It's a hazy, gray June morning. The temperatures are cool and it just began to rain. Cars swish by one another, the sound building as people gain momentum on their day. Traveling down Lowell Street in Peabody, passing by the revitalization of an older shopping plaza, or the well known Perfecto's cafe, a light halts you in front of a two-story building. Looking up you see the word "YOGA" laid out letter by letter in the windows overlooking the street. You may think it is a quite looking space. Almost rustic, sticking out from nearby trees and a paved walking path. It's not your typical studio space. No big streets signs, or banners, not implanted between big name retailers. Just a humble space meditating in the middle of a busy intersection. This is FLow Yoga Studio.
Walk up two flight of stairs and open the heavy wooden door, your eyes draw into the light filled space that is FLow Yoga. You'll most likely find owner Beth Manning, or one of her instructors, seated behind the hand-stained desk welcoming you with a large smile. As you smile back and start your descend into your class experience, shoes are placed behind you on the rack, checking in on the iPad, maybe punching your Loyalty Card before grabbing a cup of filtered water from the coffee and tea bar. Behind you is a small space, Yoga bolsters line the white walls, a mantel holding up the word OM to your right. Here we host smaller classes, private groups, private Yoga sessions.
Just outside this room is the boutique and waiting area secured with comfy seats, benches, a large wall space covered with shelves of goodies; t-shirts, Yoga straps and blankets, essential oils, handmade jewelry and lotions, and so much more. You're done shopping and put aside your purchase for later. Heading past the bathroom you take notice of another room to your left. A basic Pilates reformer machine sits neatly on the floor. Props for barre and Pilates classes tucked into their respective places; this is our Private Pilates room. It piques your interest and you take note to learn more later.
Finally it is time to enter through the white barn doors into the main studio. Music plays from the speakers, students align themselves for class. Light pours into the room, reflecting off the mirrors hung half way up the wall, above the ballet barre. Settling in you feel comfortable. The day stays outside, parked in your car. You are ready to begin your journey.
The FLow Yoga Story
Although it some times hard to recognize it while you are in the thick of it, I do believe that all things are working together for a greater good. That in this life tragedy cannot always have an answer to give us closure but if you can find an inkling of hope, something far more transformative can occur. I believe that in the case of FLow Yoga.
If you get to talking with Beth's mom El, she will gladly recollect on Beth's stubbornness and headstrong nature that has made her into the adult she is today.
My mom always tells the story of the time she tried to teach me how to ride a bike. I refused to let her help me, I guess I thought I knew it all at the age of 5. She watched me from the window as I growled and fell a bunch of times but I stayed out there until I got the hang of it. She said “That’s when I knew I didn’t have to worry about you”.
That fiery passion pushed her through 12 years of dance before she discovered a love for softball and running track in high school. Her diversified interests and love for the outdoors led her to Newburyport as a Youth Coordinator. The department asking her to expand her repertoire of skills extended the opportunity to learn Yoga. Never one to turn down an active learning experience, Beth completed her Yoga training and we could say the rest was history....
But while Beth was beginning her career as Youth Coordinator, and before she ever set foot on a Yoga mat, she had lost a close friend, suddenly. This moment stunned Beth. The process of grief was extremely difficult. Although the outdoors gave her great moments of relief she admits to carrying an unbearable and impermeable weight for almost 2 years. It was only in her time of practicing and learning Yoga that Beth found her solstice. It was from this tragedy that she found her purpose.
It was the first step in healing, the first step in the direction of a new path for me and to eventually feeling “myself” again.
Awakened, and with the her childhood sense of drive, Beth took a dive many young entrepreneurs only dream of taking, and in 2012 at only 25 opened the doors to FLow Yoga Studio. Her mission? To offer affordable fitness for all levels.
And that she has done. Since opening in 2012 Beth has been able to expand her business two times. Now in her third location on the top floor of her previous location, she has gone from offering Yoga classes to offering twice as many barre and Pilates classes, private sessions, workshops, seminars, member events, increasing the size of her shoppe and the amenities (remember that coffee and tea bar?!). And in 2017 Beth and FLow Yoga won the honorable Best of Northshore.
It has been this incredible dream come true. All the while honoring a friend lost; if you look closely at the title name of the studio the F and L are the initials of her dear friend.
And honor him she has. I believe she has honored him in a way that every day the clients that walk into our studio can feel the love that Beth, her family and her friends, have poured into her studio. Physically, as her family and fiancé helped her renovate and build-out her new space. Spiritually, the energy in the studio is infectious. If it is a high energy barre or Pilates class or a calming, centering Yoga class. You carry it with you. And every teacher is well educated, well-informed on proper form and function, proprietors of good playlists, and a general enthusiasm for getting people to feel good through movement. There is a lotta love in this place and F.L. would certainly be proud.
by Kristina Borseti
Questions: Do you like chicken? Do you like peaches? Do you like salsa? Do you like easy recipes? Do you... "like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain"? Ok that last one was for fun. But we hope the answers are Yes, yes and more yes!
