Own the moment with yoga | VailDaily.com

Own the moment with yoga

AE Yoga1 SM 7-7-07

EDWARDS ” David Romanelli is making a pie. In the middle, holding it all together, is the flowy, sweaty goodness of yoga.

Around the outside, this pie has a crust, a double crust, sometimes even triple, rolled out from music, wine and chocolate.

And it’s not just any music that makes this crust. We’re talking jammin’ tunes, like Bob Marley, The Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and Jimi Hendrix.

And it’s not just any chocolate, either. We’re talking the gourmet variety ” Vosges Haut Chocolat ” which experiments with unusual ingredients, like Tibetan goji berries and pink Himalayan salt.

The wine is pinot noir, a grape that’s temperamental to grow, but when cared for correctly, yields a delicious ruby-colored elixir of the earth.

Take a bite of Romanelli’s pie, assembled from these powerful ingredients, and the world seems to stop. With your mouth, nose, ears and heart engaged, the moment becomes crystal clear, and suddenly, it’s just you and the present.

Romanelli is a modern-day yoga teacher out of California, and some may recognize his face from Yahoo’s health page, where he writes an almost-daily blog about yoga and life.

Romanelli has developed his own distinct style of the ancient practice that blends the physical act of Vinyasa yoga (a flowing kind of hatha yoga, which matches movement with breath) with his own quirky spirituality and rock ‘n’ roll.

He’s also created three international touring workshops: Yoga + Chocolate, Yoga + Wine and Yoga + Country. Pairing these pleasure ingredients with yoga, he strives to teach his students how to be in the moment. Romanelli will teach Yoga + Wine and Yoga + Chocolate workshops at Dogma Athletica in Edwards this weekend.

“Most people don’t know how to begin to hold moments and to own the moment. Yoga gives skills and strength you don’t learn in school in how to be in the moment, and when you learn to own the moment, your whole life can be transformed,” Romanelli says. “The reason for Yoga + Chocolate and Yoga + Wine is that you can learn to embrace everyday passions ” like chocolate, like wine, like music ” as gateways to the present moment.”

The workshops teach people to experience life through all the senses, Romanelli says, to help record the moment in more ways than one.

“Like if your kids scores a big goal, you really want to remember that moment, and you have the opportunity to taste the orange slices they eat at half time, smell the grass and hear the sounds of the screaming kids,” Romanelli says. “Give yourself a chance to etch it in to the deep senses of your human being.”

At the beginning of the workshops, students will taste chocolate or take a sip of wine, which will set the tone for a 90 minute session of vinyasa yoga.

“At the end of class, after you heard great tunes and all this intellectual stuff that makes you feel good and had a good sweat, it’s incredible how much more of the chocolate you taste than before class because you don’t have any distractions. You’re not watching TV or reading the paper,” Romanelli says. “It’s a metaphor that anything in life is better when you are experiencing something in the moment.”

Romanelli’s workshops irk yoga purists, he says. People tear up the fliers and complain that it’s ruining yoga. But Romanelli just wants to share what he has learned.

“If more and more people realize through your body and breath that you have access to a natural state of peace and relaxation that’s a good thing,” Romanelli says. “And more and more people can access that when you make yoga relative to their sensibilities, whether it’s through loud music or chocolate, that’s the intention.”

Co-owner of Dogma Athletica and yoga teacher Amy Baker experienced the workshops when Romanelli was in Aspen at King Yoga. It was very different than anything she’s ever experienced before in a yoga studio, she says.

“It’s not serious,” Baker says. “It’s about cranking the tunes and having a good time.”

Romanelli says when we look back on this time of multi-tasking and Blackberries, we’re going to remember very little.

“We’re just skimming the surface and doing a million things at once,” Romanelli says. “The most important message is that we don’t have that many moments, and you have the option in your day to have a moment, where you’re not on the cell phone and you’re having a glass of wine, digging a little more into the details of life. This is a practical application of the yoga practice.”

It’s time to stop and smell the pie.

Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 748-2938, or cpence@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism