Yogi Michele Baker began teaching yoga at a New Orleans athletic club in 1998. Ten years later, after Hurricane Katrina forced Baker to evacuate her home, she started writing a yoga-instruction training manual. She soon put it to use, using it as a guide to lead her staff at Swan River Yoga, which she opened with business partner Keith Porteous. Today, the yoga center helps pupils practice yoga and guides aspiring instructors as they hone their craft and nurture the third eye that sprouts from their forehead.
Yoga classes are suitable for a variety of skill levels, and range from prenatal and beginners’ yoga to Anusara yoga—a class that focuses on flowing movements and proper alignment. Swan River Yoga also provides holistic services such as massage, reiki, and acupuncture.
Life Fitness treadmills and Cybex weight equipment complement the rows of elliptical machines and recumbent bikes at Downtown Fitness Center’s studios. Personal televisions transform machines into teeny, tiny home theaters. For structured workouts, visitors can opt for classes that impart yoga, and cardio routines, or trainers can tailor custom programs to achieve individual fitness goals.
Velocity Sports Performance's array of indoor tracks, turfs, and Olympic-style weightlifting equipment lets members fine-tune their physiques at their own pace. The fitness center is a cornucopia of resistance machines, free weights, and 25 cardio machines designed to entertain bored muscles while ridding bodies of sweat. Runners can experience Velocity's small field of athletic turf, which re-creates the feeling of running on real grass, while the sprint track treats treads to a less deceitful synthetic surface.
Anytime Fitness, as the name suggests, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 512 days a year with nonstop security. Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of a one-month membership, which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to train them to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. Highlight the results of fat-frying and muscle-mass-magnifying sessions with one month of unlimited tanning in a bevy of beds that paint ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze. Then, during the three personal-training sessions, Anytime’s staff of fitness gurus can help exercisers set new fitness goals, revise and personalize workout programs, and correct form during strenuous pinky exercises.
Balance Spa at the Loews is like a social mixer for spa services: East meets West, water meets air, modern science meets time-tested treatments. And all of these convergences happen under the skilled eyes of aestheticians. In four treatment rooms they apply self-heating mud-packs to the spine and feet while aromatherapy calms the senses. The sea's bounty also becomes apparent with Phytomer products made from underwater plants that combat aging and help reduce the depth of wrinkles to keep people from filling them in with cement. The East meets West massage, meanwhile, combines muscle-soothing techniques from both hemispheres, readying the mind for a rejuvenating facial that mixes glycolic acid and proteolytic enzymes. Afterward, clients can draw on age-old hubs of well-being: the hotel's pool, fitness and wellness center, sauna, and whirlpool.