If you visit FLow Monday-Saturday, it is most likely that you will see Joanna in the studio. A member for two years, she is one of our most dedicated Barre and Pilates students! A self described "naturally anxious" person she found the classes at FLow have helped her to relieve some of her tension.
"I feel so much better mentally and physically when I leave the studio", we tend to agree.
We recently sat down with Ms. Joanna to get a better view of what makes FLow her studio of choice and found out a few not so apparent things about one of our favorite members. Come along as we get to know this months Member Spotlight: Joanna M.
FLow: What are some of your favorite things about FLow?
Joanna: Before finding FLow, I had tried almost every workout studio on the North Shore but was never able to find one that made me want to spend time there. A lot of the other studios were intimidating or stuffy. After my first class at FLow I was hooked. Every single instructor is so nice and encouraging and I love all of the other members.
The nice part is that no two classes are the same because each instructor adds their own spin to it. I especially love coming to the beautiful new studio - its just the perfect space to unwind and sweat out the stress from the day.
FLow: What classes will our members find you in?
Joanna: I typically take the Barre and Pilates classes, and will throw in a Yoga class here and there when I feel like a need some extra stretch or stress relief. I always struggled to find a workout I enjoyed. When I took my first Barre class at FLow, I fell in love instantly. I feel energized and strong after class and that makes it easy to stay consistent with my workouts.
FLow: What's your favorite song to jam out to?
Joanna: I love anything country but right now I am obsessed with The Middle by Zed and Maren Morris.
FLow: When you are not Barre and Pilates-ing, what are you up to?
Joanna: I am getting married in October so a lot of my free time is spent wedding planning. When I am not doing that I love to bake and make pretty tasty chocolate chip cookies ( although I don't bake often because I don't want the food in the house after!).
FLow: Congrats on your up and coming nuptials! Yay! What an exciting time. As a side note, we'd like to commission you for those chocolate chip cookies please! Not kidding. We'll do anything for chocolate. :)
FLow: Tell us one interesting fact about yourself that other members may not know.
Joanna: I hate salad! It's one of the few veggies I won't eat. The texture weirds me out.
FLow: Ok, one last question. You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be and why?
Joanna: Pinot Noir Red... because I've never turned down a class of Pinot.
So folks, if you love Pinot, Barre, Pilates, Chocolate Chip Cookies but have a disregard for salad, then say Hello to Joanna next time you are in the studio. And Joanna, thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions and be such an incredible member. We love that you are a part of our community!! <3
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.