Yoga Bywater was established in October of 2003 in the historic Bywater neighborhood in downtown New Orleans. Founding member Heide Grace returned to New Orleans in 2008 to re-open her Yoga studio.
Heide Grace is a certified Junior 2 Intermediate Iyengar Yoga Instructor and teaches in the Iyengar tradition. She has been teaching since the fall of 2002 and practicing since1998. She travels to India regularly to continue her education and study directly at the Iyengar Institute in Pune, as well as travel to the Himalayas to study meditation and yoga with Swami-ji Sundaranand. She also studies regularly with Senior Certified Iyengar Instructors Gabriella Giubilaro, Patricia Walden, Randy Just and Ramanand Patel.
The Iyengar method is based on the teachings of yoga master B.K.S. Iyengar, author of the classic yoga text "Light on Yoga". This method emphasizes correct alignment, strength, and flexibility. Often to achieve this we use props such as blankets, blocks, belts, chairs, and ropes. This is not a flow method of yoga. In Iyengar yoga we hold the poses for increasing lengths of time to develop strength and stability. We work on standing poses, seated poses, forward bending poses, twisting poses, back bending poses, and inversions. Emphasis on standing poses in the beginning helps to develop strength, stamina, concentration, and body alignment. As the practice progresses we start to work on more advanced poses, balancings, and inversions.
Bear Hebert -Bear Hebert teaches an integrative yoga class that flows with dynamic movement. Experiential and fun, these classes offer practitioners of all levels a chance to align with their breath and their own highest truths, both in the body and the spirit. Bear has been through hundreds of hours of training, and relishes the privilege of sharing the joy and mystery of practicing yoga.
Tracey Duncan- Tracey is an avid student and teacher. She studied massage at Educating Hands, Anthropology at Columbia University, Creative Writing at LSU, and has taken classes and workshops with swamis and yogis from the East Village to the Left Bank. Tracey has certifications from Satchidananda Ashram-Yogaville (Integral Yoga) and Swan River Yoga. She brings her diverse education into all her classes, and tries to make each class a journey that is equal parts spiritual, physical, and intellectual.
Lisa Dunn - Lisa has been practicing yoga for 20 years and is a licensed massage since 2005. She began her studies in yoga therapy and then went on to certify in Hatha yoga at Swan River Yoga . Since then she has studied with many teachers and taken many workshops and classes in various traditions. Lisa continues to expand her knowledge and is now working towards her certification in Iyengar Yoga under the mentorship of Heidi Grace and Randy Just.
Joanna Russo: Joanna has been teaching Kundalini Yoga and Meditation since 2011 when she completed her RYT certification at Divine Yoga. Her classes integrate full body stretching and strengthening, deep conscious breathing, and meditation. They are physically rigorous and spiritually grounding. In addition to a daily Kundalini practice, Joanna has completed training in Yoga Therapeutics and continues to study yoga in its many forms. She teaches public and private classes, and leads yoga sessions for elders at the Alzheimer's Care and Enrichment program.
Lisa Giordano: a life-long student of the body and mind. She was trained as a competitive figure skater from a very young age and there learned what a dramatic effect the mind, the breath and the most subtle movements, could have on her immediate reality. She began studying yoga in college to aid her transition off the ice and into the real world, on the recommendation of George Harrison. She is a dedicated practitioner and is grateful to Iyengar instructors Heide Grace and Jonathan Freilich and Ashtanga instructor Melissa Clark for continually helping her navigate and focus her studies. She had the rare opportunity to travel to India to study with Geeta Iyengar in December of 2014. Her classes emphasize how yoga fundamentals, awareness, adaptations, heat and hard work can bring about a lightness of being, both on and off the mat.
I.33 mairtri karuna mudita upeksanam sukha duhkha punya apunya
visayanam bhavanatah cittaprasadanam
through cultivation of friendliness, compassion, joy,
and indifference to pleasure and pain,
virtue and vice respectively,
the consciousness becomes favorably disposed,
serene and benevolent