Our “Meet the Neighbors” series gives you a closer look at the people and businesses that make us proud to call downtown New Orleans home.
Jenn Rogers (pictured above in the main studio space) has been the General Manager of Reyn Studios for two years, where she teaches yoga with owner Reyn Lambert and her team, and manages the space. We were happy to sit down with Jenn to talk about the history of Reyn Studios and how she sees yoga and New Orleans growing together.
What’s the story behind Reyn Studios?
Reyn Studios has been around for almost three years. Reyn Lambert opened the studio — she comes from a New York City dancing background, and she came to pilates and yoga through that ballet training. When she moved back to New Orleans [from New York], this building was in her family and nothing much was being done with it, so she started teaching classes out of a dusty room. One day someone said, “You should probably do this for real,” so she started brainstorming and came up with Reyn Studios.
I’ve been with Reyn Studios for two years — I’m originally from Baton Rouge, moved to the West Coast for ten years and taught yoga out there, and then moved back to Louisiana because I heard that Southern siren call! I saw that New Orleans was ripe with yoga opportunity and I started coming to Reyn Studios to practice. I met Reyn and the team, we hit it off, and I started teaching and then managing the studio.
What’s your favorite thing about the neighborhood?
It’s not labeled. There can be certain stipulations to living in other neighborhoods, but downtown, we’re open for everything! We hit all markets, we’re centrally located, and it feels modern. There’s so much new blood being pumped into the city, and this neighborhood definitely reflects that. There’s just so much going on right now! The tech scene is a good example — leaving the state like I did ten years ago, I wouldn’t have expected to see that. I also wouldn’t have expected I would be able to come back and teach yoga.
What’s your favorite memory from Reyn Studios since you started?
The 108 Sun Salutations we did with Geoffrey Roniger, who’s a local, New Orleans yogi legend. He teaches and owns Freret Street Yoga. Last summer solstice we did a big Sun Salutation Mala, which means you do 108 Sun Salutations in a row. It was insane — the whole community came out, it was great.
What does yoga mean to you?
Literally, in the Sanskrit, “yoga” means “union.” We’re working together. And to me, yoga has so many different faces. It can mean the physical practice of it — it’s eased me as a runner, cyclist, kickboxer. But also, yoga for me means mental ease, spiritual ease, community ease — giving back to the community. It also means career to me. There’s a business side to it — not just teaching or guiding, but also managing a studio.
How do you see yoga growing or evolving in New Orleans?
I think it’s going to be even bigger than it is now. Pre-Katrina, there were only a handful of studios. Post-Katrina there are more than 20 in the city, and there are all styles. There’s no competition between studios either – we’re all in this movement together, meeting everyone’s needs in different ways, which is awesome.
How do you see the future of the neighborhood?
I think it’s going to grow right along with yoga. At least it better with all the construction! [laughs] All of these new industries coming in, it’s going to change the face of New Orleans in a good way. If you’ve lived in New Orleans long enough, you know it’s an unchangeable city in a lot of ways — I don’t think it will ever change its roots, but it’s going to come into itself. It’s going to grow.