Danielle Roberts, FLow Barre Pilates instructor and owner of Danielle Roberts Dance & Fitness came to the table with her yummy, no fuss, Peach Salsa Chicken. And when we say "no fuss" we mean it. All you need is a crockpot, two ingredients (below) and that's it!
Put the crockpot on high and the timer on for 3 hours.
Get some errands done, take Danielle's class, come home, shower, and eat!
Voila! Shred it up, throw it on a healthy wrap option or in tacos. Top with some homemade guac. The options are limitless!
We are sure this will become one of your healthy weeknight favorites.
Did you make it? Tell us what you think! And don't forget to try Danielle's Barre Pilates class on Tuesdays at 6:00 PM. It's a fun, energetic way to work that core and your booty!
There’s something that perhaps only my husband knows about me...
I have a terrible history of starting something and never sticking with it, never seeing it through. I had a blog for craft projects that went by the wayside; I used to make jewelry which I really enjoyed but lost interest after a while; I boxed a lot, but quickly stopped after I hurt my wrist; gave up on playing guitar; and there were countless other interests I SWORE I wouldn’t stop doing... but always did. There has only been one exception to this tendency of mine.
I first stepped onto a Yoga mat in 2003. I was a sophomore in college and I was looking for something to balance the doldrums of school work, the rigidity of cheerleading (yup), the intensity of theater (yup), and the late nights of partying. I had heard that a local Yoga teacher was coming to lead a free class for all the students in the dance studio. Never one to shy away from something new, I stepped into that studio confIdently, rolled out a mat and took my spot among about 50 other students. Would you believe me if I told you that I ABSOLUTELY hated it?
Looking back on that day, I acknowledge that I was probably a little too confident. I walked out sore, unbalanced, and just generally angry. If you were to ask me why I tried to show off instead of listening to the teacher, I’d just tell you I was a stubborn college kid who was used to being among the best at everything I did.
It humbled me, but I wouldn’t realize that until many years later.
Fast forward two years. I had just graduated, moved back in with my parents, and was missing my long-distance boyfriend like mad (don’t worry it has a happy ending). I was again feeling that familiar need for balance in my life. A family friend, who just so happened to teach Yoga, told me I HAD to come to one of her classes. I protested at first, remembering that fateful day 2 years prior. But she promised me a gentle class and convinced me. All it took was one class with her.
There’s a certain magic that occurs when you pair the right practice with the right teacher and the right mindset. I was hooked.
Over the next several years, I would bounce around and experience different classes with all different teachers. Around 2007, I would find myself in a little studio in Wakefield with a women named Hope, fitting really. It was under Hope’s guidance that I knew in my heart I needed to do what she had done for me.
I needed to give others this gift.
Because to me, that’s what yoga had become. A gift.
In 2008, I enrolled in a 10-month long program. I learned about anatomy and physiology from a body expert. I learned about meridians and chakras and Kundalini from an energy master. I learned about proprioception and the body’s remarkable capabilities from a martial artist. But do you know what I learned most about? Myself.
I learned that I was meant to do this. That this was my natural calling. Every flow I led, every touch I gave, was intentional and purposeful. My peers would tell me I gave them exactly what they needed. I buzzed with energy. Dare I say, I was inflated. I was leading a class at my local YMCA before I even completed my training. I jumped in headfirst and never looked back.
That is, until I wasn’t looking where I was going and I tripped.
I burnt out fast. I was so eager to teach, to give, that I forgot to take. I forgot about my own practice. I forgot to learn, to grow. It was about this time that I was brought back to that class in college. I realized then that my confidence was my biggest weakness. Humbled, indeed.
So I took a teaching hiatus. I needed to put my practice first. You can’t pour from an empty cup, right?
One day, during a home practice, I moved through my flow, I felt good, I felt reinvigorated. I came to the end of my practice and settled in for savasana. And as you all know, music is a force in my life. It had always been part of what made me ME. But it was THIS savasana that made me realize it would forever be a crucial part of my classes. I laid on my mat and a song came on. An instrumental from an Icelandic band called Sigur Rós.
As the music built, so did my emotions. Before I knew it, I had tears streaming down my face. For no good reason, mind you. It just... happened. But that moment changed me and my practice. It was the first real taste I had of the true POWER of the practice of Yoga and the art of letting go.
I rolled up my mat that day knowing then and there that I was ready to teach again.
And the rest, as they say, is history. Yoga has fulfilled me in a way I never knew I needed. And I am so grateful I can share that passion at FLow Yoga with so many of you.