Yoga and the art of abstaining or indulging

Margaret Kruszewska

A while ago I heard of a “Yoga and Chocolates” class (why didn’t I think of that!) and this week The New York Times does a piece about yoga and wine retreats! That’s right, contrary to what you think a yogi should or should not be “doing”- wine has been enjoyed by many a yogini or two!

Beyond the hilarity of the debate, the issue of alcohol (as well as chocolates, sex and a number of other things; sometimes all together too!) often divides a room of yoga teachers into those who believe that the two just don’t mix, and those who think it makes a great combination.  The article reflects the sentiments in the yoga community which in turn reflect different approaches to deeper issue such as the role of stimulants, altered states, sexual pleasures, dancing, eating etc. 

If you’ve been following my blog entries and articles, you’re probably already familiar with my take on how yoga has come about through many differing streams of interpretations.  Many of them can be categorized according to how they address issues of bodily and physical pleasures.  There is the abstain-because- it’-a- lower -vibration camp (which aligns with Judeo Christian beliefs) and the indulge-cause-it’s-all-good camp.  As a historical correction to the article, the Everything In Moderation camp isn’t very native to India (anyone who has traveled in India knows that it’s more like Everything In Excess there!)

Personally, I’m from the For Everything There Is A Season camp- meaning that I’ve abstained when I felt I needed to do that for building my energy or clearing purposes and whooped it up when I felt I needed to do that! And I feel my spirits may be lifting in the next few weeks, whether on the dance floor or toasting with a glass of my home made honey vodka –  to your health!

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