She’s an internationally acclaimed yoga teacher who gracefully slides into poses — all of the items from extremely efficient warriors to impossibly versatile forward-folds. But the first time Dana Trixie Flynn took a yoga class, she hated it.
“I was like, ‘I can’t do this, I’m not flexible,’ ” she remembers, dismissing yoga — nonetheless a relatively obscure New Age apply in late ’80s New York — as insurmountably uninteresting.
But the dynamic, carefully tattooed yoga guru is grateful she gave it one different shot. This 12 months, Flynn’s Manhattan-based, rock and roll-inflected studio chain, Laughing Lotus, turns 20, making her an elder statesman inside the ultra-competitive, and ever-evolving, world of boutique well being.
“We encourage people to let their hair down,” says Lotus teacher Phillip Pettiford, 30, who works on the Chelsea studio, which choices good, graffiti-splashed partitions and a bumping dance-party soundtrack. “Fitness and yoga can be really strict and serious, and we’re like, ‘Let’s have fun with it, let’s laugh, it’s ok if you don’t get it right.’ ”
The good-time vibes are by design, says Flynn, 57.
Back when she took that first dud of a class, Flynn was working a clubby Hell’s Kitchen restaurant referred to as Trixie’s, which attracted all methodology of misfits. Flynn aka Trixie was the ringleader, coaxing the nightly crowd of aspiring performers, Garment District dandies and decked-out drag queens onto the zig-zag tiled dance floor.
But nightlife started taking a toll on the Cornell grad and Scarsdale native, who opened Trixie’s on New Year’s Eve in 1987, on the age of 25, with a nest egg she had saved up working for 3 years as a stockbroker.
“I was like, ‘I’m really successful, but if I were really successful, I’d be happy,’ ” says Flynn, explaining that her wild alter-ego was drawn out by alcohol.
“I love the feeling of coming together and connecting, but [at the time], there was no way I was connecting without a drink in my hand.”
Flynn stopped ingesting — she nonetheless attends AA conferences, she says — and went vegetarian. Five years after opening Trixie’s, she closed up retailer and was drawn once more to the yoga mat, lastly teaching to be a teacher herself.
In 1999, she and then-girlfriend Jasmine Tarkeshi opened their very personal spot, referred to as Laughing Lotus, subsequent door to the Stonewall Inn and above legendary live-music spot the 55 Bar. (The studio lastly moved to Chelsea, and now has branches in San Francisco and New Orleans, the place Flynn splits her time.)
From the beginning, she wanted to repeat Trixie’s vibrant, inclusive group contained within the yoga studio — “where the high is the yoga, the friendships, the atmosphere and the energy,” she says.
To create Lotus’s signature circulation, Flynn says she stopped taking programs and practiced on her private for six years. The swish however surprisingly fast-paced style is impressed by the fluid movement of tai chi, she explains, along with the enjoyment of spontaneous dance.
“There’s a lot of moving back and forth,” she says, demonstrating how her genuine transitional strikes, with sassy names like “One Love” and “OMG,” work to connect the conventional standing poses. “It’s very fluid, very dynamic, and very sexy.”
As for the audacity of updating an historic self-discipline, Flynn says she merely wanted to see if she would possibly do it: “Mr. Iyengar moves like Iyengar yoga, Ashtanga is kind of like for 15-year-old boys who are getting hormones,” she says, citing two widespread yoga varieties. “I was like, ‘What would it mean if I moved like myself?’ ”
Judging from the packed programs and the legions of devoted teacher trainees, tons of would-be yogis have to get in like Flynn.
“I just had this feeling inside me that I had come home,” teacher Anastasia Nevin, 34, says of her first-ever Lotus class, over a decade prior to now. “The people, the colors, the music, the way we were flowing and dancing . . . I was immediately hooked.”