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LiveWell: Mind & Body

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It’s Getting Hot in Here: A new, state-of-the-art yoga studio is a boon to New Orleans.

LiveWellMindandBodyJan2014You’ve probably heard of Bikram yoga. Developed by Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s, it’s a series of 26 postures and two breathing exercises performed in a hot room.

How hot, exactly? Bikram studios are heated to 105 degrees Fahrenheit. The idea is that the heat increases blood flow and flexibility in each posture, and detoxifies the body through sweat; it also helps students cultivate a mind-over-matter attitude that they can take with them after class.

The Bikram yoga posture sequence takes exactly 90 minutes, systematically opening and stretching the body’s major joints and muscles. The sequence pays particular emphasis to the spine, with the goal of lengthening and strengthening this core skeletal component.

Bikram Yoga Uptown New Orleans, which opened in November 2013, offers a 1,500-square-foot yoga room with precise, state-of-the-art temperature control. Along with showers, lockers, a retail area and monthly-unlimited class passes, the studio also offers a sleek, spacious lounge for talking with fellow yogis about favorite poses.

Yes, Bikram yoga can be grueling — but the payoff is flexibility, strength and a mood boost for the remaining 22.5 hours of your day. Don’t be afraid to get sweaty! bikramyogauptownneworleans.com

“Bikram yoga has the power to heal mind, body and spirit through the practice of calm breath, while holding stillness in a posture. Bikram yoga is for everybody, no matter your age or physical shape.” – Sarah Scharfenstein, co-owner, Bikram Yoga Uptown New Orleans

Soup with a Side of Service: This downtown lunch spot serves up good food and good deeds.
A project of local nonprofit Arc of Greater New Orleans, Vintage Garden Kitchen is a healthy-eating treasure to those in the know. Along with a pick-up-only location in Metairie, the soup kitchen runs a small takeout spot inside downtown New Orleans’ Place St. Charles. Here, those on the go can grab delicious, made-from-scratch soups, salads and wraps.

Nicole Blair, director of Arc Enterprises, which is a division of Arc, says that the idea behind Vintage Garden Kitchen and the nonprofit’s other projects is to offer employment to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Blair stresses that terminology is paramount when speaking about disability, since words can too easily define or limit a person. “It’s never a ‘disabled person’ — it’s always a ‘person with an intellectual disability,’” she explains. Vintage Garden Kitchen currently employs seven people with intellectual disabilities, all of whom earn minimum wage or more.

Executive Chef Leo Tandecki joined Vintage Garden Kitchen about eight months after the operation began in 2007. Along with overseeing the kitchen staff, he creates most of the restaurant’s nourishing recipes. Many Vintage Garden Kitchen soups are dairy- and gluten-free, and the restaurant offers a bevy of vegan and vegetarian options. Some ingredients are local, sourced directly from the Vintage Garden Farm in Metairie. “It’s important for us to always be thinking of ways to make sure that we’re keeping it healthy,” Blair says. vintagegardenkitchen.org

 

Wheels for All: A volunteer-run organization wants everyone to have a bike.
Plan B: The New Orleans Community Bike Project promotes local bicycle use and bicyclist awareness. Plan B offers build-a-bike workshops, where participants can create a bike in three classes during a four-day span, and an open workspace — including tools and instruction — for beginning to advanced bicyclists to work on their bikes.

Plan B cultivates an environment of trust and acceptance, first by offering bike-related resources to anyone who needs them, and second by hosting a gay/transgender/ladies-only shop night twice per month.

The organization stands firmly in its belief that “having access to information and the equipment necessary for maintaining one’s own vehicle should be available in a community space.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. bikeproject.org