Workshops and programs where wine and yoga make for a blissful pairing.

While some purist yogis probably balk at the combination, drinking wine and practicing yoga have more in common than it initially appears.

"Both wine and yoga encourage you to increase your awareness of yourself and the world around you," says Laura Williamson, a Tucson-based wine consultant-cum-yoga instructor. "With wine tasting, you focus on your palate while with yoga, you are aware of your body and its alignment." In addition, neither can be enjoyed in a hurry. Both demand that you slow down and focus.

Across the globe, a number of wine-loving yogis are offering workshops and programs, from one-hour vineyard classes to week-long excursions, that incorporate these two lifestyle activities. Here's a look at a few:

Virginia: At KAIZEN Studio in Lexington founder Karen Cohen offers students a regular yoga and wine workshop. The 2 1/2-hour event includes a 90-minute yoga class followed by wine from Rockbridge Vineyard, a winery in nearby Raphine.

Kentucky: At Inner Strength in Louisville, yoga instructor Sarah Ayers runs Girl's Night: Yoga and Wine. The evening is held at a student's home, where participants gather to taste wine before proceeding to a yoga practice. Ayers prefers meeting in a private home for its comfort and informality. And while it might seem counterintuitive to drink before exercising, Ayers claims that "the wine helps people relax, which makes it easier to stretch and pose."

Washington, D.C.: Every Friday evening, Evolve Yoga in Dupont  holds a class called Cocktail-asana (Hello Weekend!). After each class, students and teacher move from yoga mats to the studio's lounge area where they open a bottle of wine to share. 

Oregon: In the Willamette Valley, yoga teacher Nichole Taylor runs Vino & Vinyasa, a vineyard yoga class—they move inside to the barrel rooms for the winter months—that's followed afterwards with a wine tasting.

Sicily, Italy: Escape To Shape bills itself as a traveling fitness spa, and their upcoming 2010 trip to Sicily incorporates daily yoga classes with wine tasting at several vineyards near Mount Etna. Maintaining their theme of keeping things local, the company's jaunt to St. Petersburg, Russia, has vodka outings on the itinerary, while the trip to Zihuatanejo, Mexico pairs yoga with Tequila tastings.

Worldwide: David Romanelli, a.k.a "Yeah Dave," first conceived of mixing yoga and wine in 2004. Today he and yoga master Angela Gargano of Bliss Flow Yoga lead yoga and wine retreats all over the world with one planned for Buenos Aires in spring, 2010. "Yoga practice helps us to slow down, so that we can fully appreciate the flavors of food and wine that much more," says Gargano.


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