You may have seen the video of Yoga for Wine Lovers, which features an agile yogi practicing advanced poses while simultaneously downing a bottle of red wine.
We're not sure when it happened, but yoga and wine have become a popular pairing. Yoga teacher Dave Romenelli has carved a niche with foodies and wine lovers with his Yoga + Wine classes. Connecticut's Chamard Vineyard hosts summer yoga classes outdoors in view of the vines. At the Wanderlust yoga-music festival, you can take a break from practice for wine tasting. And that's only the beginning: other yoga-wine events are popping up at vineyards, studios, and yoga gatherings around the country.
We are always fascinated at the way modern yoga integrates other aspects into the practice. But what does traditional yoga have to say about this particular combination? We asked James Bennitt, a Tantric vinyasa yoga teacher in Chicago, and a student of Rod Stryker.
"There is no mention of alcohol in the yamas or niyamas," says Bennitt. "However in Chapter 1, verse 59 of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, probably the most important text as far as the physical aspect of yoga goes, there is a list of 'foods' that are to be avoided by the yogi and, sure enough, alcohol is one of them."
Bennitt continues: "Believe me, I'm not happy about this as I love craft beer." He doesn't say that everyone has to follow these guidelines, but they work for him: "Personally, I have finally come to the conclusion that I feel better if I avoid alcohol all together. Even small amounts on a regular basis are hard on your kidneys, adrenal glands and liver. A glass of wine or beer once in a while isn't the worst thing in the world, but when it becomes a habit, it is depleting to the system, not to mention clouds your judgment. For me, yoga is very much about building energy as well as clarity--not depleting yourself of them."
How does alcohol fit in with your yoga lifestyle?