Lumin Therapy: Let it Shine


Meghan Nelson
Lumin Therapy
Sioux City, IA
Lumin Therapy, LLC provides yoga-based community workshops and clinics, organization and school outreach, and one-on-one home sessions for individuals and families with special needs.
Lumin Therapy, LLC will be successful because of the needs we are trying to meet in our community, region, country, and world. And those needs are significant. One billion people living in the world today have special needs. One out of seven children in the world have a disability, one out of five American kids. The U.S. special needs population is 56.7 million. 10.4% of Iowans (aged 21-64) live with some type of visual, hearing, ambulatory, cognitive, self-care, or independent living disability. In 2013, the overall percentage of people with a disability of all ages in Iowa was 12%. That’s just a number, though: what it represents is 365,200 of the 3,047,100 individuals of all ages in Iowa who reported one or more disabilities. 21,300 of the 449,100 individuals ages five to fifteen in Iowa reported one or more disabilities. 6.6% of individuals sixteen to twenty years of age reported one or more disabilities (Iowa Disability Status Report, 2013). In Woodbury County alone, disability population statistics from the pooled 2005-2007 ACS PUMS data reveal that 42.8% of residents aged 5-64 have a reported disability. And these numbers have only grown. These are just snapshots, though. And we’re just talking about Iowa here. As our business grows, Lumin will cross state lines and eventually serve our wider Siouxland community in Nebraska and South Dakota as well. These numbers represent people—people with hopes and dreams and goals and aspirations who don’t always get the ability to achieve. We want to help these people, and not just these individuals either. Part of Lumin’s mission expansion efforts will include reaching out to other need populations, like veterans or those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, behavioral disabilities, and victims of abuse. We want to help our community. We’re called to serve. Lumin Therapy will be successful because these people need us to be successful. Their families need us. Our social services need us. Our community is in need. We can and will help. We will be successful because we get the pleasure and opportunity to discover what is so special about people with special needs. And we’re confident that Lumin Therapy will play a special role in helping our world realize that it’s the people who are special much more so than their needs.

Lumin's primary customers are individuals and families with special needs and abilities. Our initial efforts primarily focus on individuals with Autism, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, ADD/ADHD, among others, but we're also, as noted above, interested in expanding into other need populations, like veterans and victims of abuse as well. We will reach them by engaging area agencies, organizations, and schools, but also through community-based workshops and events. This work has already begun as we’ve made connections with organizations like Gigi's Playhouse, Mid-Step Services, Opportunities Unlimited, and Pier Center for Autism. Additionally, we’re doing one-on-one yoga interventions with individuals and families, as well as hosting community-wide workshops in a partnership with Evolve Yoga & Wellness, another Sioux City-based company.

To date, there are no other services of this nature whose core values and goals compete with our own (at least none anywhere remotely close to our region). And we believe that we are getting into this business at a very opportune time because of the growth of the yoga industry in our market, its overall widening appeal nation and worldwide, and because of the emerging medical and scientific research that’s being done on the numerous health and wellness benefits of a regular yoga practice. Where Lumin really distinguishes itself is in the primary populations we aim to serve. We are not looking to compete directly with any other yoga studios in our area. We are offering something completely unique, something, to be perfectly frank, other yoga teachers and businesses tend to shy away from. Our mission calls us to serve those individuals and families the rest of the world is leaving behind. We are not alone. There are other yoga teachers leading individuals and families with special needs in a continued practice, but as noted above, there are not any in our area (existing businesses exist primarily on east and west coast). This is the primary reason we feel so strongly that we’ve got a good idea, a good plan, and a customer-base who needs us.

As noted above, one of the places we’d like to expand our services, which “Dream Big, Grow Here” would definitely help support, is with Iowa’s veteran population. In 2013, 57,046 veterans had a reported disability, which represents 27.9% of Iowa veterans. The percent of the veteran population ages 18-64 with a disability living below the poverty level is 33.2%. That veteran population 65 years and older with a disability living below the poverty level is 34%. These statistics are noteworthy because those living in poverty generally have poorer access to meaningful health and wellness options, which again is exactly why Lumin Therapy wants to intervene.

