“What I love about yoga is that it’s something you can do your entire life,” says Jamey Banowetz, owner of Urban Body Yoga on Fort Wayne’s southwest side. “It’s adaptable to any age or any physical challenges you have. You can work around that and it leaves you a stronger person. Yoga is the way to break out of that cycle of having an unhealthy, overweight body and have the body you need to go out and do what you want to do and live a full life.”
Banowetz should know. Her yoga journey started years ago when she began taking yoga classes at Urban Body, never imagining that she would someday teach yoga and own the studio.
“I came into this at a crossroads in my life,” she says. “My son graduated from high school and it was a turning point for me and I started taking classes here. I had taken yoga before, but Urban Body is different because it teaches Power Vinyasa Yoga, which is based on the Baron Baptiste Methodology. It opened up a new level of fitness for me and gave me a clear direction of what I wanted to do next, which was to teach yoga.”
Banowetz underwent the training and became a certified instructor. That was four years ago… and four months ago, she and her husband, Don, bought Urban Body.
“One of the reasons we bought the studio was because of the community atmosphere here. This is my community of everyone I went to class with and I just wanted to keep that going. Nobody is judged here because we’re all in this together – we’re stronger together. We also offer our clients the opportunity to take classes outside of the studio. We had a class at Parkview Field that benefitted the Allen County SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as well as a class at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and we are planning a class at The Plex with guest teacher wounded war veteran Dan Nevins.”
Banowetz often hears comments from people who worry about how their bodies look and shy away from yoga.
“You don’t have to worry about what people will think about you here. You just get on your mat and whatever happens, happens. This is yoga practice, not yoga perfect.”
Urban Body is the only Baron Baptiste studio in northern Indiana. Another unique factor about the studio is its homelike atmosphere. In the center is a long, somewhat-rustic looking table next to an open kitchen area. The space is often filled with men, women and children who have just finished class, but want to spend time chatting with their fellow students.
“We do offer classes for children as young as four,” says Banowetz. “Kids love yoga and it’s so neat to watch them because, unlike a lot of adults, kids don’t have any inhibitions. They are open to trying new things. In addition to the yoga, we teach the kids about making smart choices for their bodies and overall health. We also offer childcare while our members are in class.”
Banowetz says the studio has three different kinds of yoga: Deep flow, standard flow and power.
“Deep flow is slower-paced and has a longer stretching series at the end. Standard flow is based on the Baron Baptiste journey into power series and then Power just kicks it up a notch and it’s a little faster-paced with more advanced poses. There’s something for everyone here.”
Urban Body houses three other businesses, all of which are woman-owned:
Fit 4 You: Personal training and nutritional counseling
bpolished: Nail salon and other spa services
The Shoppe: A boutique within the studio selling yoga apparel and accessories such as mats and towels and is the exclusive provider of lululemon apparel in Fort Wayne
Banowetz says her yoga path has been a wake-up call – a good one – and she knows it could be like that for many others.
“One of the funniest things I hear is, ‘I can’t do yoga because I’m not flexible.’ That’s like saying you’re too dirty to take a bath. Each time you go to yoga, you’re stronger and you get more flexible. It’s a journey – it’s your own journey.”
Owner(s): Jamey and Don Banowetz
Address: 4930 Illinois Road Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804
Phone: (260) 432-9642
Years in Business: 7
Number of Employees: 16
Products & Services: Yoga, barre, boot camp, meditation