In your ideal world, you’d wake up before your alarm, have a hot lemon water and take 10 solo minutes to sit with your thoughts and mentally map out your day. Best-intentioned, you’d clock a brisk walk to report to your fitness accountability friend, followed up by productive task-ticking, a food pyramid perfect day of eating and exchanges of meaningful human connectivity with co-workers and friend circles. For your grand finale you’d engage in a nightly ritual of self-care elixirs and fixers for an early bedtime in freshly laundered sheets cozied up with your gratitude journal.
You’re never too old for make-believe.
It takes but a ten minute too-long stay in your rumpled morning bed, mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed, an insistent child with a last minute “emergency,” or a pet who’s gone rogue in the neighbor’s garden to toss all of your best intentions into the trash bin. The full bin that you, of course, forgot to take to the curb the night prior.
Despite the inevitable roadblocks we all encounter all day every day, making self-care a priority is essential for our mental and physical health.
“Most women have a long list of things to do for their families, careers and friends and they put themselves at the bottom,” said Dr. Alisha Reed, the FLY pharmacist and self-care strategist (see also our Persona column for more on Dr. Reed.) “They come last, which often leaves them neglected. This leads to burnout and in some instances, health conditions. Self-care is healthcare. Not only is it important, it is necessary. We cannot be the best mom, spouse, or business owner if we are not feeling our best.”
She reminds that prioritizing wellness is key, not only for ourselves, but to benefit those closest in our lives. “Carving out time in our busy schedules allows us to rest and refocus. Even if it is for just 15 minutes, that dedicated time alone can alleviate stress and anxiety which improves our well-being. By doing this, it allows others to see the benefit of self-care and encourages (them) to do the same.”
Luckily the Crescent City is ripe with resources for maintaining a mind and body balance. From spa sessions, sound baths and infrared saunas to cleanses and cryotherapy, there are a multitude of opportunities to put your healthiest foot forward.
Perhaps the idea of sitting in stillness for even just a few moments each day sounds like a pleasant, but pie in the sky pipedream. Take a mental walk down a peaceful path and embrace the idea of learning to practice mindfulness to center yourself when you need it most.
Fire Flow Studio
Lower the lights, let go and flow with powerful sequences at this high energy studio. Infrared heat keeps the class at 95 degrees and compliments the Vinyasa-style sequencing to encourage an upped metabolic rate and increase circulation. Paired with energizing beats and dim lighting, expect a full body “build, burn and breathe” experience. 1036 Richard St., Fireflowstudio.com.
Quietly seek out your bliss in a room where crystals were blessed and embedded within the foundation. From 30 to 60-minute mid-day resets to free weekly community introductory to stillness classes, embrace the thoughtful space while surrounded with comforts like meditation cushions, back-supported meditation chairs and Himalayan singing bowls. 1772 Prytania St., Spyrecenter.com
Mid City Zen
MCZ’s intention is to offer the practice of Zen Buddhism through a thrice weekly meditation schedule – you’ll know it’s time to begin when the doan rings the bell three times – offered in person and via zoom. Add to it Sunday sessions of intro classes, chanting services, walking meditations and dharma talks. 623 N. Rendon St., Midcityzen.org.
Swan River Yoga Mid-City
Gong relaxation, sensory awareness and energizing sound baths are a few of the meditative offerings at the two-story studio. Engage in targeted meditations on topics like achieving true patience and virtual courses on the freedom of clear sight. 2940 Canal St., Swanriveryoga.com.
Meditate New Orleans
A blended practice of guided meditation is held twice a week at this Uptown respite, with an additional half-hour community meet up on Sundays where you’ll practice present moment awareness and what it means to sit in stillness. Private sessions on sound baths are also available. 1333 S. Carrollton Ave., Meditateneworleans.com.
