GODFREY, IL – The RiverBend Growth Association has selected Heather’s Zen Den Yoga Studio as its March 2024 Small Business of the Month award recipient.

Owner Heather Garrigus says it was a desire to continue honoring her late brother’s memory that motivated her to move the yoga studio she first set up in her home to its own standalone space.

“When I was facing unemployment, I began searching for a job that would permit me to employ my degree in criminal justice,” Garrigus explains. “Fortunately, I found a new job that gave me more free time, and so I decided to try out my first yoga class in person. Initially, I only attended a few classes here and there, yet it soon became an everyday habit.

“Motivated to explore my passion for yoga further, I enrolled in a Yoga Teacher Training program. It proved to be one of the most challenging yet fruitful experiences of my life. Afterward, I taught at my home studio for an extended period, until I decided to open Heather’s Zen Den Yoga Studio in February 2021,” she adds.

“In memory of my late brother, I decided to open a business, despite the pandemic. I knew it would be a challenge, but I wanted to honor him by living life to the fullest. I told myself that I would take on something new and daring every year, and this seemed like the perfect way to start. Though I was scared, I knew that I had to take the risk to honor his memory,” Garrigus further notes.

Now with seven employees, Garrigus has been open for three years at 95 Eastgate Shopping Center in East Alton. “We have added four new instructors in the last year, and we have a marketing coordinator, which has been key to our success in bringing yoga to the community. We have also updated our website and are revamping our brand as a business,” she shares further, “and we have added a kitchen area to accommodate day-long retreat meal options.”

“We have very experienced yoga instructors on staff, and we also offer continuing education to staff and the community as well. We honor yoga as the way it was intended to be.” Heather’s Zen Den is a sponsor of Alton’s Jacoby Arts Center.

“One of the primary motivations for starting my yoga studio is a genuine love and passion for yoga,” Garrigus says. “I believe in the transformative power of yoga and its ability to improve physical health, mental well-being and overall quality of life. Sharing this passion with others and creating a space for people to practice and explore yoga is a deeply rewarding endeavor.”

“Running a yoga studio allows me to combine my passion for yoga with an entrepreneurial spirit. Being a business owner provides me with the autonomy to shape my own destiny, make important decisions and build a sustainable venture,” she adds. “I have the opportunity to create a thriving business that positively impacts the lives of others while also providing me with personal fulfillment.”

Garrigus also points out that her entrepreneurial endeavors contribute to a healthier community and society overall. “Yoga promotes a holistic approach to health, emphasizing self-care and mindfulness. As more individuals engage in yoga practices, the positive ripple effects can extend beyond the studio walls and into the fabric of society, promoting a healthier and more harmonious way of living.”

To make yoga more accessible to busy students or those unable to attend the studio, Heather’s Zen Den has introduced pages on the Patreon and YouTube platforms. These platforms provide convenient access to their yoga classes, allowing individuals to practice wherever they are.

Understanding the diverse needs of its community, the yoga studio has also expanded its schedule to accommodate more class offerings to ensure that people with different schedules and commitments can find a suitable time to participate in their yoga sessions. Morning, afternoon, and evening sessions are all available seven days a week.

“Whether you’re interested in Vinyasa, Hatha, or Kundalini yoga, our experienced instructors are well-equipped to guide you through each practice,” Garrigus adds. “We believe that the diversity of styles and the wealth of knowledge our instructors bring create a unique and enriching experience for our students. We strive to set ourselves apart from the competition by creating a warm and welcoming environment of Zen.”

In a continuous effort to create a serene environment, the studio also features a transformative and captivating mural. “This art installation promotes a sense of relaxation and tranquility, enhancing the overall experience for our students,” says Garrigus. “And to further enhance the ambiance, we have also introduced plants throughout the studio. These lush green additions breathe life into the space, creating a welcoming and vibrant atmosphere.”

Heather’s Zen Den Yoga Studio continues to make an impact in the region outside of its walls as well. Collaborating with other businesses and organizations is a key part of their outreach and connections. Among its many community contributions is providing classes and sessions at:

Tree House Wildlife Center, with donations benefitting Tree House; on-site and in-studio for the Madison County Child Advocacy Center; on-site at Grafton’s Witches on the Water with partner Spring Hollow Hideaway; yoga and painting at Party On Broadway; Little Cat Rescue of Illinois, through a special event designed to get cats adopted and with proceeds going back to the Rescue; and still more, including at Goshen Market in Edwardsville, Dolci di Anna Bakery, Nourished Revival and Kundalini of Crestone.

Contributions to the Community Christmas event in collaboration with Riverbend Family Ministries and bell ringing for the Salvation Army further exemplify a commitment to community service.

“The growth of Heather’s Zen Den is incredibly exciting, and we eagerly anticipate the promising trajectory it holds for the future. We are humbled by the opportunity to be a part of our students’ wellness journeys, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to continue making a positive impact in their lives,” says Garrigus.

“As we look ahead to the coming years, we envision a path filled with boundless opportunities for expansion, innovation, and further impact on our community. We are fueled by the passion and dedication that drives our endeavors, and we are committed to continually evolving and meeting the ever-changing needs of our valued students. With great enthusiasm, we embrace the journey that lies ahead, confident in the growth and success that awaits Heather’s Zen Den,” she adds.

For more information, visit online at http://www.heatherszenden.com or call (618) 373-9099.

The RiverBend Growth Association is the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development organization for the 11 communities known as the Riverbend. For more information about the Growth Association, visit www.growthassociation.com or call (618) 467-2280.

RBGA’s Small Business of the Month Committee recognizes a different member business each month for its outstanding efforts and leadership in the community. Committee members include Brenda Eardley, Vicki Hake, Vickie Hopkins, Adrianna Lock, Amy Roady, Martha Schultz, and Amy Smith.

To learn more about membership in the RiverBend Growth Association and the Small Business of the Month recognition, visit the RBGA website or call their Godfrey office.