One Heart Yoga Center’s life coach aligns the inside and outside

Paige Simmons greets me barefoot at the door of One Heart Yoga Center, a yin-yang tattoo showing on the top of one foot.

“My daughter and I got them together,” Simmons explains. She loves tattoos and what they represent, and she tells me all about hers after asking about one she notices on my own wrist. She’s been trying to keep pace with her 19-year-old daughter’s ink; so far, each has three.

As she leads the way through the old two-story house One Heart has claimed on St. Joseph Street, suddenly my business-casual pants and loafers feel laughably formal. The walls take a different shade of calming blue or gray with each turn, and the air is light and clean, with a gentle touch of lavender. Even with exercise studios behind each door, the house feels like a home.

Simmons is a certified life coach who works out of One Heart, often taking referrals from clients who frequent yoga and Pilates classes there. Combining Simmons’ coaching with massage therapy, Pilates and varieties of yoga from Thai to Vinyasa Flow, the One Heart team is creating a one-stop shop for mind and body wellness.

Instead of sitting behind the desk in her office for an interview, Simmons perches on one of a pair of armchairs, legs curled up into the seat under her.

“Don’t let the Lululemon fool you,” Simmons says with a laugh, gesturing at her leggings and tank top. “I’m a hippie.”

For this hippie, life coaching feels like a natural path to spiritual growth. Drawn to complete a degree in psychology years ago, Simmons has always felt intuitively connected to others’ needs and obstacles. As a life coach for the past three years, she’s helped many who’ve found themselves “stuck.”

“For people who need help getting to the point where they’re OK and life is good, counseling or therapy is the first step. Life coaching is for people who can see that life is [already good], but it could be better,” Simmons explains.

Simmons usually keeps five to six clients in rotation—some new arrivals, some longtime regulars. She works with them on assessing their needs and values, setting goals and breaking out of personal or professional ruts through counseling, “homework” exercises and other, more exotic approaches, like tapping therapy.

Like acupuncture, tapping focuses on “meridians” of the body—paths through which life energy flows. Based on the idea that negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression and anger, are related to disruptions in the flow of life energy, the technique aims to correct the disruption. While clients envision or tune into their problems, Simmons uses strategic tapping along energy hubs of the body. She says it’s proven effective for many of her clients.

It’s this holistic approach that makes Simmons a perfect fit for what she calls the “happy home of healing” at One Heart.

If one of her clients is feeling stressed or tense, she’ll refer him or her to One Heart’s massage therapist, just a few steps from her office door.

It’s all part of the process of bringing harmony to mind and body, the crux of the peace clients find here at One Heart.

“I love when people cry,” Simmons says. “I know I’ve done my job when they’re moved to tears—that means they’ve had a big shift. Seeing them set down that load that they’ve been carrying and free themselves from whatever it is and having those breakthroughs and that breath of fresh air is just so, so gratifying.” yogabatonrouge.com