Grow Dat Youth Farm to host yoga instructor’s website launch party
Yoga instructor Valerie McMillian will throw a launch party at Grow Dat Youth Farm for her website The Ohm Well, which will share McMillian’s plans to open a permanent studio located in Gentilly and information about her currently offered classes and health services.
The Ohm Well website launch party is taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grow Dat Youth Farm, located in City Park at 150 Zachary Taylor Drive. Vegan cuisine will be offered by Al Tee of Brown Girl Kitchen.
McMillian is a University of New Orleans graduate in urban planning and New Orleans native that has practiced yoga since 2007. She started practicing full time in 2011, when she started to attend Life Yoga uptown on Magazine Street. The instructor opened her own mobile yoga studio in March 2015 and currently teaches about 10 hours of yoga per week, not including private classes.
McMillian said that when she first started as a yoga instructor in 2014, her first goal was to reach out to black women, her target demographic because her mother died from heart disease, and McMillian herself was previously overweight. But she said inviting students to the Life Yoga Studio wasn’t enough.
“They wouldn’t necessary feel comfortable in the space because everyone else didn’t’ look like them,” McMillian said.” There were more thin bodies, more white bodies. They didn’t really feel like this was their own space.”
McMillian explained that as soon as she started teaching, she kept getting asked to come to New Orleans East or Gentilly t0 share her services. She started that through teaching weekly yoga classes to support people of color with Black and Brown Bodies in Motion, a collaboration with McMillan and Wildseeds: The New Orleans Octavia Butler Emergent Strategy Collective, feminist-of-color collective.
“They gave me the invitation to do a class specifically for people of color, and then I just evolved it into what it is now.”
The classes take place every Sunday at Dancing Grounds, located at 3705 Saint Claude Avenue every Sunday from 5 to 6:15 p.m.
McMillian said that now she would love to be part of the Mid-City and Gentilly communities. Her ideal area for the permanent studio would be off of Gentilly Boulevard and close to the bike trail on Broad St., having accessibility to the most amount of people.
Because McMillian previously participated in teaching at a yoga series held by Grow Dat and then some of the employees later attended McMillian’s classes, she reached out and connected with the organization for hosting her website launch party. McMillian said she also admires Grow Dat’s values of healthy eating and sustainability.
“I love that community over there.”
The launch party will feature live music, raffles and also a preview for a documentary about the students participating in classes with Black and Brown Bodies in Motion.
“You’ll have a chance to look at Ohm Well apparel or yoga packages and really learn about what The Ohm Well has to offer in the New Orleans community.”