Room to Grow

Appears in the September 2023 issue.

By Judy Sutton Taylor

This Naperville yoga studio offers opportunities for self-renewal and paying it forward

Grow Well Yoga, Barre & Fitness

Restoring the mind and restoring the body hold equal importance to Mary Ellen Taylor, a certified yoga therapist and the studio manager at not-for-profit Grow Well Yoga, Barre & Fitness, 200 East Fifth Avenue in Naperville.

The studio, which opened late last year, is affiliated with Grow Wellness Group (located in the same building), which offers counseling, psychological testing, sports psychology, life coaching, and other services. There Taylor was introduced to yoga therapy—which uses postures and breathing exercises to improve both mental and physical health—while recovering from spinal fusion surgery. She says it was life changing. “I was able to heal physically, but I also healed pain stemming from grief and loss.”

Mary Ellen Taylor

She realized not many people knew about yoga therapy and did a training program with the goal of teaching the benefits of mental and physical well-being. When Grow Wellness Group created a role for her to do just that, it was a dream come true. A few months later, they teamed to open the studio—an even bigger dream.

The studio donates all its proceeds to the Grow Wellness Foundation, which provides low-cost and pro bono counseling services to underserved populations in the western suburbs. It also collaborates with local organizations and businesses to build mental-health awareness and response strategies and offers internships and scholarships to students interested in pursuing careers in the mental-health field.

At Grow Well, about 25 classes are offered seven days a week, including everything from traditional barre classes and yoga for mobility to meditation and sound baths. “We operate just like a traditional yoga and barre studio, and we are super accepting and very holistic,” Taylor says. “Because we have the support of a mental wellness group, we’re ready to respond to trauma—perhaps more so than a big-box fitness studio.”

Mary Ellen Taylor

For example, meditation is taught with a broad lens. “We use verbiage that meets people wherever they are,” she explains. “We don’t tell people to close their eyes or send their minds to a place where they may have experienced trauma. We provide broad choices that offer a chance to simply provide calmness.”

The goal is to balance the body and the brain. “Our classes truly embrace the fundamentals of breath, posture, and imaging,” she says. “The intention is to calm an agitated mind, help reduce pain in the body, and help people get better rest.”

Down the road, Taylor aspires for Grow to add mind/body-focused workshops, speakers, a teacher education program, and classes targeted to kids and teens. “We’re love-driven,” she says. “Our real mission is to inspire people to get what they need here and go out into the world to help others.”


Photos: Michelle Rae Sobi/Grow Wellness Group