There is a popular meme: To relieve stress I do yoga. Just kidding. I drink wine in yoga pants.
It is funny because for most of us it is true, myself included.
I could not, however, resist Yoga in the Vines at Raptor Ridge Winery - a chance to do yoga at a vineyard. A small group, about a dozen, sat waiting on our yoga mats. The instructor surveyed the group and we were a mix of first timers, zealous yogis, and the occasional practitioner. I am in the third group. I do own a yoga mat. It is a great cushion for watching television on the floor.
Our class began with a meditative walk led by Annie Shull of Raptor Ridge. We were to walk quietly and super slowly. Immediately I lost both of my strengths - walking fast and talking. We got to choose our path through the vineyard. I began to meditate and then to think. Oh, look the grapevines are starting to flower. Do I hear a chicken? Is that a pond ahead? Squirrel?
Back inside we spent the next two hours practicing flow and restorative yoga. The tasting room glass walls were rolled up and we were treated with a vineyard breeze. From atop Chehalem Mountain we had a great view of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt St. Helens, and a ghost of a view of Mt. Rainier. My right hip was toward the back corner and my left toward the vines. Breathe.
There were two instructors Nikki Dwigans and Irene Laney of Yoga IN. Irene circulated to correct positions. I have no idea how the gentle adjustments felt so amazing but I was tempted to purposefully make mistakes so Irene would come back.
The restorative portion was my favorite part. We got to lie on the heated floor, yes heated, with a blanket supporting our lower backs. It was full permission to do nothing but relax.
While being restored we were to notice where our minds had led us during the session. Mine was on the wine tasting and small bites that were to follow. Mmm, that is my happy place.
The tasting included the 2014 Estate Gruner Veltliner, 2012 Raptor Ridge Estate Pinot Noir, 2012 Meredith Mitchell Pinot Noir, and 2012 Folin Vineyard Tempranillo. Each was paired with courses of roasted asparagus and cauliflower soup, homemade bread and Mediterranean collard wraps, honey and cinnamon roasted chickpeas, and mini carrot cupcakes with maple cream cheese frosting. I may be a yoga novice, but I know wine and food. Everything was delicious. The group chatted and mingled. It was the perfect end to the evening. The food was prepared by Nourishment Food and Yoga, Irenes culinary venture. She is not only an excellent yoga instructor but a trained chef who caters events for Raptor Ridge.
Yoga in the Vines is a great experience to do alone or with a friend. There are upcoming sessions with wine and food pairings at Raptor Ridge June 21, Aug. 16 and Nov. 5. Tickets may be purchased here: www.yogain.net/events/b2vfobl3k2n2xcbew7544wirqwspe3 . Raptor Ridge also offers drop-in yoga classes every Tuesday at 6 p.m. The winery is 25 miles southeast of Portland. Cheers and Namaste.
Jade Helm is the primary author of Tasting Pour, a wine blog. Based in Oregon she is a Diplomate of the Wine and Spirits Education Trust of London and a Certified Specialist of Wine, Society of Wine Educators. Visit tastingpour.com.