Owner’s Name: Mia Oramous
Location: 8422 Oak Street, New Orleans, LA 70118
With a name like Transform NOLA it would seem that you were on a mission when you decided to open your own studio and training center. How does the concept of transformation fit into the mission of your business? I don’t think I consciously had a mission in mind when I selected the name for the studio — transformation just seems to me like part of the natural process. But then, sure enough, it became my mission statement. Whether we like it or not, change is a constant in our lives. And when we choose to change ourselves, it is a transformative process — we gradually shed our old selves and become the person we are meant to be. I don’t think of myself as just helping my students and clients with their physical well-being, but also with their mental and spiritual development.
Transform NOLA is tucked away on Oak Street in a vaulted space with sunlight streaming through the ceiling. How do you feel the space affects students as they practice yoga? I see the students enter the space and become quieter, calmer. They seem to settle in and release all the burdens from “outside.” For one hour, it is easy for them to be there, in the present moment. I knew that the space was built specially for Alvina (a much loved yoga teacher who recently passed away), but I was told a few weeks ago that it was one of the first yoga studios in New Orleans. I think that energy is apparent and extremely supportive.
What brought you to yoga as a student and do you find that your yoga practice has changed since you became a certified yoga teacher and opened Transform NOLA? I was in a very dark place mentally and emotionally when I found yoga — I was post-partum and not what you would call a “happy” person by any means. When I found yoga, it was as if some deep part of me had come home and I knew, from the very beginning, that it was helping me. I became a yoga teacher in order to share that healing with other people with no real aspirations beyond that. Transform NOLA has just brought the focus to New Orleans, trying to return the generosity of spirit that this wonderful community possesses.
What do you hope students leave Transform NOLA with? Peace. The ability to stay calm in the midst of life’s storms…
You mention on the Transform NOLA website that you were always active growing up, but that you gained weight when you moved to New Orleans and were surrounded by the local cuisine. How do you feel living a balanced lifestyle in the New Orleans area is different from other urban areas of the country? Oh boy. It’s definitely a challenge but not impossible. I think the hardest thing is that nearly every get-together revolves around food and drink — and a lot of it. It might not be so difficult if the food was mediocre but it’s soooo good! NOLA is all about “living to eat” and not eating to live. I think a balance can be found between the two without feeling deprived or left out.
Do you have any tips for our readers to cultivate more balance in their lives? One day after school, I asked my son if he had had a good day or a bad day. He thought a moment and said, “I had a medium day, mommy.” What wisdom! What if we all strived for “medium” days and stopped thinking in extreme terms? Extreme like, “I tore my pants, my life is over!” or “I got a pat on the back from the boss — time to celebrate!” What if we just took things as they came without over-reacting? I’m not suggesting that we become unemotional or robotic — I’m just pointing out that reacting to the extreme can be a huge source of unhappiness. If we hit the roof when the toast is burned, how will react if the house burns down? Me, I’m going for medium…