Retreat & Repeat
There’s a new reason to visit pretty Prytania Street. Meet Spyre, a tranquil destination for holistic healing and inner wellness. Housed in a historic Norwegian seamen’s church building and grounds, behind the lovely wooden doors you’ll find therapeutic healing modalities ranging from Ayurveda to acupuncture, along with weekly yoga in the picturesque sanctuary called The Nave, Pilates, meditation and fitness sessions, an outdoor saltwater lap pool, hot and cold plunge tanks and sustenance from The Well Café, stocked with heart-healthy, locally sourced bites and sips. Spyre founder, Diana Fisher, aims to make it easy to curate your own self-care journey with mental, physical and nutritional focused offerings all in one inspired space. “We’re a place made by New Orleanians for New Orleanians, and our doors are open to anyone ready to take the first step to a healthier, more balanced lifestyle wherever you are on your wellness journey.” Memberships and day passes are available as well as open invitations to explore concepts like new moon soundbaths. “Above all,” said Fisher, “we’re here to lift you up and be a place where you can feed your mind, body and soul.” 1772 Prytania St., Spyrecenter.com.
A MEDITATIVE MOMENT
Three Q’s with New Orleans lawyer and Zen practitioner, Victoria J. Cvitanovic
What is the difference between guided meditation and Zen meditation? “The difference between meditation at a Zen temple (called zazen) and other kinds of meditation is that during a period of zazen, there are no visualizations or auditory guidance. You are instructed on how to sit and hold your body before zazen, but after that, you sit in silence and try to observe your breath. Guided meditation is very often about helping the practitioner rest, relax, and restore themselves in the moment that they are meditating. This is very important, and helps many people deal with stressful situations. Meditation at a Zen temple can be relaxing, but we meditate regardless of how it makes us feel in the moment. We strive to develop a sustained practice that helps us become more compassionate over time. Both practices are wonderful, and I encourage people to do both!”
Has there been an increased interest in meditation during the pandemic? “After the Delta strain caused a spike in COVID cases and then cases dropped off again, I saw a surge of interest in meditation both at Mid City Zen and among my friends and colleagues. I think Delta showed us that the unknowns of the first wave of COVID could happen again, and left people wanting a practice they could rely on to help them manage stress and fear.”
How is meditation a helpful coping mechanism in stressful times? “Meditation is not a magic bullet to solve your stress, but it is a useful tool. Taking a moment to breathe can calm you at the end of the day. Taking time to listen to your own mind can help you notice how you talk to yourself. You might recognize your part in making yourself upset—how many of us have had an argument with someone in our heads that never actually happened, but still made us feel like crap? How many of us say mean things to ourselves that no one else has said? That realization could help you disregard those thoughts and avoid being pulled into those patterns. Over time, you might even notice that your meditation practice gives you a moment between stimulus and reaction. Because you become used to looking at your mind and processing how you feel, you’re less likely to immediately respond to something upsetting or provoking. When life is hard, this moment becomes much more important. Finding a form of meditation that resonates with you and sticking to it can lead to lower stress now and less stressful moments in the future.”
A STRETCH IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
How flow can you go? Find out at the ample array of classes and practices that take you from sun salutations in City Park to balancing your chakras on a hotel rooftop.
Live Oak Yoga
Step into the serene studio space for classes ranging from gentle and restorative to powerful to suit every level. Offering a spectrum of times and types, explore options for outdoor vinyasa flows at Audubon Park and Bayou St. John, as well as online candlelight flows and on demand subscriptions. 6113 Oak St., Liveoakyoganola.com.
NOLA Yoga Loft
The welcoming boutique studio features several different styles of yoga at all levels including vinyasa flow and slower tempo yin, which is offered in-house or virtually. The addition of a “wellness room” has added in-house extras like reiki, life coaching, massage and acupuncture. 1115 St. Mary St., Nolayogaloft.com.
Free To Be Power Yoga
Store your iPhone in the lobby cubby and gear up for a sweaty or restorative session. Enjoy signature heated flows to playlists spanning from hip hop and indie to jazz and pop or ramp up with the “yod” class, a combo of yoga and HIIT. Explore on-demand options for at-home workouts. 725 Magazine St.; 2328 Metairie Rd., Freetobepoweryoga.com.
NOLA Vibe Yoga
Approachable yoga with personality plus vibes, these weekly community-oriented flow classes take place in spirited spots like beneath the Spanish moss lined Oak trees in City Park, at a 19th century decommissioned cathedral in the Marigny or poolside on pink astro-turf under a disco ball. Nolavibeyoga.com.
