All great places have one thing in common: great people.

Hannah Ramlo’s plan was to journey far and wide from her hometown of Tremont — just minutes from Peoria — and stay far and wide. She certainly wasn’t dreaming of returning to Greater Peoria.

After studying in Chicago, training to be a yoga teacher in Scotland, and freelance writing across Europe, Hannah began looking for programs in Nonprofit Leadership. She happened to find a great option in Peoria, one that stood out against other nationwide universities. So, she made her way back home for what she thought would be an educational layover, a pitstop to earn a Master’s from Bradley University before embarking on the next adventure.

Eight years later, she hasn’t left (or looked back).

“It just felt really good, supportive and natural to stay,” Hannah says of the decision that led her to found Soulside Healing Arts, the mindfulness-based nonprofit yoga studio, here in Peoria. “I didn’t feel like I could open what I wanted to in a bigger city like Chicago, where there’s a yoga studio on every block,” she says. “But there’s enough space to try your specific thing here and get your foot in the door.”

Soulside’s mission is bringing affordable and accessible well-being to all, furthering a drive for inclusion by operating on a “pay-what-you-can” model. Peoria’s landscape has been the perfect fertile ground to grow, with its abundance of creativity and enthusiasm for supporting entrepreneurs.

“There's enough space to try your specific thing here and put your foot in the door.”​

What began as on-site classes has expanded to wellness offerings in workplaces and public schools, and collaborations with over 70 social service agencies across the community. Soulside recently opened a second location in nearby Washington and launched the Community Doula Program, providing sliding scale perinatal support to birthing people.

Looking ahead, Hannah is excited to see even more young people moving to the River City, bringing with them the renewed energy of their own big ideas. She knows all too well what’s possible when working with the soil of good community.

Learn more about Soulside Healing Arts or book a yoga class here: 

Greater Peoria Q&A with Hannah Ramlo

Greater Peoria in One Word: Space

People of Greater Peoria in One Word: Down to Earth

If Greater Peoria Had a Tagline: “Space to Grow”

Favorite Annual Event: Moss Avenue Antique Sales

Piece of Advice for Someone Moving Here: “Look beneath the surface”


Check out the stories of those who chose more in Greater Peoria.