Winter Garden Yogi Brian Friedman; Changing the World One Pose at a Time

Brian Friedman demonstrates favorite and challenge poses in his Winter Garden Yoga studio.
 A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to learn more about and share the stories of people that inspire me. I had several people in mind, but this first interview came about quite organically. I needed a model for a new painting, and Brian was gracious enough to take time out of his busy schedule to set up a last minute photo session with me in his Winter Garden Yoga studio. (See my  previous post on the Red Chair Exhibit for more.)
 I was first a student of Brian's when he taught yoga in Lake Mary a few years ago. His thorough knowledge of the body and exercise physiology is amazing, but it's his demeanor that hooked me; totally relaxed, judgment-free, with just the right amount of lightness and humor that helps you crack a smile when you're taking your asana too seriously.
I had a few questions for Brian, and he was generous enough to answer. Enjoy :)

(My questions are italicized) 

Brian, you're definitely one of the best yoga teachers I've had the pleasure of taking a class with, but for those that haven't, can you describe your work?

  I help a highly selective group of clients who want to boost their quality of life which means that I empower them to feel younger and more alive.
I have a truly unique yoga studio that emphasizes strength and mobility instead of flexibility which means …
• Number one: You get strong 
• Number two: You prevent injury 
• Number three: You de-stress
And because of this my clients have toned, pain free, and resilient bodies.

-When did you know what you wanted to do? ( your "aha" moment")

 My 'aha' moment came to me when a friend of mine said, "You must love what you do."
I asked, "What do you mean?" They said, "You spend every waking moment learning to improve your [skill] so that you can help your clients."
It was at that moment that I realized I really love what I do.

-What's your biggest dream?

 My biggest dream? By God's grace, I'm living it now.

-What's the best advice you were ever given?

The best advice I was given came to me in two parts. The first was during a conversation and a mentor of mine said, "If you want to make a living by doing the thing you love, there is always a point when you will have to take a giant leap of faith." 
The second was during a second conversation when a friend suggested 'trying it on for size.' Allow me to explain. At the time, I was working in the corporate world and running my yoga studio. I was getting burned out. I knew I had to make a choice between one or the other. My friend said, "try it on for size... try imagining being at your corporate job for another year." I groaned. Then they said, "try imaging being at your yoga studio full time." Well, the rest is history. I took a giant leap of faith and I'm living the dream.

-That's so awesome! Where can we find you living your dream?

  You can find me at or at 12 West Plant Street, in Historic Downtown Winter Garden, Florida.
For my last and most important questions. What is your quest?
My quest is to change the world one pose at a time.

What is your favorite color?

 Oddly enough, my favorite color is red.

Perfect and perfect!

 Thanks, Brian for being such a great role model ( and literal model!)
D. Renée Wilson, "Have a Seat", 20"x24", plaster & acrylic on wood, currently in the Red Chair fundraising auction. Click here to bid for good.
and especially for having the courage to live your dream and helping so many in the process!

If you can't make it out to Winter Garden for Brian's incredible and highly accessible classes (and I recommend them- his workshops are great, too, especially the partner yoga workshop!) You can find some great dvds for your home practice on the WGY website store.  

Make sure to stop by and visit Winter Garden Yoga on Facebook and say hello.

Thanks for joining me in my Artwork & Play! 

May your dreams be BIG and well lived,

~D. Renée

FAA links- Yoga

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