One of my favorite things to do while traveling is find a yoga studio to check out while I am in town. Therefore, I am excited to start a series of blog posts about studios I have visited outside of my own yoga community. For the first edition, we can head somewhere a little warmer: NOLA!
My boyfriend and I love New Orleans and try to go once a year. During our most recent visit, I got a great recommendation from some awesome girls at a jewelry store in the French Quarter, and followed their advice to take the streetcar to Swan River Yoga's Midtown Mandir.
If you're visiting (or living in -- lucky you) New Orleans and want to check out Swan River, it's accessible via the streetcar at either the White or Salcedo stop. Here's a map showing the studio in relation to these stops. Street parking seemed plentiful, at least in the morning. If you are staying or living in the French Quarter, I would not recommend walking to the studio.
Classes can be booked via the MindBody app. Drop-ins cost $15 ($12 for students) and five- or ten-class cards can be purchased.
What Made It Special
The space is absolutely gorgeous: the outside is a lush garden with benches, trees, flowers, and prayer flags everywhere. Inside, it's an old library with plenty of open space and a super-inspiring fresco on the back wall depicting instruction and learning. Perfect, right? I was lucky enough to attend two morning practices at Swan River: one vinyasa class with Tim VanDerkamp, and a jivamukti practice with Keith Porteous. I did not get a chance to meet with founder Michelle Baker, but heard excellent things. It's clear that she is beloved by the community and has built something really special.
This was the first time I'd ever been to a studio that offered jivamukti practice. I was unfamiliar with it but decided to give it a shot, and I'm so happy I did. Jivamukti weaves together vinyasa, music, devotion and scripture around monthly themes. It's the perfect type of yoga to practice in NOLA, which is full of music, musicians, and music lovers. Based on the flyers posted at the reception area, Swan River had some really fun upcoming workshops and events with music.
Also worth mentioning is the Good Karma Prasad Cafe, which is attached, and has kombucha ON TAP. What's not to love?! I've noticed studio-cafe combos in other cities but not yet in Baltimore. Maybe it will catch on up here!
Why I'd Go Back
Both teachers I practiced with were fantastic, passionate, and approachable. I had an awesome conversation with Tim about teacher training and he gave me some wonderful advice. Keith's class was my first-ever jivamukti experience, which turned out to be a huge treat.
The studio itself was also a place I'd love to revisit - the gorgeous, inspiring, and love-filled altar was especially memorable.
Everyone I met at both the studio and at the cafe was so welcoming and genuine. I had a lot of nice conversations with greeters, teachers, and students and felt a beautiful sense of community similar to the one that I enjoy at Charm City Yoga Works at home.
What's your favorite city to vacation in? Any recommendations for yoga there? And if you've been to Swan RIver, what was your favorite class?