world's largest yoga class, to Cape Cod, where I demonstrated how to integrate gomukasana into the sunscreen application process, back to Boston to teach at the Urban Yoga Retreat, back to the Cape, and, again, home to Boston. Later this month, I'll be venturing West on a couple yoga adventures. First up: Yoga Rocks the Mountain, a yoga and music festival held in Aspen, CO from July 16-18.
Upon reviewing the lineup of presenting yoga teachers and musical performers, I quickly notice several familiar faces, including fellow yoga blogger, teacher, and contributing voice on Intent.com, David Romanelli. While we've never formally met, our paths intersect often (largely in cyber space). I wanted to get his take on Yoga Rocks the Mountain and thought OmGal.com readers might enjoy learning more about him as well. After all, his teaching style frequently incorporates nontraditional elements into yoga class, such as wine and chocolate.
I know what you're thinking: You invented yoga with wine and chocolate. Unfortunately, drinking too much red wine and passing out in sivasana with a bar of dark chocolate in one hand doesn't really count. Hey, don't shoot the messenger . . .
Instead, Dave's approach uses yoga as a prelude to meaningful meals among like-minded people, who may not otherwise sit down together and break bread. He also uses yoga as the platform for generating awareness and appreciation of the slow food movement. Here's what else he had to say about his latest Yoga for Foodies workshops, Yoga Rocks the Mountain, and my feeble attempt to persuade him to root for the Phoenix Suns rather than the LA Lakers.
OG: To what are you most looking forward at Yoga Rocks the Mountain?
DR: I live in the desert [Arizona], so I'm looking forward to cool, starry nights. Also, I'm excited to be part of a movement toward a younger generation of yoga events. Until recently, yoga events followed a standard educational format, whereas now, with Yoga Rocks the Mountain and Wanderlust, for example, there are new options.
OG: Were you a foodie first, or a yogi?
DR: I wouldn't even really classify myself as a "foodie." I'm more interested in creating an environment for people to enjoy food.
OG: What are your workshops like?
DR: Yoga for Foodies is all about introducing people to the slow food movement: getting in touch with local food producers and the compassionate treatment of animals (such as buying cage-free eggs and grass fed beef). . . [The format is] one-hour of yoga [followed by] a one-hour guided meal, led by the chef.
At this point, we detour into a conversation about the controversial territory of serving, eating, or promoting meat, poultry, and/or fish among yogis. It's a topic we've discussed on OmGal.com before, featuring some very insightful reader comments (as always, thank you). Dave says he's become more aware and sensitive to this potentially hot topic since beginning his workshops, in part because the first chef with whom he collaborated was vegan. Still, his approach to food is inclusive rather than restrictive. He openly admits to eating meat/poultry/fish on a weekly basis and insists that he is careful to maintain his respect for the slow food movement, with its emphasis on knowing from where your dinner hails and how it was prepared.
It's an enjoyable chat, with many common threads to discuss . . . with one exception. He's a Lakers fan. I, as you probably know, root for the Celtics. Always have. Always will. So, I feel compelled to ask:
You live in AZ, shouldn’t you be a Suns fan?
At this, he laughs.
Originally from California, he insists that he's always cheered for purple and gold. He cites key games from the 80s, the era of Bird and Magic/Magic and Bird that first inspired his loyalty to the current NBA champs. At this, I know he's the real deal--not one one of those fair-weather LA types who wears sunglasses inside the Staples Center, spends the whole game on their cell phone, and probably can't name one other player on the roster other than Kobe Bryant. The only thing worse than a poser sports fan is a poser yogi. Gratefully, our interview unearths that Dave Romanelli is neither.
He's headed to teach now, and I'll be buried in a few writing projects for the remainder of the afternoon. I'm thankful for the connection and look forward to seeing Dave, other talented teachers, and friends from the yoga world in Aspen in a few weeks.
Before my next task, though, I take a moment to have a small bite to eat. All this talk about yoga for foodies has made me hungry. "People forget how special food is . . . Delicious food plugs you into the moment," I recall Dave saying. As I step away from my laptop and dig into a scrumptious, organic snack, I realize he's right.
Photo credit: sacrebleuwine.com