Change Maker Spotlight:  Maria Parrella-Turco

Change Maker Spotlight: Maria Parrella-Turco

Maria Parrella-Turco is a fitness industry expert, speaker, writer, consultant, turnaround specialist and entrepreneur. She’s founded several companies including Honor Yoga, one of  the nation’s fastest-growing, high-quality yoga franchises. Parrella-Turco’s companies have generated revenues in excess of 10 million. In addition, Parrella-Turco has served as the co-owner of numerous gyms and studios throughout New York and New Jersey. She has been featured on the cover of Club Insider, Mindful Studio Magazine and Club Solutions Magazine, and assisted hundreds of centers in the aspects of strategic planning, system implementation, execution, and staff training. She is a warrior against sedentary lifestyle and continuously helps her franchisees and clients optimize profitability and mission fulfillment.


YD: How did you get into your business?

I’ve been in the fitness industry for more than 25 years. I started teaching group fitness and  managing clubs in New Jersey and New York  before I co-founded a consulting firm and became an industry turnaround specialist.  I went on to purchase an Eclipse fitness club in New Jersey and partnered in four Crunch Fitness franchises. I continued my entrepreneurial spirit in founding fitRewards and becoming a contributing writer and speaker for the fitness industry, eventually earning my yoga 500ERYT . In 2013 I launched Honor Yoga  to help others achieve their greatest potential through the teachings of yoga. Later, we launched Honor Yoga Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Honor Yoga, which brings yoga to at-risk and underserved communities.

YD: How do you stay motivated and inspired to be the best you?

I rely on my routine, my mantras and my movement throughout the day. Everyone has self-doubt and the feeling that they are not good enough – I feel that, too. But whenever I feel that way, I go through the actions that make me happy – exercise, yoga,  repeating mantras and surrounding myself with positive people. Mantras are a huge part of it – they motivate you. I let the negative voice be a voice in the distance and I choose people who choose me.

YD: Why is it important to have a message, mission and intention?

It is important to have a message, mission and intention because it is what drives you. If you do not have a roadmap, you will aimlessly be moving about. A message helps others resonate with you, a mission helps direct you and an intention connects you to the message and mission. At Honor Yoga, we are in the business of helping others grow through yoga. Our mission of brining yoga to everyone inspires our message, which centers on the fact that everyone is welcome, Our intentions on helping others grow through the teachings of yoga connects our mission and message and reignites our drive when the monotony of day-to-day operations bog us down.

YD: What do you like least about your industry?

I founded Honor Yoga because I felt the yoga industry had become too box-like and didn’t offer enough for family and kids. You would go to a yoga studio and it mirrored another. Stereotypes emerged that yoga was only for young, fit women and that is not the case. Yoga is for everyone – male, female, old, young, spiritual and not, fit and on a fitness journey, injured or not, etc. I felt there were not enough studios that were truly welcoming to everyone and it was making yoga untouchable. We seek to break this mold.

YD: Where do you see yourself in the  industry in 5 years?

As Honor Yoga and Honor Yoga Foundation has continued to flourish, we have begun extending our reach to new markets across the nation. From California to Florida to Ohio and in between, more communities will be able to experience a welcoming and thriving yoga community. It also means we will be able to serve more communities through the foundation, helping at-risk and underserved communities heal, repair and renew through yoga. In the next five years, we plan to have over 100 studios open and operating.

YD: What is your life motto?

I tend to focus on mantras more so than mottos. My mantras inspire and motivate me as they are more active phrases than a motto. The three that I use regularly are:

  • I am worthy and deserving of all the blessings in the universe.
  • I deserve to be loved and love everyone.
  • I am the perfect balance of a Buddha and a Bad Ass.

Whenever I’m feeling down or unmotivated, I repeat these mantras to myself. They help realign myself with my goals.