For the past few months I’ve been researching yoga studios around New Orleans for my “Nola Yoga Journey” column. As a California native, I hail from a state where yoga has steadily increased in popularity since the 1970s. The teachers, the studios, the philosophies, and the practices are some of the most celebrated in the nation.
But New Orleans, one of the Yoga Journal’s “10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Towns,” has steadily developed its yoga reputation, and the community of yogis in New Orleans gives those in the golden state a run for their money.
Two driving forces of this growing community are lululemon atheltica and Cat McCarthy, owner of NOLA YOGA. Lululemon clothes the yoga community and provides community outreach. Cat McCarthy is a New Orleans native and certified Anusara Yoga instructor who has actively helped rebuild the community of New Orleans through the mindfulness of yoga since 2005.
This past weekend lululemon and McCarthy came together to present one of lululemon’s free yoga workshops. These workshops highlight different yoga and pilates studios and teachers throughout New Orleans, and are a fabulous (and free) way to become a part of New Orleans’ thriving yoga community. I was particularly excited about this workshop not only because it took place in Audubon Park ( in November, no less), but also because I have been looking forward to taking a class from McCarthy since the summer.
The park, of course, was wonderful on this sunny New Orleans Saturday. We did yoga with the sun on our backs, allowing it to energize our bodies and our postures. McCarthy’s practice was spiritual and playful. She combined partner and group work with individual poses that were mentally and physically challenging and engaging.
The overall experience served as a reminder of the amazing community of yogis in New Orleans and, as we head into the winter months, of the revitalizing power of yoga. I look forward to many more lululemon yoga workshops (they will restart yoga in the park in May), as well as classes taught by Cat McCarthy.