12299394_10100421976552923_2924300342986810879_nThis month Interview With A Flowgi sits down with Flow Yoga’s new co-manager Brianne Cook, a beloved member of our community, who – it just so happens – lives and works on a farm.

Yes, it’s true, and we couldn’t be more excited to have her joining the team. She’s also got some very interesting ideas on what makes a great yoga playlist, her favorite color(s) and being the black sheep of her family.

For more of the goods on this fascinating Flowgi, please continue scrolling down the page!  

FB: So please tell us more about life on the farm?   

BC: Farm life is simple and complex at the same time. There’s a big focus on teamwork, which I love, and an understanding of personal responsibility and hard work. There’s usually a lot of laughter and singing to guide us through our tasks. There are also extremely difficult days that require large amounts of inner strength to endure, sometimes due to weather, crop failures, miscommunication, and/or differing personalities/work ethics. We work hard and steady. Sometimes the tasks require physical strength, sometimes it’s just mental stamina that carries us through long hours of harvesting or weeding the same crop. Flexibility and ingenuity are invaluable on the farm.

The seasons can have a huge influence on farm life. Spring is full of hope and rain and excitement and baby plants and getting to know everyone and finding a productive groove. In the summer, there is near constant activity and the buzz of harvesting and weeding and irrigation. In the fall, moods change to relief or sadness or some combination of the two as we complete some of our final tasks and people start to leave. In the winter, life on the farm is quiet as most people are gone for the season.

FB: Please give us a little more about your background. Are you originally from the Loudoun area and what’s your family life like?

12118592_10100413045056713_6900886282343651221_nBC: I was born in Leesburg but grew up in Western MD. Raised by a single mom, I come from a big family with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have one younger sister, whom I don’t see nearly enough. I proudly consider myself the black sheep of my family.

FB: How did you originally get introduced to yoga?

BC: I took my first yoga class at my gym to celebrate turning 26. It was during one of these classes that a fellow student suggested ‘if you like yoga here, you should try it at a studio.’ I took my first class at Flow on Valentine’s Day 2013; a deep stretch class with Billy Koch that forever changed my relationship with yoga and this studio. I’ve been hooked ever since. 

FB: What’s your journey been like as both manager and student?

BC: As a student, yoga has changed the way I interact with myself and the world around me in the most amazing ways. My journey has been full of growth, happiness, challenge, acceptance and love. Yoga has become a way for me to stay connected to myself when life gets crazy. I continually learn so much about myself through my practice, whether it’s nailing my first arm balance or not being able to bend as deeply in forward fold as I could the day before. I’ve learned to have fun with my practice [a valuable gift from Flow’s Kelli Audibert] and thus not take life too seriously. Yoga has given me courage to face my fears on and off the mat and find confidence in myself.

As a manager, my journey thus far has forced me to call upon some of the characteristics and life philosophies yoga has exposed me to. Balance, patience, kindness, staying grounded and learning to act rather than react have been huge influences on my management style. I love that my job requires me to live a life where I am practicing my core values on a regular basis. As a manager, I feel an even deeper connection and responsibility to our yoga community and a strong desire to give people the same positive experiences that have shaped my life.

FB: What are some things you hope to accomplish at Flow?  

BC: I’d like to accomplish bringing a warmth and feeling of hOMe to the studio, whether that’s through my interactions with our lovely teachers and wonderful energy exchange participants or with our inspiring students. I also strive to bring positive, fun, calming energy to the studios as we move through some transitions and schedule revamping. I’d like to see a return to our core offerings with some fun classes like hip hop yoga or a return of happy hour yoga. Strengthening Flow’s relationship with our students and community is one of the biggest achievements I’d like to accomplish.

FB: What makes the perfect yoga class for you?   

BC: The perfect yoga class for me changes on a daily basis. Some days a perfect class is a hot, sweaty, challenging flow with great music to ease me through the class. Other days I need a silent, deep stretching practice to get me out of my mind and into my body.

“That’s one of the things I love about yoga–different styles resonate with me in different ways and my needs constantly change.”

I enjoy the aspect of self-discovery and awareness that comes with my practice.

FB: What makes a great yoga playlist? 

Such a good question! Music plays a HUGE role in my life and speaks volumes to my soul. A great yoga playlist changes for me daily. Usually, there is a mixture of new songs and older classics. I also love hearing something unexpected, like a 70’s rock song or a pop hit, thrown in the mix. When I’m practicing yang or active classes, starting off class with a good beat while we’re warming up and pushing through postures that require more focus and energy, and then helping me unwind with something more calming and soothing is key. I just recently experienced my first hip hop yoga class and loved the way the music lightened the mood and invoked happy memories. I definitely think there is great benefit to a silent class but sometimes I need the music to move me.

FB: Do you all have any pets? 

I do not personally have any pets at the moment but my roommates have a wonderful older rescue dog who I absolutely adore and get to live with. I’ve been known to show people her picture with the caveat of course that she’s not actually mine.

FB: Do any members of your family attend class at Flow? 

No, most of my family still lives in MD but quite a few of my closest friends, my chosen family if you will, regularly attend classes at Flow.

FB: What’s your favorite color and why?

If you asked any of my closest friends this question about me, they would immediately say PURPLE! I’m notorious for my love of purple but have to say I’ve been feeling a shift in preference towards orange lately.

Thanks for catching up with us. 

Thank you for the interview questions!

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