Yoga instructor promotes tranquility, healthful food
Escaping from a hectic world and finding your inner peace is a fundamental goal of yoga.
David Romanelli, co-founder of Phoenix’s At One Yoga and Los Angeles resident, believes that food should be enjoyed with that same mind-set as well.
So he’s created Yoga for Foodies. Participants will experience yoga instruction and enjoy gourmet, environmentally conscious foods post-workout.
Romanelli has done similar national tours involving wine and chocolate, and decided to apply the same concept to full meals. He was convinced to start the tour after watching the documentary “Food, Inc.,” which is about the environmentally harmful practices that go into corporate farming.
“For the last six years I have been traveling around the country teaching different interpretations of the same concept of savoring life, slowing down and really enjoying the simple things,” he said.
Yoga for Foodies teaches people to savor the things in life you love before having a great meal.
The activity starts with a one hour vinyasa flow class, where Romanelli plays more upbeat music, such as Bob Marley, for a modern and less traditional class. Romanelli said this was fundamental when he and Ian Loupitan founded At One Yoga in 1998 in Phoenix.
“We wanted to make the experience more relevant, so we may play hip-hop music in class to break out of the stereotypes, and make it more modern,” he said. “So many people who do yoga have to face themselves for 90 minutes and we make it more inviting for people, and allow teachers to have more freedom.”
The same concept of modernizing the yoga experience went into creating Yoga for Foodies. Many yoga purists are vegetarians, and scoff at the idea of eating meat or drinking wine, but Romanelli doesn’t want to have any limitations in his experience.
“There is so much success in the yoga industry, and it needs to evolve and connect with all kinds of people,” he said. “If you say people can’t get into the club if you’re not a vegetarian, you keep people away. The world would be a better place is everyone was doing yoga.”
The second half of the event involves tasting different foods and learning about where they come from. Besides just providing high-end, gourmet food, Romanelli hopes to teach participants about locally produced and sustainable options.
So, he invited Patty Emmert, director of Slow Food Phoenix. The organization has chapters all over the world, and focuses on providing sustainable, healthful food for consumers and supporting local producers.
“The event brings back the awareness level of eating because these days we are not participating in the nourishing our bodies,” Emmert said. “There is a holistic view all around, not just with yoga and mindfulness but a nourishment aspect as well.”
Emmert added that yoga helps people be conscious of what they put in their bodies rather than just grabbing something on the run and not thinking.
Emmert is also a chef at the Phoenix Public Market, and hasn’t decided what she is going to serve yet. She said she plans to find inspiration from foods that are fresh and seasonal the day of the event.
Romanelli is bringing this activity around to other big cities in the country, and is working to get in touch with those Slow Food chapters as well. He hopes to expand this idea to a broader audience, and make it light and fun for everyone.
“Not only do I want to bring more attention to the food revolution, but I want to bridge the gap between the yoga and food worlds so people will take a deep breath and stop going so fast,” he said.
“We all need to put away our machines and be fully engaged in the moment, and eat an exotic piece of chocolate, have a good glass of wine or enjoy an amazing meal, and take in the day.”
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