Meet Tori Reynolds and Ben Rivet. If you haven’t heard of them already, you will want to familiarize yourself with their amazing project, GO W/ THE FLOW (GWTF). I was blown away when I took their class this summer at Wanderlust Festival Squaw Valley, as I realized it was the most inspiring class I had taken in a long time. This charismatic duo from Ohio is on the road spreading joy to yogis by sharing their playful vinyasa and creative live musical sequencing. Their classes are original, uplifting, and their love of life is contagious. Here they share their story with the Yoga Trade Community:
How did you find yoga?
Ben: I took my first yoga class in college at University of Dayton’s rec plex. My uncle had raved about yoga when I was home between my junior and senior year, so when I got back to school I found out they had free classes, and there seemed to be a lot of cute girls.., so it thought I’d give it a try for a while. I soon began to realize the tremendous benefits it provided my mind and body, and I’ve been practicing in some form or another for the last 7 years. After school I started practicing (via trade) in exchange for graphic design and web work for a nearby studio in Dayton. All this time connected to a studio community greatly deepened and nurtured my practice and love for yoga in a more holistic sense of the word. That’s where I met Tori, and the GO W/ THE FLOW project was born, and we’ve been able to use the project to practice and “study” yoga around the country since 2012. Taking classes at some of the best studios in the country with such a wide variety of teachers, has shown me how flexible and perfect yoga can be for my life and anyone else who finds it.
Tori: When I was studying at Wright State University in Dayton, feeling a little uninspired, I took a 6 week summer yoga class with a couple of friends and ended up absolutely loving it! After the 6 weeks were up I developed a home practice until I found some classes I really connected with. Needless to say I was completely re-inspired down a path I never knew existed. A little over a year after that initial course I taught my first yoga class.
What does the word “flow” mean to you?
Ben: For me flow is presence. Whether it happens on accident, during a yoga class, or performing music, I find my “flow” when I’m able to drop the past and future noise of my life and be exactly where I am. When my body, mind and emotions are directed at the same focal point, I find that the rest of the world falls away. I’m able to apply all of my attention, skill, experience, knowledge and love to one single task. It makes me feel like I’m a super hero. Like time slows down and I can give whatever or whoever is in front of me 100%. It’s a beautiful thing, and Im grateful that yoga has helped me tap into that state much easier than I have.
Tori: I agree with what Ben said, “presence”. I’m a visual person, so when I hear flow I imagine someone dancing in the middle of a room, completely present and enveloped by the sound of the music playing, inhibitions released, worries aside… in that moment your body responds to every little shift and change to the music in a very easy, free way. So ultimately this presence allows our whole spirit, mind, and body to connect to whatever situation the universe gives us, no matter what shifts or changes happen, we adapt and groove right along with it. You could even say flow is a form of freedom from the overstimulated mind. In my example, dancing, but this could be anything from a small mundane task you need to tackle to running an ultra marathon. We just happen to try and make this connection during a powerful asana practice.
What do you love most about what you do?
Ben: The people. Tori and I have traveled over 100,000 miles and taught over 250 GWTF classes in the past
2 and a half years, and the thing I’m most proud of is how many people we’ve connected with along the way. I love finding the bond between people, places and ideas, and when we travel for these tours, I’m able to dive into the lives of all the people we meet along the way. Their families, their homes, their stories and their passions. It gives me so much context as to how I live my life, and motivates me to immerse myself into new projects and adventures with each stop along the route.
Tori: Creating an experience for people where they can feel that freedom! I truly believe that the steady pace of the breath we present people with can alter their state, mentally and physically. And honestly just like anything you do over and over for a while, it’s good to check in with the foundations. Remind yourself why it worked and made you fall in love with it in the first place. Breath to us is one of those ultimate foundations.
Do you have any tips for keeping a consistent personal practice while on the road/traveling?
Ben: Don’t force it! Yoga is so much more than a 90 minute hot power classes 3 times a week. Yoga is about an awareness of your body, and its interaction with the world. When you travel, you are putting a lot of unusual stress on your whole being, and the more you pay attention to that the better you’ll be at taking care of yourself. If you can go take a class while traveling, then AWESOME! Go, experience new communities, styles, and teachers. It will do so much for your understanding of the practice. BUT, don’t worry that you aren’t able to hit your yoga mat as much as you do at home. Sometimes the most yogic thing you can do for yourself is rest. I try to spend a decent amount of time stretching my hips, lower back and legs while I’m in bed. I also try to find a good place to lay on the floor with my legs up the wall to help release the tension from my sacrum after driving for hours… Whatever you do, know that it’s better than nothing, and that just taking note of how your body is responding to the travel is all the yoga you need in my book.
Tori: Ask yourself what you need, like really… what do you NEED? I am totally guilty of getting caught up with the pressure I put on myself to keep a routine, cardio, a strong asana practice, and eating super healthy on the road, but sometimes I have to realize that my body gets a little tired and I need to rest. Those are the moments I have to drop the often unrealistic expectations I’ve set for myself and say what would make me a better, more grounded version of myself today? Maybe it’s a yin class, maybe it’s a long walk, or maybe I need that 3 mile jog and a hot power class! Whatever it is, don’t do it just because you think you should and make your body resent you.
Where is one place you dream about traveling to teach?
Ben: I would LOVE to travel abroad to teach our GO W/ THE FLOW around the globe in the near future. I have always wanted to go to Australia… and think I would jive well with those cats down under!
Tori: Overseas! (Can we just count that as one place?) We’ve spread GO W/ THE FLOW love all over the United States and a bit in Canada the past 2.5 years, so it’d be amazing to push our edge a little further, really get outside of our comfort zone. Right now I feel like I want to a be a little scared, in awe, and have my perspective shifted. I also believe what we’re sharing is really universal, it’s all about connection, ain’t never a bad time or place for that!
Check out the GWTF Tour Schedule, to connect with Ben and Tori and to experience the FLOW.
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