Friday, August 9, 2013

Elk Run Vineyards and Winery: Yoga and Wine in the Vineyard



Daytrip Pal mentioned she was going to a vineyard to do some yoga -- so I asked her to write about her experiences. -- Daytripgal









A Guest Blog by Daytrip Pal


If you like yoga and you like wine -- then how about yoga and wine? A couple weeks ago I tried a new thing called Yoga and Wine in the Vineyard, at Elk Run Vineyards and Winery. It combined an hour-long session of yoga followed by a wine-tasting. Yoga House owner Jennifer Topper has held two sessions so far, one at Serpent Ridge Winery and the one I attended with my friend (not Daytripgal) at Elk Run.


Jennifer thought of doing this when she noticed a similar event when she was in northern California last year. "I thought to myself that this would be a nice event to co-host with local vineyards in Maryland," she said. "Yoga is often offered at various venues, like the beach, park, the office, schools, etc., so i thought, why not at these beautiful vineyards?"

It sounded to me like an ideal way to combine two relaxing pastimes! The Elk Run event started at 7 p.m. with over an hour of outdoor yoga. It was overcast but not raining, but fortunately there was a tent so a little rain wouldn't have made much of a difference. Atlhough it's a cool idea for "girls night out," there were supportive boyfriends and husbands also participating -- so also an idea for date night. Jennifer agrees. "I couldn't be happier with the group of people attending our events. And while there are primarily women, there are quite a few men joining as well. This is a great couples event!" she said.

There were about 15 of yoga mats circled around the instructor for a relaxing hour or so of yoga poses. It was advertised as yoga for all levels, but just about everyone in the group identified themselves on the sign-in sheet as "intermediate."

Jennifer notes that these events are for ALL levels -- from beginner to advance. "We like to keep these events fun and playful and encourage beginners to give it a try," she said. "These sessions are not intimidating at all, and I've found that the majority of the students attending are beginner to intermediate."

I enjoy yoga but have rarely attended formal classes - mostly doing yoga in the comfort of my own living room with Wii Yoga or favorite Yoga videos (mostly the YOGAmazing podcast). Given my lack of formal instruction, I characterized myself as a beginner.

Turns out I kept up well with everyone else. Most of the poses were standard - lots of downward dog and warrior poses. Hard to say how a true beginner would do, but Jennifer was very good about providing options of those wanting more of a challenge as well as helping the less limber. It was beautiful doing yoga outdoors with a view of the vineyards -- very peaceful. 

Following the yoga, we went in for wine tasting. We got to select 8 wines to taste from their list of 16. Only one - the sparkling wine - was unavailable for tasting. It was your typical wine tasting with plenty of good information on the wines and vineyards. The sommeliers were very nice, informative, and helpful, and made us feel comfortable. It's worth noting that Elk Run only uses its own grapes.


And I thought this was cool: some of Elk Run's labels went up on the space shuttle Atlantis! There's a framed photograph and label inside the tasting room. And I'm now watching House of Cards on Netflix because one of Elk Run's wines will also be in the upcoming second season of the show.

Yoga and Wine cost more than a standard wine tasting, but you're getting more than a standard wine tasting (most wine tastings cost about $5, plus or minus a few bucks). For $38,you get over an hour of yoga in the vineyards, followed by a tasting of eight wines of your choice, along with fruit, chips, and cheese dip. Plus you get to keep the wine glass!

Dress for the yoga, not for the wine! Wear yoga pants or work-out pants, and a comfortable shirt or yoga shirt. And keep in mind, you're essentially upside-down in some of the poses (such as downward dog) so it's good to have a shirt that won't fall over your head and nothing falls out the, if you know what I mean!

Next scheduled Yoga and Wine in the Vineyard session is September 28th, at Elk Run Winery, from 5 - 8 pm. Jennifer is planning one more session after that before the year is over.

Getting There: depends where! Keep an eye out on Yoga House webpage or Facebook Page, or keep an eye on the events calendar at your favorite winery -- a yoga session may be coming there soon!

Websites: Elk Run Winery: http://www.elkrun.com/

Frederick Yoga House: http://www.frederickyogahouse.com/

Would you like to be a guest blogger? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested!  

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