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Yoga for Foodies

January 29, 2011

When I was a much younger, newly married woman, my mother introduced me to a type of exercise that involved stretching. She didn’t know anything about where the exercises came from, but she told me that after she did them, she felt very relaxed. She gave me a copy of the 5 ‘asanas’ and I decided to give them a try. A few weeks later, I learned that the ‘asanas’ were exercises from the ancient art of Hatha Yoga.

I thoroughly enjoyed the stretches and began to seek out books that described the slow stretching exercises. I found Richard Hittleman’s “Yoga: 28 Day Exercise Plan.” This little book guided the practitioner through a slow progression of yoga and included meditation at the end of each session. From Hittleman, I graduated to Kathleen Hitchcock’s Hatha Yoga program on WMVS, a Milwaukee based PBS station. Every night between 10 and 10:30, I would stretch with Kathleen, and I was left with a feeling of serenity and peace.

These memories were the inspiration behind my New Year’s resolution to get back to yoga. I have tried at times in the past but I never found a teacher or routine that gave me the same feelings as Richard Hittleman or Kathleen Hitchcock. I had practiced hatha (physical) yoga and the style had been slow stretches that one held for a period of 10 seconds, 20 seconds or a minute. Most of the yoga I found was more a Vinyasa style—faster, with a focus on breathing through the movements. It’s a vigorous style and I was looking for the slower stretching style. I decided to ask the only yogi I knew in Madison—Angela Gargano owner of Bliss Flow Yoga and Wellness Center.

Michael and I knew Angela, through her father Peppino Gargano, long-time restaurateur in Madison. I visited Angela’s website and found a Yoga for Foodies workshop featuring David Romanelli. “This is perfect!” I contacted Angela and Michael and I decided to attend the 90-minute yoga session, led by Romanelli and enjoy some delicious food prepared by Gargano’s mother, Kathy Griswold.

Gargano and Romanelli have combined their talents many times in the past. Having grown up around good food and the restaurant business, Gargano possesses a unique knowledge of food and wine. As a certified sommelier, Gargano has successfully paired yoga with wine and along with Romaelli conducts yoga and wine getaways to California’s Napa and Sonoma valleys. She has also paired yoga with chocolate and good food. Her philosophy is that yoga opens one’s physical body through movement and thereby allows a more sensual experience when tasting food or wine after a vigorous yoga session.

We arrived at the Bliss Flow studio on University Avenue shortly before the class began and were introduced to Romanelli. We picked up our mats and made our way to the beautiful studio where approximately 20 other students were waiting. We positioned our mats and soon the class began. Romanelli started with a down dog, then up dog, then plank positions. Within minutes I was sweating and my arms were quivering with the new movements. Romanelli does the more popular Vinyasa style of yoga and although I am somewhat old and rusty, I was able to keep up with the movements—not ‘master the movements’ or even do them particularly well, but I was able to keep up. Interjected throughout the routine, Romanelli relates humorous tales or offers poignant quotes while music plays in the background. At times he read from his book, “Livin’ the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy through Wine, Chocolate and your iPod Playlist.”

As the session drew to a close, Romanelli applied lavender oil on each participant. The aroma offered a soothing sensation as we finished the workout. We were now ready to partake of the feast prepared by Griswold (complete with a focus on Wisconsin products): Welsh pasties, roasted vegetable salad, crostini with pears, brie and pomegranate seeds, and home made macaroni and cheese (made with Sprecher ale).

The food was delicious, the yoga was invigorating and my New Year’s resolution was achieved—I had made my way back to yoga.



2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 16, 2011 9:00 pm

    thnx bro

  2. February 17, 2011 5:17 am

    Great blog , thanks for the post!

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