LAUGHING LOTUS is a vibrant yoga center originating in New York City, with studios in Manhattan, Brooklyn, San Francisco and New Orleans. LOTUS FLOW is the energetic and uplifting vinyasa yoga style created by Laughing Lotus founders Dana Trixie Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi. For almost 20 years the "Lotus" has been hOMe to a diverse and creative community.
LAUGHING LOTUS YOGA: TRANSFORMATION THROUGH JOY
"We don't come to yoga to stay the same", the voice of Dana Trixie Flynn is vibrating through the "Dancehall" in Chelsea, NYC. We are around 60 yogis moving through her flow of warriors, wild things and paradise birds, set up as a fluid dance towards liberation: MOVE LIKE YOU, is the philosophy that Dana so wholeheartedly encourages. Danas classes are usually packed like a party, because this is what they are: A celebration of ecstatic movement and spiritual inspiration.
"You gotta make sure to become the person you wanna hang out with for the rest of your life. Are you that person yet?", Dana asks bursting into the laughter that is so typical for her: Wild and free. Her enthusiasm and love for life are contagious.
Dana Trixie Flynn and Jasmine Tarkeshi created their exuberant vinyasa yoga style in the 1990s. The yoga of the time, mainly dominated by male masters, felt rather rigid and somber to them. Dana, a former wallstreet broker, then restaurant-bar owner, MTV host and wild 1980's party girl and Jasmine, a beautiful ballet dancer: Together, the two creative yogis developed a kind of yoga, that was not only profound, but also light, playful and celebratory: Laughing Lotus. The Lotus Flower as symbol for transformation and purity, introduced by laughter. Growth, truth and beauty through JOY.
"When you enter the Lotus center, we are throwing a party for you" (Dana Trixie Flynn)
You can FEEL that uplifting VIBE pulsating in the air upon entering the Lotus studios. Like Dana says: "When you enter the Lotus temple, we are throwing a party for you. Not because it's your birthday, not because you achieved something special today, but just because YOU ARE HERE". She and Jasmine are gurus-to-touch: They welcome-hug or welcome-dance their students, who they consider family, spiritual sisters and brothers, spiritual lovers. Jaz-Ma, Dana-Ma (ma = mother) listen to the stories of their family and their yoga is a way of sharing their own story.
After almost 20 years, what started with summer yoga classes on the rooftop of a community center in the West Village (long before rooftop yoga was a 'thing'), has by now grown into four centers in NY, Brooklyn, San Francisco and since 2017 NOLA: The Church of Yoga, a non-profit yoga and community center in New Orleans. Dana's youngest Baby.
The LOTUS FLOW by LAUGHING LOTUS: TURN YOUR SPIRIT ON
What does JOY à la LOTUS FLOW look like? Instead of claiming one school to be the one and only true yoga, Dana and Jasmine integrate all the teachings that have been serving their own practice: The vinyasa krama (wise progression) by Sri Krichnamacharya, the founder of modern hatha yoga (physical practice). The flow and the challenging shapes from Ashtanga yoga. The alignment by Sri Iyengar. The wisdom of the energy body and the kriyas (cleansing exercises) from Kundalini yoga. Dharma talk (spiritual inspiration) and creative sequencing from Jivamukti Yoga. And music! By the Gods and Goddesses themselves: Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, Queen. Aretha Franklyn, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott. From Blues, Soul and Rock to Pop, Deep House and Hip Hop everything that touches the heart and vibrates through the veins.
Jasmine added systematic repetition to the practice, Dana loves to use momentum - an energetic mix that gives the Lotus Flow its typical fluid quality and "dancy" feeling. Also part of the intoxicating Lotus Flow: Mantras, mudras, poetry and basically everything that keeps the practice interesting and the spirit alive. "Spiritually turned on", as Dana likes to say. Their own creations of shapes have become the signature Lotus poses: Rainbow Warrior, Stargazer, Ganeshasana and many more. Today each Lotus Flow teacher brings to the mat what they love and what feeds their own enthusiasm, so the practice gets richer and richer.
So much play with creativity, inspiration and freedom needs a clear structure to hold it all together with intention and purpose: Each class is strictly aligned with the seven chakras, the energy centers of our subtle body. It is this mix of consistency and creativity, boundaries and freedom, devotion and joy, that makes the Lotus Flow such a powerful companion on the path towards living a life you truly love.
"You gotta make sure to become the person you wanna hang out with for the rest of your life. Are you that person yet?" (Dana Trixie Flynn)
That's why I am so grateful for this beautiful practice. As we are dancing with our difficulties on the mat and holding space for each other in the community, we come to realize: Everything we need is already there. All the beauty, all the strength, all the love is inside of us. HAPPINESS is accessible, at any given moment. We just forget. The practice helps us to remember. With each Downward Facing Dog a little more.
"NO MUD, NO MAGIC. STAY ON THE PATH"
So, the transformation we experience on the mat and eventually in life is not at all about becoming a different person or a better person. The healing shows when we start to feel so happy, that we can't hold up our resistance against loving ourselves. When we realize, that our muddy sides are part of the miracle that we are. That it is through the mud that we grow, just like that beautiful Lotus flower. That's when the MAGIC unfolds.
More about the Lotus Flow soon on my | blog
More about Dana Trixie Flynn in this video-interview, part of my interview-series for evidero, 2015
"MAGIC TAKES GUTS"