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Do Yoga And Booze Make A Good Cocktail?

I made a bunch of resolutions for myself for 2010, among them to attend yoga at least three times a week. For a few months last year, I actually made it to class four times a week, but the further we got into the dark season, my winter doldrums set in and I just couldn’t make it to yoga as often as I used to. At a time when I should have been going more often, I pretty much stopped altogether. And it’s only this week that I’ve gotten back on the wagon, in part because my husband has left town on business for six weeks and I need to do something to keep busy while he’s away. Now that I’m back at it, I wonder why I ever stopped. Perhaps, if my studio played pop music and offered dinner and wine after class, like another New York studio has started doing, I never would have left in the first place. But should yoga studios, of all places, be serving alcohol and grub? A new article in The New York Times explores the deeply divided opinions on the subject.“It’s a way of getting people in the door,” explains 36-year-old David Romanelli, the brainchild behind the “Yoga for Foodies” series. “The world is a better place if people do yoga. And if they come because chocolate or wine is involved, I’m fine with it.”

But not everyone else is so fine with mixing food and alcohol with the spiritual practice of yoga.

“Yoga used to be much quieter, but now there are more people, they are more activated, and they are questioning everything,” says Eva Grubler, of Dharma Yoga in New York, one of the country’s most highly regarded studios. She claims that “the true yogic path gradually and organically frees people of desire for meat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol.” She explains: “A pure yogic diet is one that is only calming: no garlic, onions or chili peppers, nothing heavy or oily. Steamed vegetables, salads and fresh juices are really the ideal.”

Sounds boring, if you ask me. No chili peppers? No alcohol? No cheese? No fun! I’m reminded of an email I received from my yoga studio in early December inviting me to a holiday brunch. “Bring tofu to scramble!” it cheerfully suggested. “But NO eggs,” it warned. I think that might have been the exact moment I fell off the yoga wagon. Sensing that someone like me — someone who not only eats eggs on a near-daily basis, but enjoys coffee and wine and other sins of the world — may not be entirely welcome there, I simply stopped showing up.

“The culture of judgment in the yoga community — I call it ‘yogier than thou’ — is rampant, and nowhere more than around food,” said Sadie Nardini, a yoga teacher in New York. It’s a sentiment I’m familiar with, but one I’ve decided to brush off for the sake of a healthy mind and body. After all, as Mr. Romanelli has proven, not every yogi is full of judgment. Some see the spiritual relevance of a great glass of wine, and yes, even pop music. [via NY Times]

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