Dana Trixie Flynn, founder of Laughing Lotus (a New York City-based yoga studio), will open the Church of Yoga Feb. 11 at the former Greater Good Shepherd Missionary Baptist Church. New Orleans blues legend Little Freddie King will be on hand to welcome the Church of Yoga (1480 N. Rocheblave St., 646-785-7220) to the neighborhood.
“It’s the home of the party and the prayer,” says Flynn.
The venue will host yoga classes for adults and kids, some accompanied by live music from local musicians.
Laughing Lotus’ proprietary yoga style, Lotus Flow, is high-energy enough to withstand brass band and zydeco music, but classic technique and music will be used too. Classes will be donation-based, but no one will be turned away because of inability to pay. Flynn wants to offer the neighborhood a space to come together, and to foster the community vibe that draws her to New Orleans after 25 years in the business.
The church is divided into two rooms: a Celebration Hall for classes and a Contemplation Hall for quiet meditation. The altar was removed and a modest stage constructed for musical acts and instructors to preside over their aspiring yogis. The church’s baptismal font will stay, with plans to create a fountain backlighted by a neon sign of hands clasped in prayer — the gesture that accompanies a yoga class’s final namaste. Flynn’s energy and brightness will be physically present in that fountain. “We will baptize people in the name of glitter,” she says. “There will be some kind of glitter in that fountain.”
Flynn is planning a walk-up kitchen space in the building’s rear, selling vegan preparations of local fare like red beans and rice, greens and beignets. “We’re going to sell coffees and juices too … It’s going to be a kind of coffee confessional,” she says.
Flynn and her fellow instructors hope to create a space that anchors the surrounding community, and residents seem eager to participate. She already has been approached by neighbors curious about the studio and yoga itself. When asked about the health benefits of yoga, Flynn has a thorough answer.
“Yes, you’re going to lose weight. But you’re also going to feel better — you’ll feel a beautiful presence in your life, more joy, more peace and less anxiety — a lot of the qualities that everybody needs to be happy. Working together, we’re spiritual forklifts for each other.”