At the moment, we are operating as a cash-based business, but as we expand our services, because one of our co-owners is a physical therapist, we want to eventually open a PT clinic so that we can begin to transition to working with insurance companies. This would be in our 3-5 year growth model. Once this happens we will be offering even more holistic therapeutic intervention opportunities to our Siouxland community and beyond.
We are applying, well, because we are dreaming big and hoping to grow here. This opportunity directly speaks to who we are as a company, what we believe in, and what we want for our business, and more importantly, our community. Lumin Therapy has at its core mission to empower individuals and families with special needs to live beyond boundaries by providing direct care and education of the mind, body, and spirit through the practice of yoga. Our core values are to promote the grace and dignity of the whole person, to enrich the family experience through advocacy, solidarity, and care, and to serve what is so profoundly special about the individuals and families with special needs. Our primary goals are to serve people with physical, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive needs, to expand therapeutic intervention opportunities in mind, body, and spirit in children and adults with special needs, and to provide a safe, caring, and inclusive zone for children and adults with special needs and their families to collaborate and build community.

Lumin Therapy, LLC would use the “Dream Here, Grow Here” grant money for four primary purposes: equipment, training, marketing, and research. Equipment needs include yoga mats, blocks, bolsters, blankets, and straps, all of which are necessary for the appropriate modifications and assistance with the physical practice of yoga. Trainings include two basic RYT-200 certifications (through Yoga Alliance), a 45-hour Yoga for the Special Child training, a 15-hour Level I Yoga for Veterans certification, a 40-hour Level I Therapeutic Yoga and 95-hour Children's Yoga certifications (with others planned as we continue to grow). Our marketing needs are an enhanced web page, fliers, and brochures, social media pushes, as well as the need to get out into our community for even more parent meetings and organizational pitches. Research needs include a variety of books on children’s yoga, yoga for special needs, and yoga for trauma victims.

Finally, we are applying because this is a family affair and our family is rooted deep in Iowa. After the birth of our third child, a beautiful little girl, Sawyer Rae, we learned that she had Down syndrome (Trisomy 21). Immediately, the stars aligned for us. We began doing yoga with Sawyer when she was less than a month old and now, at just over a year old, she is an amazing little yogi and is doing incredibly well. We were given a gift and we want to share this gift with our larger community. We realize that for our family, for our children, it truly takes a village to raise them in this world to their highest potential. We have a responsibility to this village: to promote the practice of yoga for ALL bodies. Our role is to help individuals and families with special needs to discover their strength and to help build up their character and self-esteem. From our own experiences, on and off the mat, we’ve witnessed and felt personally the healing and the growth that comes through a devoted practice of yoga. We want to help the rest of the world discover this joy, this light. At Lumin Therapy we are called to help others shine. This grant money will help us build our business, of course, but more importantly, our business will help transform our community and our world into a more loving, kind, peaceful place.

These numbers noted above represent needs and these needs are significant, but Lumin Therapy’s desire to help these individuals and families meet these needs is boundless: this will be our life’s work. We want to help the voiceless find their voices, the sedentary to discover motion, those in pain to feel the sweet benefits of release, and those battling to look next to them and see someone fighting right alongside. We want to serve those our society and our world is leaving behind. This is not just about business. This is about making the world a more peaceful, loving, gentle, and kind place. This is Lumin’s heart. We’ve got a lot of love to share and we believe to our core that this practice is our way to help open the hearts of everyone else around else. Steve Hartman of CBS News recently asked, “Why on earth do we call disabled when on the important things they can be so much more able than us?” Hartman is asking the right question, is making the right point. Lumin Therapy, LLC is going to do everything in our ability and power to help the rest of the world experience this too. We’re going to do our part to show that a person is much more special than his or her needs.

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