Yoga for Foodies Turns Yoga Mat into Placemat

Tonight Southtown Yoga couples with Local Harvest for St. Louis' first yoga-food experience. Southtown owner Brigette Niedringhaus will lead an hour of vinyasa flow yoga, suitable for all skill levels. When the session culminates with its final relaxation, participants dine on a three-course vegetarian dinner, prepared by Local Harvest's Clara Moore, and served on the yoga mat.

"Dinner on the yoga mat is a new, fun, experience meant to bring your yoga practice and your eating experience together," Niedringhaus says. "People practice yoga and practice the art of eating healthy because it can nourish the soul and help you achieve balance. Combing both of these activities brings you that much closer to finding a balance physically and mentally."

It's a concept that's been brewing elsewhere. "I heard about a studio in NYC doing something similar with 'chakras and chocolate' and wanted to take it a step further with an entire three-course meal," Niedringhaus explains. "We brought this event to St. Louis to make yoga and eating well more accessible to people's daily lives."

While the ideas of physical exercise combined with dining might seem at odds, Niedringhaus sees the connection. "Yoga and food are both sensory experiences. They are very different in many ways, but the experiences have potential to complement each other. The ultimate goal of practicing yoga and eating is to nourish your body and mind, so overall you are stronger. If you eat unhealthy foods, you typically don't feel well. Same for yoga: If you don't work to align your body and mind together, there will always be a disconnect."

Chef Clara Moore's menu will focus on balances: spicy butternut and carrot soup with a sweet red pepper yogurt, crunchy bibb lettuce and pecans with creamy lentil spread, the heartiness of wheatberry risotto with earthy portobellos and sweet potatoes, and a spicy-sweet chai tea truffle for dessert.

She also sees the potential for community-building, a vital part of the yoga experience. "Kula -- community -- is very important to our students at Southtown. Many of them are close and like to share tips and advice on where to eat, what CSAs they have joined, where they shop, etc. In fact, many folks go to dinner together after class already. This brings them together in a new, creative way."

Yoga for Foodies happens tonight (Monday, March 15) at Local Harvest Café (3148 Morganford Road). Class begins at 6:30, followed immediately by dinner. At $45 per person, the class and dinner's a bargain. Reservations are required, and can be made by calling Local Harvest at 314-772-8815.

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