Valerie McMillan – Director
Valerie first experienced yoga in 2007, while living in Chicago and undergoing a complete lifestyle change. She lost over 70lbs and transitioned from a meat based to a plant based diet. In 2011, she developed a full -time yoga practice after completing her first 30-day challenge.
At the time, Valerie noticed she was often the only women of color in the classes she was taking and was determined to help the culture of yoga evolve in New Orleans. In late 2013, Valerie immersed herself in a 200-hour power yoga training with Free to Be Power Yoga. Valerie launched the Ohm Well in early 2015, which is a health and wellness social enterprise designed to help clients heal themselves from the inside out.
While working for the City of New Orleans as a Senior City Planner, Valerie launched the first ever yoga wellness program for city employees at New Orleans’ City Hall, which was in collaboration with the Chief Administrative office and the New Orleans Health Department. Valerie has led classes at various locations throughout the City of New Orleans and has partnered with many organizations and businesses including Black Girls Run, Nike, Reyn Studios, Lululemon and Friends of Lafitte Greenway. Black and Brown Bodies in Motion (BBM) is the Ohm Well’s first signature weekly class, which features curvy-body friendly yoga and meditation. It arose out of a desire to address the invisibility of yogis of color in traditional yoga studios and classes. BBM is the first and only yoga class in New Orleans designed for and open only to self-identified people of color. BBM celebrated its third year anniversary in June of 2017 and the class was featured in the Gambit weekly.
Valerie is eager to share her love of life with others and is committed to creating a safe space for all of her students on and off the mat. Her classes are a combination of poetic sequences and infectious rhythms designed to ignite the fire within each of us. In addition to teaching yoga, Valerie is an adjunct instructor, urban planner, advocate, and mom to Marley. She is currently balancing her new journey of being a mother with growing and establishing a permanent location for The Ohm Well.