YOGA LAGNIAPPE goes directly to the source, studio owners, just for you. We help you get a feel for studios in your area by interviewing their owners. YOGA LAGNIAPPE is not a listing service. We value our credibility and strive to maintain a strong relationship with the local yoga communities we serve. Yoga studios and […]
YOGA LAGNIAPPE goes directly to the source, studio owners, just for you. We help you get a feel for studios in your area by interviewing their owners. YOGA LAGNIAPPE is not a listing service. We value our credibility and strive to maintain a strong relationship with the local yoga communities we serve. Yoga studios and teachers do not pay to be listed or interviewed. We do this to provide our community with the most impartial and useful information possible.
The Pilates & Yoga Loft
617 Metairie Road
Metairie, Louisiana 70005
Owner & Interviewee: Andree Khalaf
Interviewer: S. Brooke Bailey
The Pilates Loft opened in November of 2009 as a Classical Pilates studio offering private Pilates sessions and group Pilates mat classes. As the owner, Andree Khalaf, furthered her wellness studies she began to realize that Pilates was just one piece of the puzzle of wellness. In the past six years the studio has grown in size and focus, having recently added a full yoga studio, and updated their name to The Pilates & Yoga Loft. Andree practices Pilates and yoga a few times per week to keep her own chronic back and hip issues to a minimum. She believes that most exercise forms push clients to see changes only in their external physique. At The Pilates & Yoga Loft the focus is on internal changes, both physical and mental, utilizing breath as a major factor in the mind-body connection.
AK: I want the studio to be an educational resource to the community, a community center in which we collaborate with other healthcare professionals to give clients alternatives in health care. With the increase in stress related illnesses, autoimmune diseases and the rise is cancer, yoga was a natural compliment to Pilates. The benefits and lifestyle changes that we have seen in clients and ourselves are life changing. The meditation and dharma talks before, during and at the end of our classes set clients up for success in their lives.
BB: The Pilates & Yoga Loft places an emphasis on the healing aspects of movement. How does this influence the studio atmosphere?
AK: Our mission is changing the lives of those we touch one movement and one breath at a time through Classical Pilates and authentic yoga. All of the instructors understand and believe that change happens from the inside out and that change is gradual. The atmosphere is one of encouragement, empowerment and giving of oneself in order to receive.
BB: Your instructors have a wide range of yoga study. Classes emphasize pace and energy (i.e. Power Flow and Restorative Yoga) over a specific style of yoga. How does this benefit your clients, especially those new to yoga?
AK: All of our yoga classes are considered open. Instructors focus on alignment and modifications, allowing both beginner students and advanced students a safe, effective workout. Our focus is on the intention of the movement, not on perfection. The true mind-body connection. Our classes are small and personal with a focus on quality.
AK: Vbarre is a workout designed to tone, trim and transform the body with a fusion of ballet, Pilates and resistance training. With our $99 unlimited package, clients do mix classes giving them variety and a chance to experience all that we offer.
BB: What do you hope your clients gain each time they attend a group class or private session at The Pilates & Yoga Loft?
AK: It is our hope that each client feels welcome and at home and will want to join the community of amazing people that are available to them as resources and friends. It is our hope that each client learns something valuable at each lesson to take away with them that helps them improve their mental and physical well being. We strive to make an impact on the way they feel before, during and after class. We give them 100% of ourselves so that they leave thanking themselves for doing what their body needs.
BB: Tell us a little more about your party this Friday, Nov. 6th.
AK: The six year anniversary and expansion party is a two fold celebration. First, we want to thank our clients for supporting us for six years through growth and expansion, and celebrate the community of people that have changed our lives. Second, we are opening the studio to new clients to see the space and let them know that we are an educational resource to the community. We would love to have Yoga Lagniappe readers join us from 7-9pm this Friday. We’ll have a little lagniappe too…enjoy 10% off of 10 Class Packages during the party and enter the raffle contest to win prizes!
Nola Yoga Loft provides a unique space for people to heal, transform and come together. The studio caters to all practitioners with five different styles of yoga. Reiki sessions, classes and yoga combos are also offered, with plans to add other healing modalities in the near future. Nola Yoga Loft wants to help establish better and more frequent human connections and a stronger sense of community through pop-ups, screenings, art classes, cooking classes and more. The Loft is a space for people to connect, share, heal, de-stress and learn from one another. It’s about community and it’s about love – love for life and love for each other.
Tara Loftis, studio owner and founder, grew up in Arkansas, travelled the world, studied yoga in India, taught in Australia and finally landed in New Orleans, where her family now lives. For her, opening a yoga studio always felt like a dream that might not ever happen, until her life path decided differently. When asked why she chose New Orleans to open a studio, Tara said, “I didn’t. New Orleans chose me.”