Magnolia Yoga Studio
The first Black owned yoga studio in Louisiana, this downtown sanctuary features beginner’s hot yoga classes, as well as vinyasa and yin, occasionally peppering in additional classes like afrobeat yoga bounce. Expand your practice with upcoming weekend wellness retreats like the “The Roundtrip: LA to L.A.” held in Los Angeles in June and the “The Royals” held in Egypt in November. 301 Basin St., Ste. 2, Magnoliayogastudio.com
Yoga at Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA
Steady your exalted warrior pose amongst the sculptures on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. Meet at the main entrance to the garden with yoga mat in hand for a full body flow. Tai-chi is offered afterward if you’d like to extend your zen. One Collins C. Diboll Circle, NOMA.org.
Rooftop Happy Hour Yoga Series at The Roosevelt Hotel
The sky is the limit for this mood-lifting session with a rooftop view. Featured through the month of May, book your spot for the ticketed hip-hop inspired yoga, Pilates and barre fusion class, then stick around after for cocktails, bites and a dip in the typically hotel guests-only pool. 130 Roosevelt Way, Footprintstofitness.com/sunset-soiree.
FITTING IN FITNESS
While some practically wake up with our running shoes tied or Pilates toe socks snuggly secured, others need a bit more motivation. When honing in on what style of workout best suits your personality and schedule, take these spots out for a spin.
MVMT – Romney
Touting nine boutique studios under one roof, this modern health and wellness center features a portfolio of workout classes that range from custom tailored Pilates sessions and energizing Lagree Fitness Megaformer classes to sculpting and trampoline cardio. 1320 Magazine St.; 5619 Magazine St., Romneystudios.com.
Shake, sweat, move and groove with mood-boosting classes like tempo dance cardio with easy to catch onto choreography and combination classes like HIIT and flow. Grab a superfood sip from the in-house Shake Shoppe to follow. 4537 Freret St., Nolabodyshoppe.com.
Sculpt New Orleans
Your tone away from home, this sleek studio is a place where you’ll be motivated to move from jumpboards and Pilates Reformers to TRX suspension trainer sessions, and then rebound with a trampoline class. 514 City Park Ave., Sculptneworleans.com.
Find out how much you can accomplish in 60 minutes flat. The fast paced, high intensity interval training classes combine treadmill cardio and strength/resistance training exercises to give you a full-body burn. Be ready to kick it into the highest gear the last few minutes of class and finish strong. 105 Focis St.; 118 Harrison Ave.; 821 Baronne St.; 5171 Citrus Blvd, Hourblast.com.
City Surf Fitness
Achieve your best beach body without stepping foot in the sand. Conditioning classes are positioned atop a stability surfboard designed to encourage concentrated balance and core strength to lead to a long and lean, ocean-ready physique. 5924 Magazine St., Citysurffitness.com.
The Barre Code
The self-love focused group fitness concept incorporates ballet barre work into each class, combined with cardio conditioning and strength moves for a balanced workout and a plethora of positive energy. Core strengthening and toning classes, as well as total body conditioning bootcamp-style workouts abound. 787 Harrison Ave., Thebarrecode.com.
Move Ya Brass
Weekly bounce classes and twerk classes at City Park and Crescent Park put a little pep in your step with these donation-based group fitness classes led by a krewe who knows how to light a fire under your feet. Tip: book a private session with the option to hire a live brass band. Moveyabrass.com.
Grace Pilates Studio
The focus of this small boutique studio is to shine a light on classical Pilates and yoga while in pursuit of stronger bodies and deeper connections. The space offers open-level mat classes as well as results-driven Reformer-based sessions. Now featuring live virtual flows and classes on demand. 4223 Magazine St., Choosegrace.org.
Now that you’re considering making green juice a part of your daily regimen, picture the benefits of greening other parts of your life. With the recent opening of the first brick and mortar location for FAIT | NOLA, formerly a roving mobile plant nursery, Laura Stirling Joffrion, co-founder and self-described “plantrepreneur,” attests to the mental benefits of surrounding yourself with living plants.
“Incorporating biophilia into your work or personal space is proven to lower your heart rate, relieving stress and anxiety,” Joffrion said. “Additionally, most of our tropical plants are known to purify the air making it easier to breathe, which also lowers your heart rate.”
