Take Me To Church
A spiritual yoga experience
Cheryl Gerber Photograph
The sound of the gong hummed in the background. I lay on my mat, breathing in and out after completing my first class at The Church of Yoga. I’ve always loved the idea of yoga, but I never thought it was something I was cool enough to participate in. Every time I’ve entered a yoga class, it was always filled with people who look one hundred times cooler than I am. I’m always intimidated by their expert level of style and ability to never fall over, which I feel like I constantly do during my yoga experiences. The Church of Yoga, opened earlier this year in the 7th ward, made me feel none of this during my first class.
The good vibes begin before even stepping foot in the building. The brightly painted fuchsia wall, adorned with paintings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Frida Kahlo, among others, immediately greets anyone who just drives down the street. The color and energy continues with each class. Held in the main room, classes are centered by the studio’s logo in neon lights, hung over the space’s original baptismal fountain from when, for decades, it was a Baptist church. Now, another type of worship, to the mind, body and soul, resides in the space.
Owner Dana Trixie Flynn is insistent on a community feeling filled with love, which is a feeling you pick up the second you meet her. Everyone is greeted by name when they enter the class, and attention is given to each as the instructors walk around to personally help each member. I started off a little shaky, since I have not taken a class in a few months, but I was immediately reassured by Flynn and co-instructor Jamo Mweo.
As the class continued, music from a local New Orleans musician filled the air, not the typical spa music I’ve heard in classes before. This fun and upbeat energy definitely took the pressure off of wanting to make sure I did every position and move perfectly. There was even a dance circle as the artist played “Iko Iko” for the group. In fact, each class is accompanied by live music from a multitude of local artists. It not only allows guests to experience the art of a local musician they may not have heard before, but it also puts a fun and relaxing feeling into the air.
Additionally, the sense of community and inclusion spills over into the price of the classes. The Church of Yoga is a non-profit and donation-based labor of love, where Flynn strongly believes that the students are more important than the money. Students can think of their donation as a way to pay it forward to the community, and those who may otherwise not be able to experience all the studio has to offer.
Though still in it’s infancy, the Church of Yoga is a promising new member of the community. Yoga is important to our lives and our health, with myriad studies being done and showing it’s ability to reduce stress, inflammation and even lower your blood pressure. With the many stressors 2017 has provided, I think it’s important we all take a trip to church.
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