A Yogi’s Guide to New Orleans
Mardi Gras is upon us! It is a truly a magical time to visit (and live in) New Orleans. This year the city is celebrating it’s 300th birthday- that is three centuries of free spirits getting down, throwing beads and making music on Frenchman street.
In celebration of Mardi Gras, we’ve put together an homage to the incredible southern city of New Orleans that is a little different that most city guides you’ll find. This city guide is dedicated to all the yogis who may find themselves in New Orleans at any time of year. There is no doubt that New Orleans is brimming with magic worth experiencing away from the hustle & bustle of Bourbon Street – if you are willing to explore.
Before I get started with my recommendations, I must confess that New Orleans has always had a special place in my heart. We recently visited New Orleans to check out the yoga scene and we were not disappointed by the variety, quality of teaching and openness of the kind souls who crossed our path. This list is just the tip of the iceburg and we already have a return trip in the works. So let us know what we missed so we can check it out next time we make it down to the big easy.
10 Spots In New Orleans Dirty South Yogi’s Should Check Out (in no particular order):
10. Rayn Studios: Rayn Studios was our first yoga stop after getting off the plane. So we were eager to relax and restore with with Lindsey in the beautiful string-lit studio space. I’m a huge sucker for beautiful spaces so I was won over by the inviting ambiance, the restorative assists and also shout out to Piper who makes the best recommendations for post yoga fuel! Even though we checked out an awesome restorative class Rayn is know for hot & power classes as well. Next trip, we’ll be sure to get sweaty with these yogi’s.
9. Magazine Street: Everyone has heard of Bourbon Street and Frenchman Street. Each is famous in it’s own right. But I have to say another hidden gem with great shops, food, and YOGA is Magazine Street. During parade season you can definitely catch a parade making it’s way down the street & the St. Patricks Day Parade uses Magazine Street as the main thoroughfare. But parade season or not, you’ll easily make new friends, check out the classic new orleans architecture and grab some great food on your next stroll.
8. Nola Yoga Loft: While strolling along Magazine Street make sure to stop in to Nola Yoga Loft for this welcoming neighborhood studio. This loft space gives the studio a home practice + community vibe. If you are in town on Tuesday nights, be sure to stop by the Tuesday evening class for Vino Vinyasa. A yoga class followed by time to mingle with other yogis over wine- if you are lucky you may also catch the once a month community style potluck dinner. This community vibe makes it super easy to make new yogi friends.
7. Seed: Vegans- fear not! NOLA’s got you covered. Just a block away from Magazine Street Seed has all the veggies and New Orlean’s style vegan fare (including beignets). Even the vegan-curious crowd will be sure to walk away with a full belly.
6. Magnolia: The vibe in Magnolia Yoga is refreshing and unique with southern magnolia murals and Nelson Mandela quotes on the walls the inspiration here is Southern and soulful. Catch Music Mondays with studio owner Ajax for a music + yoga combo that you’ll want to move to.
5.City Park: City Park is a big enough draw on it’s own but you’ll find a number of gems hidden in the City Park limits that will sweeten the visit even more. First, don’t miss the Singing Oak a beautiful tree adorned with wind chimes set to a pentatonic scale (don’t worry I didn’t know what that meant either)- it’s a five note scale. The installation was designed by artist Jim Hart and makes for a great spot to meditate, read, or fall asleep if you are bold. You’ll also find the New Orleans Museum of Art which has an indoor and outdoor exhibition with mind blowing pieces like the Karma sculpture by Korean artist Do Ho Suh mixed in with giant sculptures of Mardi Gras beads hanging from the Southern live oaks.
4. Church of Yoga: This studio is a new addition to NOLA with bright colors, glitter and neon lights. This studio also provides free and donation-based classes attracting free spirited yogis with its signature Laughing Lotus inspired flow classes.
3. Pontchartrain Hotel: Wether you decide to stay at this dreamy old school meets new school hotel or just stop by for a food and a cocktail you cannot miss this opportunity to pay homage to the portrait of Lil Wayne by Louisiana artist Ashley Longshore. While you are in make sure to take the elevator up to the top floor to catch some great New Orleans skyline views.
2. Sunrise Yoga by Nola Yoga Tribe: We didn’t get to catch this in the colder winter months but it sounds like the perfect way to start the day anytime after March 1. Nola Yoga Tribe also offers a variety of yoga pop-ups year round as well as private events if you are coming down with a group. Be sure to visit their website to see what they’ve got going on when you are in town.
1. The Tree of Life: The Tree of Life is off the beaten path found in Audubon Park is definitely worth a picnic in the park. Officially called the Étienne de Boray Oak ,this 100-500 year old tree would take anywhere between 5-10 tree huggers to give it a proper embrace. The southern roots & low hanging limbs make it great for climbing or just daydreaming. It might even be worth leaving a small offering of gratitude to live on for years to come. Pro tip: about 200 yards away you’ll find a sweet little labrynth to walk before wishing this special city.
All in all, NOLA you captured our heart with your hometown love. Next trip we will be hitting up Swan River Yoga and Wild Lotus Yoga… but just as with all things Dirty South Yoga Fest related we want to hear from you! Tell us your best recommendations so we can check them out: yoga, art, music, tarot, magic… we are open to all suggestions. Let us know!