With an in-house selection that includes assorted hanging ferns and tropical plants suited for well-lit windows and potted ferns that make ideal desk companions, Joffrion encourages the community to consider plants as a way to connect to a nature-focused mindset in daily life and inspires the need for personal self-care.
“Caring for your plants provides an opportunity for you to invest time in your space on a regular basis. When we tend closely to the environment around us, we become more deeply connected to the space. As living beings, plants thrive when we care for them. This becomes a symbiotic relationship of the space caring for you.” FAIT l NOLA 3822 Magazine St., Faitnola.com.
LIVE A LITTLE
Are you Cryo curious? Interested in bringing up Infrared at your next wine club? Open your mind to a revived overall wellness approach by giving these trending experiences a try.
Dry Float at Spyre
Weightlessness awaits. A zero-gravity experience, without direct water contact, is used to facilitate deep, regenerative relaxation. Step into the private suite and let the piped in ambient sound and softly colored lights take hold while you enjoy a gentle lumbar massage, along with a guided meditation and breathing exercises. 1772 Prytania St., Spyrecenter.com.
IV Therapy at IV Lounge Nola
Take a drip trip to this small French Quarter escape. Whether you’re suffering a seriously regrettable cocktail hangover and are in need of hydration STAT, or in the market for an immunity boost, the influx of vitamins will help bring life back to your mind, body and skin. 519 Wilkinson St., IVloungenola.com.
PEMF Pulse at Vibrant Market
Amp up your athletic performance with this pulsed electromagnetic field technology. Stimulate and restore your cells with a burst of energy when feeling muscle fatigue. 3811 Magazine St., Thevibrantmarket.com.
Infrared Sauna at Drop Sauna Nola
This is where you’ll get your brain’s natural “happy chemicals” (D.O.S.E.: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins) to kick in. Used routinely by regulars who incorporate the deep sweat of infrared into their fitness routine, you’ll enter a private zen wood sauna for 40 minutes to relax, watch Netflix, jam out to music or even lift light hand weights. Added bonus: a single session could burn 600 calories. 234 West Harrison Ave., Dropsauna.com.
Whole Body Cryotherapy at Nola Chill
After your sweaty jog at Audubon Park, chill-out with a whole-body cold therapy session. Take a deep breath before your entire body is immersed in a chamber cooled to below-freezing temperatures. Your 3 to 5 minute session will quickly stimulate your body, resulting in benefits like increased metabolism, reduced muscle soreness and reduced stress. 6045 Magazine St., Nolachll.com.
In search of a grin and tonic? Pop by these veggie and fruit forward sip spots where your daily recommended intake is served up with convenient simplicity.
Main Squeeze Juice Co.
Tip back 100% plant powered, cold-pressed juices containing 2-4 pounds of whole fruits and vegetables in each bottle. Cleanse options cater to experienced sippers as well as beginners with concepts like “juice ‘til dinner.” Shop 6-packs on hand as well juices and almond “mylks.” 820 Carondelet St., Mainstreetjuiceco.com.
The Antidote Juice
Letting the labels do the talking, know what you’re getting from the ingredients on every eco-conscious glass bottle of raw, organic, unpasteurized juice. Made in house, taste your way through the roots, greens and fruits menu, with options to add vegan snacks. 734 Union St., Theantidotejuice.com.
The Daily Beet
Reset your system or give yourself a bountiful boost with a selection of jarred cold pressed juices, packed with antioxidants and made with Louisiana-sourced citrus. Locals love the seasonal lemonades like the “Blue Majik” made with lemon juice, ginger juice, maple syrup, E3 live Blue Majik and chia. 1000 Girod St.; 3300 Magazine St., Thedailybeetnola.com.
Surrey’s Cafe and Juice Bar
Fresh squeezed juices are the name of the game with delicious simple singles like orange, carrot, grapefruit and with the option to blend your own concoction by adding beet or ginger. Prepare for temptation by way of the house-specialty shrimp and grits. 1418 Magazine St.; 4807 Magazine St., Surreysnola.com.
The Green Fork
With names like “compassion” and “wisdom”, the toxin-cleansing juices here promote feel-good vibes that last long after your finishing swig. Creative shots kicked up with ingredients like “fire cider” and “thieves oil” will pique your interest. Cleanses abound, including combination soup-based detoxes. 1400 Prytania St., Greenforknola.com.
