This week on our NOLA Yoga Journey, we turn up the heat while visiting New Orleans’ oldest Bikram Yoga studio.
Studio: Yoga 108
Location: 8229 Oak Street
Overview: Yoga 108 was the first Bikram Studio established in New Orleans when the original owners moved their studio from San Francisco to New Orleans in 2005. Bikram yoga is hot yoga (the 108 in the title represents the temperature at which Bikram is practiced), but don’t let that intimidate you, the temperature is not that much hotter than a typical New Orleans summer day. As an added bonus, the heat in a Bikram class loosens the muscles and joints and allows a practitioner to get to the core of the pose from start to finish of the class.
Ambiance: This studio can feel a little more intense than most because of the heat and the “push, push, push” mentality of Bikram. If you have never practiced this style before, I recommend going to at least two classes: one to do as much as you can, but take it easy; if need be, just sit and pretend like you are in the sauna for an hour and a half – but whatever you do, stay in the room and allow your body to adjust to the heat – and a second class to actually commit yourself to doing a full class. Trust me, it will be worth it.
Community: Bikram yogis are some of the most dedicated. Because Bikram leaves one feeling so sensational post-class, Bikram yogis are very passionate about their practice. There are also even more health benefits associated with Bikram than with other styles of yoga; indeed owner Susanne Karst avers that a steady Bikram practice haled her eight-year thyroid disorder. Karst states her and her co-owner husband’s goal is “to provide a refuge from the pressures, distractions and chaos called life for 90 minutes. In that time, one focuses and calms the mind and spirit to find the peace and strength to deal with life more productively and energetically afterwards.”
Classes/My Picks: All the classes are fabulous. Every Bikram class is the same and moves through a series of twelve standing and fourteen seated postures. Another benefit of taking a Bikram class during a New Orleans summer or on a warmer fall day, is one could theoretically memorize the class and practice outside!
Price: 30-day unlimited intro for new students: $39 (extremely low priced new student packages are a regular practice of most California studios, but a rare one in New Orleans – I highly recommend doing this package as it will really enable you to immerse yourself in the heat and new style); drop in: $18; student and military 10 class: $100; 10 classes: $150; one month unlimited: $150; six month unlimited: $750; yearly unlimited: $1296.
NOLA Yoga Journey recaps one yogi’s journey through the yoga studios in New Orleans. It explores the unique yoga community of New Orleans, one that reflects the life, culture, and mindset of the city and its people.
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. For more information on NolaVie, visit NolaVie.com.