Small Business Spotlight: Yoga with a (Brain) Twist
Dayton Business Review met with owner Keith Engelhardt, of NeuroYoga.Zone ™ to discuss the origin of his business, its goals, and the business model Keith uses to deliver his services.
Keith, a dual citizen of Canada and the United States, had a long career in information technology and other technologies, and at times, supported the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB. However, almost from the beginning of his adult life, he was also developing a keen interest in yoga with its holistic body/mind benefits and has pursued it as personal discipline for over 40 years and has been teaching locally for 37 years. Consequently, at the end of his first career, he founded NeuroYoga.Zone™ and the umbrella company Sawatch Solutions LLC in 2016, in a large part, to help people receive the scientifically proven benefits of the wisdom traditions of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation as he has over the last 3 decades.
Keith viewed yoga a bit differently than others, or perhaps it is better to say he saw the brain/mind component in a stronger light than most practioners. Keith founded the practice of NeuroYoga ™ with the objective of combining the latest in neuroscience, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness principally aimed at reducing the growing negative effects of stress in our modern lives. Keith cites brain scan studies that indicate with just simple very specific breathing exercises stress can be significantly reduced in minutes, and when regularly practiced reverse the impact of stress to maximize health and performance. Further, Keith emphasizes that most yoga practioners, especially beginners, overlook the importance of getting their mind out of its chronic chattering, but instead focus on advance yoga postures. With NeuroYoga ™ Keith explains the concept of neuroplasticity: the principle that the brain is not a static, or fixed, organ; but instead it is pliable in that it is dynamic and can change, evolve, and retrain itself. And because of this, people can make major transformational changes in their lives with simple and consistent daily practice of yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
NeuroYoga.Zone™ delivers sessions through a variety of channels: online, classes, workshops, retreats, and through partners, such as the University of Dayton and the Samaritan North Wellbeing Center. Keith focuses on helping his students reduce the stress that is now commonplace in modern Americans’ lives as well as help empower them to make positive changes.
In our standard Q&A, Keith shared a bit more about his business, its origins, and his objectives:
What is your background and why did you start Sawatch Solutions LLC and NeuroYoga.Zone?
I have had a rich 30 year plus career in various technology sectors however for my own sanity and balance one of my side activities has been practicing yoga mindfulness and meditation for over 40 years and teaching them at area institutions and organizations for 37 years.
In the last five or 10 years I have become acutely aware of the impact of stress and distractions on productivity at every level. For example, it costs US corporations $450 billion to $500 billion dollars a year in lost productivity cost due to stressed and distracted employees. The World Health Organization has assessed stress to be the number one epidemic on the planet. Stress is also the major reason people seek healthcare solutions.
Most Americans are suffering from moderate to high stress, with 44 percent reporting that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. – American Psychological Association.
Stress is toxic to body and brain, your health and wellbeing. 77% Percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress – www.statisticbrain.com (Research Date: April 27th, 2015)
So based on my own experience with the benefits of the wisdom traditions of mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, (as well as my own experience with stress), and what Neuroscience now backs up with research, I decided to take the leap and turn an avocation into a business. After some local test marketing workshops, I incorporated in December of 2016.
What are your business goals?
My primary goal is to provide wellness and self-improvement services and products to individuals and organizations. I want to help them “Transform the tyranny of stress to tranquility!” ™ I offer products and services that help “Reduce your stress, improve your brain, get stronger, healthier, more relaxed, and self-actualize!”
Tell us about a business challenge you had and how you overcame it?
A major challenge for any business is getting known which I am in the process of doing. I am well-known in the community that I have served over the last three decades however building a broader awareness and brand identify for a larger audience takes some effort. So I've done the research necessary to know how to get known in the digital and distracted world. This includes leveraging my 20-year plus experience in web development and design combined with what neuroscience understands regarding "why people buy and why they don't" along with neuro-marketing to build messaging and marketing to communicate how I can solve pain points for individuals and organizations.
What differentiates your company in the market?
I offer a unique and well researched blend of Neuroscience backed Yoga, Mindfulness, And Meditation programs to reduce their stress, improve their brains, and get stronger, healthier, more relaxed, and self-actualize for greater productivity, happiness and wellness.
What are you reading or have read recently?
I am currently reading: Andrew Newburg's Why We Believe What We Believe, and Srini Pillay's Tinker, Dabble, Doodle, Try ― Unlock the Power of the Unfocused Mind.