As an admirer of all things wellness, I have always payed close attention to those promoting healthful lifestyle options around me. I first noticed Flow With Mo through Moriah’s Instagram account, where she regularly posted videos of her flows and photos of her growing group classes. But unlike most other yogis, Moriah emphasizes accessibility in her practice: classes are free, and the backyard location makes it easy for any student to attend. I spoke with Mo to get a better idea of her mantra, and how she is using this opportunity to spread wellness and positivity.
Q: How long have you been doing yoga?
My mom started taking me to yoga classes with her when I was 10 years old, but I started practicing yoga for myself at around age 15.
Q: How did flow with Mo classes start and why did you decide to do it?
I completely fell in love with yoga holistically (please excuse the cliche) when I studied abroad in Cape Town. Abroad, I became invested in the spirituality aspect of yoga in addition to the physical poses. When I came back to school I was missing my favorite studio in Cape Town, so I started to write down flows (sequences) from that studio so that I could practice them on my own. Luckily a bunch of my housemates are also yogis, so they were also interested in practicing new flows too. This progressed into short sessions of a group of us practicing together. Simultaneously leading and doing a flow was an entirely new concept to me and the first “session” I led — pre Flow With Mo — lasted about 10 minutes and was narrated by my shaky voice. After that first time, things naturally started to come together; our house has a beautiful backyard (warning: our beauty standards are based on sharp hall ambiance) but to us, very conducive to practicing yoga. So the next few times that there was a group of us outside I’d practice leading a little more — and I got really positive feedback. Thanks to the encouragement of my friends, I continued to lead them in short yoga sequences and soon enough more and more people joined in. So, I guess “Flow With Mo” was ultimately a result of my friends and I casually practicing new flows in our backyard (shout out to you people and to @YogaLife studio in CPT).
The Instagram aspect came into fruition much later when I started to follow more yogis for inspiration to deepen my own practice. When I realized I could use instagram as a medium to attract a larger crowd for our now regular backyard sessions, I made the @flow_with_mo handle and followed anyone who I thought would be interested. Honestly, I think the catchiness of the name is a huge reason that this production has had such positive growth, so maybe this was always supposed to happen.
Q: What does your Instagram bio “If your class isn’t accessible or equitable you’re not teaching yoga” mean to you and how do you embody it?
As I’ve gotten more involved with yoga, I’ve realized that in our world — let’s call it the U.S. — yoga is often an elitist extracurricular. Yoga, as we practice it here, is unaffordable for many people and because of this, those people are often unaware of the benefits they are missing out on. But yoga was intended to be classless, for the masses. At the very surface yoga was meant to rejuvenate yourself, prolong life, increase focus, promote unity and introduce many more benefits. So the fact that we’ve turned this into a privileged practice didn’t make a lot of sense to me. I plan on continuing to offer free classes and I am actively looking to offer free classes for outside organizations. I want to spread equitable and accessible yoga to evade it’s stereotype as a privileged practice and promote its fundamental intentions and benefits.
Q: How would you describe the impact yoga has on people?
Yoga connects your mind and physical body in a way that energizes your entire being. It provides balance by simultaneously offering a sense of groundedness and connection as well as a sense of uplifting. Beyond the personal mental and physical benefits of the practice, I think what continues to draw people back to classes is group unity. At flow with mo and in most yoga settings, from the moment we get on our mats together, united for a common purpose, there is a buzz in the air. By the end of a class, peoples’ energy is completely lifted. For whatever personal reasons people came to practice, we all end class with a new powerful intangible energy that can carry you through the day. One of the most gratifying parts of this is when I get messages post-flow from people saying how good they feel, or how the intention that was set at the beginning of class really resonated with them. But to really understand the impact you should come to a class and see for yourself 😉
Q: What is the ideal goal of Flow with Mo?
I hope to help people discover the countless benefits of yoga. Specifically I hope my classes empower people and bring people together, two things that I believe will genuinely enrich peoples’ lives. There have been a few times that I have wanted to cancel a class, whether it was due to stress, tiredness, a hangover, but led class anyway. Without fail my mood is completely changed by the group’s energy. This positive feedback is what encourages and inspires me to continue this practice. None of this would be what it is without you guys
Q: What is the most important thing you’ve learned?
Yoga is way more than just the poses. And lastly, I just want to deeply express my gratitude for everyone who has made this what it is!! You know who you are. I am beyond thankful and hope you have gotten as much out of this as I have.
V.P. of vibes: Ella Swimmer
Creative director: Melissa Resenthall
Cover Photo: @flo_with_mo