By Brianna Smyk
Having moved to New Orleans from California a few months ago, I have come to enjoy exploring my vibrant new city. As an avid yogi, I am particularly curious about the yoga culture here. I have discovered that it is one that is very specific to the life, culture, and mindset of New Orleans and its communities of people.
Indeed, Yoga Journal named New Orleans one of its “10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Towns in the U.S.”
I have started attending different yoga studios around New Orleans (yes, you – like my friend Mallory from class last night – may even have spotted me en route to class, biking on my yellow beach cruiser with my bright, polka-dot mat bag). Over the next few weeks, I will describe my experiences in the various studios I have visited. I invite you to join me on my NOLA yoga journey. Here’s chapter one.
Studio: Wild Lotus Yoga
Location: There are two, one Uptown at 4842 Perrier Street (at Upperline), and one downtown at 2372 Saint Claude (at Saint Roch) at the New Orleans Healing Center. A note for any of you visiting the downtown location: There is parking lot around the back of the building that they suggest you use before 8 a.m. and after 3 p.m. for safety reasons.
Overview: Wild Lotus is a traditional yoga studio, with a focus on the physical practice as well as the mental/spiritual/soulful component. Native New Orleanian and owner Sean Johnson seeks to “teach yoga in a way that inspires a deeper, more creative, and vibrant connection to life.” His teachers gently guide students through chanting, setting intentions for a class, and using new techniques and adjustments to develop a stronger yoga practice.
Ambiance: Both the Uptown and downtown locations have a very Zen feel, resulting in an environment that is conducive to beginning or expanding the spiritual and physical components of one’s yoga practice. The downtown location is worth going to just to see the newly renovated and soon-to-open healing center.
Community: The wide variety of yoga and yoga-related activities combined with the enlightened atmosphere of the studio sew the seeds for a warm community of yogis. Johnson says, “ I adore the way the spirit of yoga blends with the soul of New Orleans and I love teaching and having studios here.”
Classes/My Picks: The instructors teach in a variety of styles, from restorative to flow, so there is something for everyone. I would recommend taking a class with Sean Johnson to get the full experience of his yoga philosophy; his class is great for all levels. I also recommend Claiborne and Farah, especially if you are looking for more advanced classes. They both have an ability to create movement and flow for their students. Wild Lotus also offers holistic workshops and a range of other yoga-related programs to keep students’ minds and bodies engaged and enlightened.
Price: $12 per drop-in class; $120 pass for 10 classes; $100 for 10 classes for students, seniors, military, AmeriCorps VISTA; $108 pass for 10 classes for New Orleans Food Co-Op Member Special
Brianna Smyk has an M.A in Art History from San Diego State University. She lives and works in New Orleans and writes about arts and culture for NOLAVie. Read more of Brianna’s articles at www.beingbreezie.tumblr.com.