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elise Phares

We're a unique yoga studio in the heart of historical downtown Hammond, LA. We are professionals dedicated to recovering what we believe to be the essence of yoga: a traditional yoga philosophy and a practice available to everyone.  We are here for you.

 Jo’s yoga journey began seven years ago in a quest to find relief from scoliosis and from stress. She fell in love with yoga in general and especially SmartFlow yoga. Its emphasis on alignment and breathing was exactly what she was looking for.  Through yoga, she has realized healing in body and spirit. Her desire is that her classes enable each person to find what their bodies and spirits are seeking — and find joy and humor along the way. She has completed Annie Carpenter’s 200 hour SmartFlow yoga teacher training under the guidance of master teachers Britni Serou, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Janet Katz, E-RYT 500, YACEP.  Off the mat, she is a weaver, photographer, baker,  dabbles in all textile arts and finds humor in everything.

Marc found yoga in 2015. He started with a home-based, restorative practice to help him cope with stress and sleep easier at night. A few months later, he found his way to Downtown Yoga and began a regular vinyasa flow practice. Marc completed Annie Carpenter’s 200hr SmartFLOW yoga teacher training at Downtown Yoga under the guidance of master teachers Britni Serou, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Janet Katz, E-RYT 500, YACEP.
As a bigger-bodied, male, yoga practitioner, Marc understands that starting a new yoga practice can be intimidating. Therefore, as yoga teacher, his primary goal is to create inclusive yoga classes that are accessible to every-body, regardless of size, shape, age, strength, or flexibility. Marc looks forward to accompanying you on your journey of self-discovery and empowerment!
Off the mat, Marc holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and is an assistant professor at Southeastern Louisiana University. In his free time, he enjoys painting and is an active member of the local arts community. You’ve probably seen him at a local gallery opening, or you may have seen some of his work hanging in a local show.    

About Us


Elise's love for yoga and yoking into the present moment started with movement meditation five years ago. She started with hula hooping and dancing, then moved on to the Asana practice in yoga. She has been practicing yoga for about a year, and through that she found a profound love for herself and for all beings around her.
Elise completed Annie Carpenter’s 200hr SmartFLOW yoga teacher training at Downtown Yoga under the guidance of master teachers Britni Serou, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Janet Katz, E-RYT 500, YACEP.
She’s continuing her trip through this life, with energy healing and has incorporated that into all aspects of her life. She is a Sociology major at Southeastern Louisiana University and after that will get a Masters in counseling. She is also a certified Level 1 Reiki practitioner and she hopes to use that energy to heal the world starting with individuals. Elise wants to use her combined knowledge of Yoga, Reiki, sociology and counseling as a holistic approach for Love and Healing. 


dana brewer-plazinic

Melissa began practicing Yoga in 2005 and fell in love with it during her first class.  Immediately hooked on Yoga, Melissa has explored different techniques and lineages, learning to love something in each class or text. Ultimately, she found joy and self-care were common threads through every school of Yoga thought. Melissa teaches every class with a light heart and a smiling face, hoping to guide every student through the class to a sense of fulfillment.
Melissa and her husband, Mark, have been married since 1997. They live in Madisonville, where they enjoy the outdoors, family, pets, and friends as much as much as possible. They have a love of animals, the arts, and travel.
In 2014, Melissa earned her 250 Hour Certified Yoga Teacher credential and continues to pursue education on Yoga.

Meet Our Team

britni serou, e-RYT 500, YACEP
Owner and Instructor

Britni's love for yoga began in college, and she has now been teaching in the local community for 14 years. She completed her 500-hour yoga teacher training certification with Annie Carpenter in California, studying SmartFLOW, a Vinyasa Flow style of yoga that focuses on safe alignment. In 2017, Britni became one of only five Certified SmartFLOW Teacher Trainers internationally, enabling her to lead 200-Hour Teacher Trainings. She is also a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider, meaning other Yoga Instructors can include her workshops toward Continuing Education hours. She has additional training in Pre/Post-Natal Yoga, Yin Yoga, and Restorative Yoga. Graduating from SLU with a BA in Visual Arts, Britni is a very creative person, light-hearted and fun, and she likes her yoga that way too! She believes in the power of a deeply transformative yoga practice and is inspired by taking lessons learned on the mat and applying them to everyday life. 

Our newest Kids' Yoga Instructor! Bio coming soon.

Brenna Barzenick, PT, DPT has practiced yoga for 12 years. Brenna is a graduate of LSU School of Allied Health Professions in New Orleans (1994) and is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (2016). Throughout her 23+ years as a Physical Therapist, Brenna has focused on orthopedics and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Brenna completed Annie Carpenter's 200hr SmartFLOW yoga teacher training under the guidance of master teachers, Britni Serou and Janet Katz. In addition to her career as a Physical Therapist and yoga teacher, Brenna is the author of the book, Tsumommy! Riding the Wave of Motherhood. She enjoys writing humor and loves teaching, practicing yoga, and life in general. Her love of yoga and human anatomy are a natural fit in her teaching. She is alignment oriented and wants to serve the yoga community by way of her knowledge and expertise of the human body.  

brenna barzenick, PT, DPT, RYT 200
Owner and Instructor

     Dana Brewer-Plazinic received a B.A. in Dance Performing Arts from Southeastern Louisiana University and a Masters Degree (MFA) in Dance Choreography from Mills College in Oakland, California. She is a certified Pilates and Yoga Instructor and completed Annie Carpenter's SmartFLOW yoga teacher training under the guidance of master teachers Britni Serou, E-RYT 500, YACEP and Janet Katz, E-RYT 500, YACEP. Dana taught dance for 18 years at SLU and was the Dance Coordinator for 9 years. Along with her dance classes, she taught Pilates, Yoga, and Kinesiology at Southeastern.  She has studied Body, Mind, Centering Techniques, Alexander Technique, and Bartenieff Fundamentals as part of her extensive training in Somatics. (Somatics is a type of movement study that emphasizes internal perception and experience. Soma means "the body as perceived from within.”) She cares deeply about the health of the body and gives personal attention to each client to address their individual needs. Dana looks forward to sharing her love of movement with the Downtown Yoga family and sangha.


Melissa leBlanc

Our founders Britni and Brenna, and all of our guest instructors are here to help inspire you and your yoga practice. Since our styles are diverse, we encourage you to try a variety of classes. Join us!