Church of Yoga
Years ago, an unassuming brick building on the corner of N. Rocheblave and Columbus streets functioned as a chandelier shop. Then, for 28 years it was the neighborhood’s Baptist church — barely noticed except on Sundays.
With an explosion of color, energy and enlightenment, its current incarnation as the Church of Yoga is hidden from no one. Dana Trixie Flynn’s non-profit business is bubbling with life in this 7th Ward neighborhood.
“It’s a neighborhood space where people can come together, and we want to foster a community vibe here,” she said. “So far, besides our yoga classes, we’ve held swing dances, baby showers and memorials and we’ve even taught African dance.”
Yoga is Flynn’s life work; she’s been doing it for almost 30 years and owns the successful Laughing Lotus Yoga centers in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Flynn teaches Vinyasa yoga, which is also called flow, in reference to the continuous movement from one posture to the next.
“It’s more than physical, it’s spiritual movement,” she said.
Flynn feels a deep connection to New Orleans; it’s always felt like home to her. She visited often during the past 25 years until one day she decided to change her status from visitor to resident and began looking for a shotgun to call her own. While meandering the streets on bike, however, another kind building captured her heart and spirit.
“This church just found me,” said Flynn.
Katrina had hit the 3,000-square-foot building hard but the critical damage was due to termites. It needed to be completely gutted. Renovation was extensive with a price tag of more than $120,000. The effort resulted in a beautiful space for yoga, meditation and celebration.
The church is divided into two rooms: a Contemplation Hall for meditation and a Celebration Hall for classes. The church’s baptismal font stayed and now is backlit by a colorful neon sign of hands clasped in prayer. There’s still work to be done with plans to add a small café/coffee house in the near future.
“We’re going to sell vegan preparations of New Orleans food,” she said “And, of course coffee — it’s going to be a kind of coffee confessional.”
Flynn knows that her business is in its infancy but it’s continuing to grow. She’s reaching out to the community and offers classes to such organizations as Project Lazarus and Project Peaceful Warriors.
“Sometimes our classes have only two or three students but we keep growing and we keep adding classes,” she said. “It’s building slowly but steadily and it will become what it’s meant to become.”
Classes are donation-based, and no one is turned away because of inability to pay. Her theory is that you take a class and then you pay so the next person can take a class.
Flynn is dedicated to honoring the culture of New Orleans at The Church of Yoga, as local musicians play live at many of the classes she offers. She even built a stage for musicians. Little Freddie King kicked off her opening earlier this year.
“There’s an unstoppable spirit in New Orleans,” she said. “There’s a freedom in the moment here much like what you experience in yoga. The Church of Yoga is a place to be uplifted, a place to plug into your own spirituality whatever it is.”
Church of Yoga
1480 North Rocheblave Street