The Big Squeezy
The high-energy locale boasts a variety of quick pick up, cold pressed juices with funky names like “24 Karrots” and “Root Awakening,” as well as $5 Friday deals for any juice on the menu. In addition, try a collection of cleansing waters, ranging from aloe to blue agave, to promote benefits like digestion and anti-inflammation. 303 St. Charles Ave., Bigsqueezyexpress.com.
A rainbow of 100% organic raw juices greet you as you enter the shop that practically bottles sunshine. Carrot, cold-brew and coconut water, as well as a cutely named “cocktail party” of 30 mini juices make this spot beloved. Snag grab-and-go, cold-pressed juice, cleanses, Keto Kits, immunity shots and Detox Packs. Weekly delivery service is available. 4528 Magazine St., Rawrepublicjuice.com.
Packing your powder room with products that promote renewal and wellness within a fingertip’s reach keeps your commitment to self-care top of mind. Turn to this mix of female-founded brands and businesses for upgrading your makeup bag, bath and beyond.
Recreational Use Black Pepper Bergamot Mineral Bath
Worthy of a tub ritual, let the 3-in-1 formula of skin-softening oils, muscle-soothing salts and bubbles soak the soreness out of tired muscles and achy joints. Shophealer.com.
OSEA Vagus Nerve Oil
Get straight to chill mode with this product named after the vagus nerve, which activates the body’s relaxation response and helps regulate stress. A soothing blend of essential oils calms make for a “serenity now” moment. Earthsaversonline.com
Quicksilver Scientific Dr. Shade’s Bitters No.9
A purse-perfect go-to fast-acting digestive and detox support. A mix of nine classic bitter herbs help stimulate GI harmony not long after the elixir hits the tongue. Thevibrantmarket.com.
DMK Beta Gel
Irritated skin, abrasions, premature aging, acne, rosacea, eczema/psoriasis – this product is an aid for all that ails ya. Goodfacenola.com.
Nightly Renewal Facial Serum
When the day is done, take a moment to apply this reparative serum to deeply restore the skin with powerful antioxidants. Rare blue tansy oil soothes the skin for time-efficient, luxurious overnight healing. Oxalisapothecary.com
Pear and Honey Sugar Scrub
Hand-blended white cane and brown sugar plus coconut oil make this small-batch sugar scrub practically good enough to eat. Use it as a full body exfoliant and sustainably repurpose the jar post slough. Novemberfields.com.
No. 47 Adzuki Bean Cleansing Grains with Botanicals of Rose Petals and Lavender
Organic and wildcrafted, this botanical cleanser and mask utilizes adzuki bean powder to gently exfoliate the skin, along with Moroccan clay, organic rose petals, and organic lavender to provide potent plant power. NMBotanical.com.
Wrinkles Schminkles InfuseFAST™ Décolletage Sheet Mask
An area not to be neglected, a hyaluronic acid infused sheet mask will hydrate, brighten and decrease cleavage wrinkles, décolletage wrinkles and crêpey skin. Aboutfacenola.com
A JEWEL BOX FOR SKINCARE INSPIRATION
Is your skincare routine in need of a refresh? Inspiration awaits just four floors up at The Spa at Windsor Court. The glittering in-house boutique, a product-lover’s sanctuary, features a curated selection of luxury labels, trending collections and tried and true favorites, hand-selected by spa manager Brennan Rosonet.
From her stylish office space, a jewel within a jewel box with its crystal light fixture and soothing clay-colored-sunset wall design, she dabs, blends, sprays, sniffs, applies and tries the concepts she thinks will most appeal to clients and boutique visitors.
“As in any routine, we can all get into a ‘slump,’ and adding a new and exciting product to your repertoire can bring back the magic,” said Rosonet, who has more than 10 years of experience as a licensed esthetician. “Whether it is a new serum, moisturizer, or skincare tool, it can revitalize your routine and make the process feel brand new all over again.”
With offerings ranging from Vintner’s Daughter botanical serum to classic Mason Pearson combs and soon a line of pre- and post-partum products for expecting moms, Rosonet encourages women to take the time to make self-care solutions a practiced priority.
