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Yoga for Foodies: A Most Excellent Combination

A new friend, David Romanelli, led us through yoga poses aimed to slow us down in preparation to enjoy the culinary delights.
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"Slow down, you move too fast, you gotta make the moment last ... "

What had me feelin' groovy this week? A yoga-food induced buzz experienced at the hands of two of my favorite friends. A new friend, David Romanelli, led us through yoga poses aimed to slow us down in preparation to enjoy the culinary delights prepared by my old friend, Chef Akasha Richmond. Boy did they deliver! Instead of sensory overload it was sensory satisfaction and I really do credit the pre-feast yoga for mental, physical and sensory preparation.

What is "Yoga for Foodies" and how in the world did David come up with it? I grabbed David between bites to learn a little more about his current and noteworthy nationwide multi-city tour, "Jam Sessions: Yoga for Foodies."

David Romanelli says:

Part of the inspiration for Yoga for Foodies has been my traveling the nation for the better part of the last decade teaching Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine workshops which share that living in the moment does not have to mean strapping on a loin cloth, moving to India and becoming a vegan. Rather, I teach that one can embrace everyday passions (chocolate, wine, music) as accessible gateways to the present moment. In these workshops, I'd observe how much participants enjoyed taking the time after yoga to converse, chill out, relax and indulge. And it made sense that people might also enjoy slowing down before not just chocolate or wine but a gourmet meal.

After watching the movie "Food, Inc," I became really interested in the Slow Food movement which encourages fair farming and compassionate treatment of animals and, what I found most relevant to the average person like me: SLOWING DOWN. Our society puts so much emphasis on speed, efficiency and convenience, but certain things can only happen slowly over time (i.e. maturity, understanding, wisdom).

So David started this series to build upon a notion he feels is still missing from the messaging regarding a core food issue -- slow food. Well, actually, as attendees learned while we cat-cowed and downward-dog'd, the real instigator was David's loss to his girlfriend in a common "debate" -- the "remote debate" -- as in do we watch sports or do we watch the Food Channel. She won, and that's where David -- a devout foodie -- began to explore the connection between slow food and yoga. My two cents after attending: good things really can come from surrendering the remote!

David adds:

So Yoga for Foodies is about educating people on the slow food movement and particularly emphasizing that by slowing down, one is more likely to sense not just the subtleties of the soul, but also the subtle flavors of fresh, whole foods that cannot be experience in a frenzied state of mind. I think slowing down is an important and missing link in the Food Revolution that's starting to sweep the nation. People first must have the desire and means to slow down and take a deep breath before realizing that eating healthier is important. A car heading in one direction has to stop before it can go the other way.

No newbie to yoga, Chef Akasha Richmond regaled us with stories of her early days in the Kundalini yoga world. She provided a guided tasting inspired by her years of cooking for and studying with Yogi Bhajan, and discussed how his teachings influenced her style of cooking. Akasha began her professional career at Yogi Bhajan's Golden Temple Conscious Cookery, a now defunct but once popular vegetarian restaurant in Los Angeles. It was in this kitchen that Akasha discovered her passion for making delicious dishes with good-for-you ingredients.

At the event, I caught up with Akasha to discuss the delicious recipes, how she made options for omnivores, vegans, vegetarians and qualitarians (like me!) alike. "I have always loved the science of yoga, and combining it with my passion for food made for such a great event," noted Akasha.

What did I take away, other than two books with great recipes and advice on how to savor life (Richmond's "The Hollywood Dish" and Romanelli's "Yeah Dave's Guide to Livin' the Moment: Getting to Ecstasy through Wine, Chocolate, and Your iPod Playlist"), is that I fully experienced the difference in slowing down, opening my senses and allowing the food to fully nourish me.

Take a look at the menu below and if you are lucky enough to be in a city where this tour stops (the rest of the tour heads to: Memphis, Boston, Sedona and NYC). Yoga for Foodies is an experience that's bound to enhance your palate and your day!

Menu Highlights

*Ginger-mint Lemonade & Organic Mango Lassi
*Local Farm Egg and Goat Cheese Frittata, with spinach & caramelized onions
*Cumin and Coriander Spiced Lamb Sausage
*Grilled Tandoori Vegetable Salad, with Coleman farms greens, white corn, zucchini, red peppers, and chutney dressing
*Punjabi Focaccia, with holy basil pesto, heirloom tomatoes, grilled eggplant, fresh paneer