TL: Swan River Yoga used to have a studio one block away from our location, and when it left the Lower Garden District, there was definitely a void. When I returned from my travels in 2013, I started teaching classes in various homes around the neighborhood. This helped me build a clientele, and also made me realize that this area needed its own studio again. Sure enough, a year and half later, this project just sort of fell into my lap. I was laid off from my job with American Express Global Business Travel and had no idea what I was going to do. Although I had a long-term goal of opening my own business (which I thought would be years from now and in the Caribbean), I certainly didn’t think my next step would be to open a yoga studio. In fact, my initial reaction was to sell everything I owned and move to India, but I guess the universe had other plans for me. I was helping my mother in real estate one day, and we came across the space. She suggested I open a studio here, and I told her she was crazy. Eventually though, her words kept playing back in my head, as did the vision of yoga classes in this gorgeous space, and I found myself listening to her for once. I started to think of other ideas for the space as well, and within a month, this lovely place came to fruition.
BB: Nola Yoga Loft offers classes in Ashtanga, Dynamic Flow, Sri Kali Tantra, Yin, and Vinyasa yoga. Each of these yoga styles tends to emphasis fluid movement in and out of postures. Is it safe to say that new students can expect to feel physically challenged by your classes?
TL: Actually, both our Tantra and our Yin classes are restorative in style. Plus our Dyanamic Flow classes are about 70% movement and 30% stillness, so they’re not necessarily super physical. Vinyasa classes are more active and provide a bit more of a physical challenge, but we do offer gentler Vinyasa classes as well. Ashtanga is probably the most physically challenging. However, we welcome all levels of students to all classes and provide modifications if necessary, so new students should definitely not feel intimidated by any of them.
BB: You have personally studied many different types of yoga and are also a Reiki practitioner. How has this variety of disciplines influenced the mission of Nola Yoga Loft?
TL: Part of the mission of Nola Yoga Loft is to provide a place of healing for the New Orleans community. I think everyone, no matter how inflexible or out of shape they think they are, can benefit from the healing aspects of yoga – both physically and mentally. In fact, I purposefully have taken three yoga teacher training courses, because I wanted to be able to tailor my classes and teachings so that I may offer this practice to everyone who seeks it.
Obviously, Reiki (a Japanese healing art) plays a big part of that mission as well. The Loft works closely with The Reiki Center of New Orleans and often hosts Reiki groups and classes to provide healing of a different sort. Eventually, I plan to offer massage, acupuncture and other types of energy work here as well.
BB: Students are sharing photos of your space on social media. The vibe seems to be cozy and eclectic. With future plans for movie nights and other events, what type of atmosphere are you hoping to offer the community?
TL: I think I have created a space that is welcoming above all else. I want people to feel at ease and at home here. One of the great things I’ve seen developing, especially with the weekly Vinyasa and Vino class, is a real sense of community among the students, which has been a lot of fun to experience. As human beings we crave interaction with others, it’s just a part of who we are. It’s also healthy for us. The studio space is cozy, and thus it’s a more interactive/intimate experience than some of the larger studios at which I’ve practiced. I always make it a point to introduce people to each other, especially new students.
With all of the other events we plan to offer, the hope is to provide a variety of ways for people to engage in social exchange and connection and in an atmosphere where people feel comfortable coming for whatever it is they need – healing, exercise, self expression, community, new friends, good food and drinks, time away from the chaos of everyday life, etc.
BB: What do you hope students take away from practicing at your studio?
TL: That’s a really tough question, and I don’t think I have a blanket response. Everyone comes to yoga for different reasons, so I hope each one of them takes away what it is he or she needs… A good stretch. A workout. Time away from the chaos. More strength. Stillness. More self love. More inner peace. A better ability to navigate through life’s potholes. Physical, mental, spiritual healing. Less stress. A sense of community. A sense of feeling like they are a part of a bigger picture… whatever it is they need to live a better, healthier and happier life – that’s what I hope to provide.
BB: Having traveled, lived and studied yoga around the world, what do you feel makes the New Orleans yoga community unique?
TL: What doesn’t make New Orleans unique?! This city is just one beautiful expression after another and it grabs a hold of every excuse possible to celebrate life. In this way, it mirrors much of what I have learned through yoga.
BB: Do you have any lagniappe to offer YL readers who are interesting in trying Nola Yoga Loft?
TL: Sure! Mention this interview and get your first class for $10.00.
