Monday, February 8, 2010
Another Look at Foodie Yoga Phenom
I'm still tingling all over from an invigorating, weekend-long yoga workshop led by yoga psychologist Ashley Turner, who helped me get into one of the deepest practices ever.
She showed us how to approach our yoga practice by understanding Chakras, or the seven power points of our bodies. Through chanting, meditation, asanas and even dancing, we learned how to open ourselves to new and sometimes more unconventional experiences.
Which brings me back to Yoga for Foodies—the new phenomenon that freaked me out when I discovered it a few weeks ago.
I circled back with Yoga for Foodies founder David Romanelli, who says the New York Times exaggerated in its depiction of his concept during a recent workshop in New York, particularly this part:
"All had signed up for a strange new hybrid of physical activity: first an hour of vigorous, sweaty yoga, then a multicourse dinner of pasta, red wine and chocolate. As soon as the lights went up, dinner was served on the floor: an (almost) seamless transition designed to allow the yogis to taste, smell and digest in a heightened state of awareness."
Romanelli says the practice is more of a downtempo Vinyasa class—not so sweaty that the room's too funky for the feast that comes after. And while the New York participants did find themselves dining on the floor, the upcoming Chicago class takes place March 8 in Province's upscale private dining room with a cocktail reception, multi-course meal, wine and dessert.
He says his classes, which he travels across the country teaching, encourage students to "plug into the moment."
"You’re stimulated in another way, and that much more able to enjoy the food. Put down the cell phones, BlackBerries and iPhones and truly enjoy the experience."
And for those who feel that his classes are not "real" yoga, he offers, "Yoga needs to keep growing, with new and interesting concepts to attract more people. So many people are turning to yoga as full-time careers, so if we expect it to grow, we need to be more accepting of other styles."
While Province owner/chef Randy Zweiban won't be participating in the actual yoga class, he will be front and center during the second half when the food is the star.
"Since this is following a yoga class, I'm not going to stuff people," says Zweiban. "We're doing five small courses, appetizers and a blood orange cocktail.
"I really like this concept because the smaller the bites, the more challenge I have to bring big flavors into the mix."
Some of the items he's whipping up include beef tenderloin and a spicy Hawaiian tuna with citrus flavors. Class is $95; reservations required as the room only holds 12; bring your mat!
If that price is a bit steep, Romanelli's also doing a number of wine+chocolate+yoga workshops at Total Body Yoga in Mundelein. March 5-7. $40 per class.