classes and the grand opening celebration, slated for this summer, on Facebook at Honor Yoga Zionsville and on Instagram at honor.yoga.zionsville.