5228 Magazine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
Owner and Interviewee: Genevieve J. Douglass
Interviewer: S. Brooke Bailey
KINDRED is a lifestyle studio that focuses on fitness and wellness in an upscale boutique environment, for both parent and baby, from prenatal to postpartum phases of parenthood. The studio offers fitness, a padded Romp Room for play, shopping (with pop-up shops by Baby Bump Maternity & Children’s and Zuka Baby) and juice/coffee bar featuring fresh cold-pressed juices and coffee from The Pressery. KINDRED specializes in prenatal, parent+baby and parent+tot yoga, barre, ballet and indoor cycling classes as well as in-house resource workshops and support groups.
BB: Finally, there is a place in New Orleans that allows parents to get fit with their youngsters! Why did you decide to open a studio with this emphasis? Was it based on your own experience as a parent or on a need that you saw in the community?
GD: It was both really. As a busy, new mom living in the Uptown area of New Orleans and trying to adjust to my new life as a parent and young professional, I was trying to continue my pre-baby life as much as possible while incorporating my daughter into it. An active lifestyle, most specifically yoga, was a big part of my life and I wanted to attend mommy/baby yoga classes with my daughter. It was a great opportunity for me to 1.) get out of the house with a 2+ month old, 2.) get back on my mat and try to rejuvenate my yoga practice, 3.) meet other young moms (and babies) in the community, 4.) stretch my tired and achy body, 5.) help restore my energy levels and 6.) spend some fun, interactive time bonding with my baby, while doing something good for myself.
I also saw a demand from other moms looking for interactive activities or options that fit a working parents’ schedule. I thought to myself, why isn’t there a common space that is modern and appealing that caters to both working parents and those with a more flexible schedule? Also, as a working parent, any free time I have I want to spend with my daughter. I would feel guilty spending time working out when I could spend that time with her. This concept allows parents to do something for themselves while spending time with their little ones.
BB: KINDRED seems to cater to expectant mothers and parents of children 3 and under, is that correct?
GD: Yes, we host prenatal yoga, barre, ballet and indoor cycling as well as some doula-led workshops that cater to expectant mothers. The studio is also best suited for wee little ones! So 2-18 months is probably the most ideal age for our space, since it is a small boutique, but our Romp Room is perfect for those babies just starting to be mobile and they will also tolerate our cycling bike seats best. But we definitely love our toddlers as well and they have fun running around while their parent takes a class.
BB: KINDRED Studios offers clients much more than just yoga and fitness classes. You combine fitness with play, nutrition/wellness and retail offerings. Give our readers some insight into KINDRED’s lifestyle brand and mission.
GD: Yes, so aside from our fitness classes, we have a padded Romp Room for play that our members can pop into any time or host a play date. We are also starting to offer workshops and support groups that cover wellness topics such as preparing for labor, nutrition, breastfeeding and postpartum support.
While in the studio, clients can sip flavored water or grab a fresh, cold-pressed juice or coffee from The Pressery while they shop Zuka Baby and Baby Bump Maternity & Children’s pop-up shops. We also have a ‘nursing nook’ and fully stocked diaper changing station, so if you forgot your diaper bag we’ve got you covered!
BB: You offer clients a wide variety of class options from yoga, ballet, barre, and indoor cycling to stroller bootcamp. Aside from having kids in some of these, what distinguishes KINDRED classes from those that you might find at a gym or yoga studio?
GD: Well, as a female, I think the best part about our fitness classes is that they focus on your pregnant, post-partum, nursing, child-carrying body and strengthening those areas that might have gotten soft or that you need to be strong to aid in your parenting duties. I also adore the styles/combinations of fitness classes we offer. You aren’t seeing babywearing ballet or barre being done in many places other than KINDRED. Also, our ballet, contemporary and hip hop classes allow those that miss their dancing years to get back into it and add fun to their workout routine. It’s great to be able to have access to these options all under one membership.
BB: What do you hope KINDRED parents take away from a visit to your studio?
GD: That’s a great question! I truly hope our parents enjoy our studio and see the value in it. I hope our clients feel like they can come by every day to either take a class, or drop in to play, grab a sippy cup and a gift or to let baby crawl around while they grab a coffee/juice and tap into our free wifi to take care of a few work emails. And even take advantage of our wellness options and meet and foster relationships with other parents. I want them to feel like they are part of a community of young families.
BB: Do you have any lagniappe to offer YL readers who are interesting in trying KINDRED?
GD: Yes! Yoga Lagniappe readers get 10% OFF all “GET FIT” and “PLAY” memberships with promo code “Lagniappe10” or mention you saw the article when you walk-in and we’ll honor the deal in the studio. Plus we have a Father’s Day Deal from Thursday, June 18 through Sunday, June 21: 15% off with promo code DAD15.