BUSINESS OWNER: Meghan Nelson & Ryan Allen
BUSINESS NAME: Lumin Therapy
MAIN PRODUCTS/SERVICES: Education (Professional Development, Continuing Education, Consulting) & Therapy (Physical Therapy, Medical Therapeutic Yoga)
Short description of your business:
Lumin Therapy provides integrative health and education for the mind, body, and spirit to those who want to live their heartfelt mission and purpose.
Through the practice of physical therapy, medical therapeutic yoga, meditation, mindfulness, and resiliency mentoring, Dr. Meghan Nelson, DPT, and Dr. Ryan Allen, PhD, bring their over forty-plus combined years of knowledge and experience serving others to learn and heal and live without boundaries.
What motivated you to start your business? What drives you each day?
Our journey began in 2014 shortly after the birth of our 3rd child, Sawyer. When we learned that she had Down syndrome (Trisomy 21) the stars immediately began aligning. We were given a book by Sonia Sumar called, Yoga for the Special Child, and from that moment until now we have been trying to find meaningful ways to bring the practice of yoga and mindfulness to a whole variety of people with special needs and abilities.
We are driven by the desire to be the change we want to see in the world, to model for our kids how to mindfully live with and for others, and by the need to support underrepresented, underserved, at-risk individuals and families and the organizations who serve them.
What’s unique about your business?
Perhaps one of the things that distinguishes Lumin Therapy is that we don’t operate out of our own building or space; rather, we find our place in our community’s spaces, with our partners in yoga studios, in non-profit organizations, and in schools and businesses.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome as you’ve grown your business?
We offer something that requires deep, personal buy-in to be successful. We’re not selling magic pills or elixirs that soothe all the rough edges of life away. Transformation is hard. Healing takes time. There’s a great line from a Leonard Cohen song, that the cracks “are how the light gets in.” Not everyone is ready to make this leap, to explore the edges, to cross the thresholds. Our role is to help guide a journey that only you can navigate yourself.
More concretely, a great challenge is our collective, cultural willingness to accept less than we deserve when it comes to our personal health and wellness. We wish everyone (including ourselves) would take more time for self-care. We should all be listening more closely to the flight attendant safety call to put your own oxygen mask on first before trying to help others. We need to give ourselves more permission to watch out for #1 so we can avoid stepping in #2.
What has been your greatest reward?
The rewards that come along with this gig are endless, but when we can encourage individuals to take charge of their health, their happiness, and their dreams through something as simple as being present with their breath, it’s a giant victory for all. There’s the young child who tells us, “I never knew there were so many ways to be love.” And the tween who confidently stands strong in her warrior pose with grace and beauty. The high schooler who reports feeling a sense of peace that he has never experienced after practicing body awareness. The father who says it’s through his breath work that he can finally sleep at night. Or seeing major progress from a mother with severe chronic pain who restored all function by calming her nervous system with slow diaphragmatic breathing. And the elderly spouse who cried and said she hasn’t seen her husband stand up this tall in years. Helping others (re)discover their path is our path. Gordon B. Hinkley says, “He or she who serves almost always benefits more than he or she who is served.” These relationships are the reward. We are all being served.
How have you benefited from the startup community in Sioux City and the region? What resources did you use?
Innovation Market and Sioux City GO, Dream Big Grow Here, Swimming with the Sharks, and Venture School were four of the most meaningful community connections we made to create, develop and grow our business in our first couple of years. Those experiences exposed us to networks of financial, logistic, intellectual, and human resources that have driven our thinking, practice, and evaluation through to today. The process of researching, discovering, presenting, receiving feedback, refining, discovering, presenting, and refining more has been absolutely invaluable and has never stopped. We are still constantly churning the pot to make what we do more and more accessible to more and more people.
Are there any experiences that were particularly influential in that regard?
There were two experiences in particular that drove us in the early days. The first was when we won some of the grant competitions we pitched. This was great not only because it provided us the seed money to start our business and a network of early adopting allies, but even more so because it gave us confidence that what we were doing mattered and that there was a community need that our expertise and experience could help address.
Participating in the Venture School was probably the most influential experience we had early on, though. This was a revolution for us because it provided the roadmap for how to execute our business plan through physical therapy, medical therapeutic yoga, and quality education, trainings and workshops.
Why is it important for the community to support startups and small businesses? What more can be done to help them?
Localism is about relationships. When we support startups and small businesses we invest in our community’s future, we honor its past, and we fuel its present. When we keep dollars in our community we keep families here and we grow and solve problems and prosper together. Global awareness is good, but local action is what sustains us.
What is one thing you know now that you wish you knew when starting your business?
If I had one word to describe what starting and running a business has been like, I would say fluid. Situations change. Opportunities arise. Pitfalls appear. We’re still here because of our willingness to go where our customers have shown us and our ability to let go of some things so that we could grab onto others. The path isn’t always paved. That’s what makes it business—there’s risk. So the business owner in me now accepts failure in a way that the one who started our business could have never fathomed. Not everything works. Sometimes we have to sweep ourselves clean, as Rumi says, to make way “for some new delight.”
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a business?
You have more value than you might ever imagine. How can you harness that value within to address a community need? Answer this and then get started.
How can the community continue to help your business?
What are some future goals for your company?