by Precious Ephemera
When I first decided to move to New Orleans in 2013, I started looking at yoga studios for teaching opportunities. In Chicago, at times, I was teaching like 18 classes a week to make ends meet and I was burnt out. I wanted to just teach a couple classes to keep yoga as a part of my life. After a couple studios informed me that they only hire teachers through their own teacher training program (imagine paying upwards of 4k to get a despicably low paying job doing something you’ve done professionally for more than half a decade) I got a wonderful email from a studio owner who was interested in meeting me. She invited me to the studio to get to know her. This, to me, is how New Orleanians do it. They’re gonna feel you out.
Balance is a different kind of yoga studio than you find most places and Jessica is a different kind of studio owner. First of all, she’s completely sane (surprisingly hard to find) and it is evident upon meeting her that she’s someone who practices what she teaches. We don’t often meet people with her level of character and integrity. She wasn’t just offering me a job. She was offering me a place in a community of people who want to feel better and don’t want to subscribe to some Gweneth Paltrow inspired lifestyle with an impossible set of standards. Balance is a studio where normal people can learn and practice yoga without any of the social pressure or spiritual elitism you find in a west coast inspired studio.
It’s a fucking breath of fresh air, to be quite honest.
I’m proud that this is where I lay my mat down. I’m glad that our studio doesn’t hold classes for 50+ people at a time. I’m glad that when you get there on a Saturday someone is preparing an Ayurvedic meal after a workshop and it smells like a house full of people who are kind to one another and learn together. My relationship with her and Balance Yoga Wellness + Ayurveda is a cornerstone of my life in New Orleans and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her gentle encouragement and tempered support.
Since starting at the studio Jessica and her partner have welcomed a second child and we spent last year on campus together as she finished pre-med. She has a little window of downtime before med school kicks back up again and SHE’S TAKING CLIENTS! I tell you this because it is such a huge opportunity.
Jessica Blanchard is the example. You can’t say that you are too busy to take care of yourself. She has years of experience making time for yoga, nutrition and wellness AND the demands of being a business owner, a functional dietitian with a private practice all while raising two kids under 10. She’s just as intuitive as she is a scientist and she will make a terrific doctor.
If you find yourself grump and groggy all the time and you haven’t been able to figure out a plan, I can’t tell you enough how much working with a functional nutritionist can demystify the fog of concerns that overwhelm us at times.
When it comes to tackling wellness, there is no one more qualified to help you feel like yourself again. Come to our humble lil spot in Mid-City and take a gentle class, grab a coffee in the kitchen, take off your shoes and take a deep breath, she’s built a space where we can gather to get better, and she’s here to help. and she wants to meet you.
Here’s the page that tells you all about what she does. Check it out and if you happen to see her and her friendly family out and about – be sure to give her a high five from me.