Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yoga + Wine

Yesterday afternoon was the second weekend of David Romanelli's "Yoga + Chocolate" weekend—but we did a yoga + wine session (which I loved...Dave offers separate Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine workshops, so getting a little of both in one weekend is a deal in my opinion!)

Much like his Yoga+ Chocolate workshop, Dave teamed up with Angela Gargano, a yoga instructor and wine connoisseur, to create a multi-sensory experience that features carefully selected wines, Vinyasa flow yoga, and music. A lot of people have asked (er, b*tched): Yoga and wine? Isn't that a philosophical contradiction? Dave started our class by recounting the backlash his new idea generated in the hardcore yoga world. You can get a sense of what both camps had to say about in the 2006 article, "The Days of Wine and Yoga," by Cindy Price of The New York Times.

Old-School Devotees vs. Modern Yogis
So let me make a little sidebar commentary here. Yoga people, I've discovered, generally fall into two categories: The Old-School Devotees and The Modern Yogis. The irony of the division between these two ideologies is that The Old-School Devotees, who are supposed to be practicing ahimsa and all that, are the first to sling insults and cast judgments when The Modern Yogis stay true to themselves, whether that means NOT being vegetarian, indulging in wine, or enjoying food and leather and fashion, etc. I find it very interesting that The Modern Yogis' mantra tends to be "it's all good," and, present company included, tend to commend The Old-School Devotees for their ability to commit 100% to yogic principles and tradition. But I've yet to feel like Modern Yogis are respected in the same fashion by their Old-School counterparts. It's an interesting dichotomy.

Block Party
So back to yoga and the night before, we sampled a lovely Ravenswood Zinfandel at the beginning of class, did a heart-pounding 90-minute Vinyasa practice, then sampled another wine at the end of class—a fabulous Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (my fave) by Block 13. With each tasting, Dave told us a little about the type of grape, weather, and process required to create the wines we were drinking. It was excellent for wine newbies, and interesting even for those who have some knowledge of wines.

Dave also touched again on the importance of enjoying each moment in life, and that when you want to "etch a moment in your memory," you have to experience it with all your senses. He's right...we all know that many of our most vibrant memories are conjured up by a visual connected to a sound, scent, or taste. The smell of basil always makes me think of my grandmother—she always had it growing outside the front of her home.

After class, those who wanted to stay for a full glass of either the Zin or Pinot Noir were invited to do so. I did have a full glass of the Pinot and met some new friends in the class—who were actually totally new to yoga as well. I tend to stick to myself unless someone engages me in conversation, but this environment makes it easy to get to know a stranger, as there are already two things you know you have in common with the person on the mat next to you: yoga and wine. Pretty cool, I think.

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