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Child’s pose at YogaBalance Studio. Courtesy photo.




Asanas & Ales

When: Saturday, March 5, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tasting until 1 p.m.
Where: 603 Brewery, 12 Liberty Drive, Londonderry
Tickets: $15 per person
Visit: zinzenyoga.com to register
 
Yoga & Chocolate with Dancing Lion Chocolate
When: Saturday, March 12, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Where: YogaBalance, 135 Hooksett Road, Manchester
Tickets: $55 by March 5, $60 after
Visit: yogabalance.info to register




Yogis and foodies
Taste beer and chocolate, post yoga

03/03/16
By Allie Ginwala aginwala@hippopress.com



 This month, two yoga studios are debuting workshops that involve more than just a mat and yoga pants. YogaBalance and Dancing Lion Chocolate in Manchester join together for Yoga and Chocolate while Zin-Zen Yoga of Bedford is heading to 603 Brewery for Asanas & Ales, each offering guests the chance to follow their yoga practice with a special tasting.

The growing trend of partnering yoga with a chocolate, beer or wine tasting may seem odd, but those running the upcoming workshops hope their events will encourage yogis and foodies to step out and try something new. 
 
The perfect pairing 
Sara Gow, marketing and event coordinator at 603 Brewery, first got the idea of bringing yoga to the brewery during a craft brewers festival in Massachusetts.
“One of the breweries there was talking about how they had recently rolled out a brewery yoga program and it was going really well,” Gow said in a phone interview. “It was filling a typically slower time [at the brewery], but also appealing across the board to a wider demographic.”
Around the same time Michelle Fabbrini, owner of Zin-Zen Yoga in Bedford, was looking to add a yoga and craft beer pairing to her repertoire.
“We do yoga plus wine so … I thought since we already have that background that it would be something cool to add as well,” Fabbrini said in a phone interview. “Both yoga and craft breweries are trending and growing businesses, so I think it’s a cool aspect to merge the two.”
She reached out to 603, but at the time they were in the midst of expanding their production, so trying to figure out where to host a yoga class in the brewery wasn’t an option. But with everything now settled, Gow and Fabbrini are excited to host a class right in the production facility with a tasting in the taproom to follow.
Also joining the trend of yoga and tastings is YogaBalance of Manchester, which will host a yoga and chocolate workshop with Dancing Lion Chocolate.
“We host workshops every month, but never anything like this,” Katherine White, manager of YogaBalance, said in a phone interview. “We have connections with Dancing Lion — one of their staff members comes here — and we thought it would be a great way to work together.”
Gow fields questions from folks who don’t see how yoga and a beer tasting can be related, even though she pointed out that lots of breweries host 5K races or other athletic events. 
“That has become commonplace, but I’m sure if you talked to people 10 years ago they [would have said], ‘Why would you set up a brewery tent after they run 10 miles?’” she said. 
The way White sees it, yoga does go well with beer, wine and chocolate because they all involve a focus on one’s senses. 
“Yoga is all about becoming present and learning how to center yourself with the world around you, and one of the ways we do that is with the senses. ...We wanted to explore how in a very tangible and real way, how do we get in touch with our senses?” White said. “Yoga and wine or yoga and chocolate, what you’re actually doing is making it really fun and accessible. People can be introduced to a yoga practice, but it’s also a combination of people’s favorite things.”
Fabbrini likes pairing practice with tasting because it’s a way to introduce a sense of community that can be lacking in yoga studios.
“Usually in a studio atmosphere you do your class and you leave and I thought this was a great way to build a little community,” she said. “With yoga … in addition to the physical practice it helps you unwind and find a place of more peace and relaxation, so I think that is a great way to enjoy the weekend and find that state of relaxation and bliss.”
Backbends and brews
Asanas & Ales at 603 Brewery will start with an hour-long practice suited for yogis of all experience levels. 
“I’m going to be thinking more about having it be a versatile practice, because we’re hoping to expand the demographics,” Fabbrini said. “It will give an authentic yoga experience, but trying to make it more accessible and less intimidating.”
At 12:30 p.m., the class will head into the taproom to enjoy their choice of two 4-ounce samples. 
“We have a lot of brewer’s choice beers in small batches, seasonal [beers] … instead of us dictating we’ll let them choose their own adventure,” Gow said. 
 
Chocolate and child’s pose
At YogaBalance, the workshop begins with a 30-minute practice that White said will be introspective with mindfulness and guided meditation to help prepare for the “chocolate experience” to follow. The 90-minute chocolate experience, led by Dancing Lion owner and master chocolatier Richard Tango-Lowy, will touch on where to place chocolate on your tongue when tasting, along with details about where the beans come from and how that impacts the taste.
“I think … chocolate and yoga is tapping into this idea of simplicity, coming back to simple pleasures,” White said. “People think yoga isn’t about pleasure, but I think ... yoga is about cultivating more joy in our lives and I think this is a great way to do that.” 





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