How a Portland yoga studio is bridging the divide between locals and transplants in a growing city.
Yoga is now an international industry. The irony of this is that in the midst of a well-meaning frenzy over the health and wellness benefits of the practice, one of the most basic pillars of yoga seems to have been lost: sangha (the Sanskrit name for community).
Many yoga studios, in seeing the demand for yoga increase dramatically, have responded by becoming chains and conglomerates. Although not yet as ubiquitous as McDonald’s or Burger King, you can right now practice at the same branded yoga studio in NYC as you might in Portland or Houston. Convenient, maybe, but turning yoga into a stale, cookie-cutter product seems to be the antithesis of everything the practice stands for.
Community was always at the core of what Flex & Flow founders Jamie King and Alyse Mason set out to build. Neither are Portland natives, but both women have traveled extensively, lived in different parts of the country, and understand how a yoga studio can build a community that is not only strong and welcoming, but feels like a home for the students that walk through its doors.
As one of our students explained, “Flex & Flow makes Portland feel more like home! It makes me feel a stronger connection to and sense of belonging with the city.”
Mitch Gaulke is a Portland native, and his wife, Angela, a transplant to the city. On their wedding day last summer, we had the immense honor of hosting 30 of their closest friends and family at our 6am class in the studio for a sweaty, pre-wedding workout. They wrote us that “We have come to think of the Flex & Flow community as a second family. The community embodies everything we value in life, a judgement free environment that pushes individuals to be the best version of themselves on and off the mat. We are forever grateful for this community and are excited to see what the future has in store for it.”
Above all else – the poses, the workouts – this studio is about inclusivity. Our teachers are encouraging and motivational. They understand bad days just as well as they understand good ones. They empower students to do what feels right in their bodies, moving to their own breath and rhythm. Instead of competing with or comparing to other yogis, Flex & Flow is about “new friends and old friends catching up before and after class, going for bagels after Saturday morning class or a cold beer after a sweaty evening power vinyasa.”
No matter where in life you’re coming from, our community at Flex & Flow welcomes you. Whether it’s your first time on the mat, your fiftieth, or your four hundredth, there is a spot for you. Make this space what you need it to be – we can’t wait to meet you.
In the words of these students: “F&F has become an integral part of my life. In times when I felt powerless I come back to my mat and find myself again. I wasn't looking for community at F&F because…I've ever experienced it at a yoga studio! But it's the biggest unexpected reward.”
Join us for your first visit (or ten) with ten classes for $10. Bring a friend, make a friend; up to you.