“In a world that is ever changing, and sometimes overwhelming, I think that we are all united by a common need to put care back into ourselves,” Rosonet said. “As women, we are caretakers by nature, and can spread ourselves thin wanting to make sure everyone in our lives is taken care of. Taking time to prioritize that for ourselves is extremely necessary, from a mental and physical standpoint. You can’t pour from an empty cup!”
Often fielding queries for private shopping appointments and custom consultations, Rosonet encourages experimentation without intimidation.
“Don’t stress over what you think self care should look like, the beauty of it is that it is just as unique as you are. The only essential is that it is something that makes you feel like the best version of yourself.”
C’EST LA SPAHHHH
When was the last time you were properly pampered? Remind yourself of just how wonderful attentive, healing hands can be for alleviating stress, body rejuvenation and lifting your spirits.
The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans
Opening Spring 2022, the Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences will open the doors to its newest gem, a beauty atelier Spa. The moment you slipper step into the luxuriously sophisticated space, architectural in design with smooth curved lines and elements of raw white oak and gray travertine, you’ll feel instantly calm, as though you’ve hit a decadent delete button erasing all of your Crescent City-inspired, laissez les bon temps rouler escapades. After indulging in services showcasing French beauty lines like Biologique Recherche and silhouette redefining treatments like The Body Method, pause to partake in the state-of-the-art steam and sauna, then retreat to the relaxation lounge overlooking the Mississippi River for a sip of bubbly and savory nibbles. 2 Canal St., fourseasons.com/neworleans/spa.
The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans Spa
This divine destination has recently gotten a makeover by way of a refreshed new design that features a full renewal of the 22 treatment rooms, salon, and relaxation areas. Follow the sounds of the tranquil bubbling fountain for a seamless check. Follow the marble stairwell up to pristine spa space, then slip on a luxurious seersucker robe and, champagne flute in hand, lounge in the tranquil relaxation area amongst the billowy drapes and body embracing lounge chairs before slipping off your sandals to indulge in sublime services like a Mississippi mud detox or the détente à deux couples treatment. 921 Canal St., Ritzcarlton.com/neworleans.
The Waldorf Astoria Spa at The Roosevelt
Take a hiatus from the hustle of the city and unwind at this urban respite, where the dramatic mood lighting beckons all the way from the cozy relaxation area to the serenely silent body and facial treatment rooms – guests love to book the Hydra Facial – and the private couples’ therapy suite. Insider tip: consider becoming a member of The Spa Club, which gives you VIP access to exclusive treatments, the fitness center and the rooftop pool where the view is stunning and the pink “Frozavelt” drinks are but a sip away. 130 Roosevelt Way, Therooseveltneworleans.com.
The Woodhouse Day Spa
Sorting the spa services by category of mood – ranging from connected and calm to resilient and balanced – indulge in treatments that speak to the vibe you seek. With thoughtful details like inquiring about your robe and slipper size when booking your appointment to have ready upon your arrival, consider unique services like a sensory sea mineral enriched meditative mood soak which take place in a private tub room and facials that level up with enhancements like celluma blue and red LED light therapy to soften fine lines and wrinkles. 5004 W. Esplanade Ave.; 4030 Canal St., Locations.woodhousespas.com.
Botanical Nail and Skin Studio
Positive energy and botanical treatments are the signature of this intimate day spa studio, where healing herbs, sounds and scents soothe your senses from behind the darling pink door. With a full-service menu of manicures, pedicures, massage therapy, facials, sugaring, waxing, and body contouring, the carefully-crafted and customized results-driven treatments are enhanced by a line of products from the in-house skincare line, Natural Mixologist, created by the owner, using all-natural, organic and botanical ingredients. 541 S. Rendon St., Botanicalnailandskinstudio.com, Nmbotanical.com.
The Spa at Windsor Court
Approachable luxury, the divine is in the details at this downtown sanctuary. In addition to a boutique set of highly sensorial, hands-on body and facial services using top-tier collections from the likes of Augustinus Bader and Lord Jones, attentive moments abound from the luxe label skin products set atop the marble vanities to be used prior to your service, a steam room with invigorating Eucalyptus spray, a selection of hot tea waiting in the “whisper room”, and the addition of an infrared sauna for post treatment rejuvenation. Be on the lookout for a new and improved ‘mother to be’ service launching this month. 300 Gravier St., Windsorcourthotel.com.