Yoga Bliss elongates muscles and empowers equilibrium through a range of tailored stretching sessions, with several frequently offered course types and more than 35 sessions on the weekly schedule. The Ashtanga Primary Series, derived from meditative Hatha yoga, bolsters spiritual as well as spinal alignment, and hot yoga melts away stressors including toxins, muscle tension, and ice sculptures shaped like childhood bullies. Neophytes begin their evolution into veteran yogis with Basics seminars, and the gentle/restorative session's slow motions and measured breathing accommodate aspiring back-benders with injuries sustained during previous workouts or backyard wrestling matches. Students can stretch out on their own mat or rent one from the studio for an additional $2.
Yoga 108's staff of local yogis teaches Bikram yoga in a studio dedicated to this popular subset of Hatha yoga. During more than 30 weekly classes, students practice up to 26 unique asanas—or poses—in a toasty room whose heat is designed to benefit the body by increasing its strength, flexibility, and fly-swatting accuracy. Instructors continuously circle the room to give timely feedback and alter students' poses.
TriYoga New Orleans offers small class sizes for all levels, with core-calming curriculum for neophytes and yoga masterminds alike. One-hour TriYoga classes ($15 each) guide students through yogic breathing exercises, postures, and hand gestures, with the instructor providing helpful, one-on-one feedback on how much more downward your dog could be facing. For students seeking alignment of both the spine and the soul, TriYoga New Orleans also offers Pilates classes ($15 each). The Pilates classes run 45 minutes each, with participants strengthening their cores, improving flexibility, and burning fat through muscle-molding poses and movements. Basic yoga and ballet workouts are incorporated into the Pilates regimen, allowing students to draw from several disciplines to better their bodies before the family's annual gator-wrestling retreat.
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.
The Yoga Room’s certified pose prodigy Melanie Fawer has brought Ashtanga yoga to New Orleans from its stretching grounds in Mysore, India. Like dragon-powered hot air balloons, Ashtanga correlates breath and motion, with practitioners maintaining breathing rhythms from one asana (pose) to the next. The Intro to Ashtanga class, strongly recommended, delves into yoga’s substrata to unearth the secrets of basic sequencing, breathing, and form. Except for instructor-led Friday sessions, other classes observe the Mysore tradition, with an instructor on hand for posture and pose corrections.