We recently hosted a Yin Yoga + Chocolate workshop with Third Space Wellness in Silver Spring. A chocolate pairing was a natural fit for this type of yoga. Click here for an overview of yin yoga if you are unfamiliar with it, and below you’ll find suggestions to conduct your own yoga and chocolate pairing.
Here’s why yin yoga and chocolate marry well. Chocolate should be enjoyed when you’re able to turn the “do-not-disturb” sign on and take a moment (or two or three) of silence to employ your senses and fully experience each bite. Likewise, yin yoga requires focus and awareness. Yin yoga is by no means easy. You hold a pose for several minutes, during which time your focus should be on the present and on releasing your body deeper into the pose but not to the point of pain. For someone like me who is trying each day to take time to focus on the present—on being present at least for a few minutes without reaching into past problems or speculating over future worries—integrating a chocolate pairing with yin yoga required a mindfulness that I sincerely appreciated.
If you practice yin yoga and want to introduce a chocolate tasting into your practice, here are my suggestions:
• Select a few small pieces: We enjoyed four pieces of chocolate during a two-hour workshop, pausing briefly every thirty minutes or so for chocolate and light discussion. Each piece could be consumed in two bites, and none was so rich that it would linger on the palate.
• Close your eyes: Use all of your senses when you are eating the chocolate to focus on reaching a meditative state. But I recommend finding chocolate that makes you instinctively close your eyes as you enjoy it. While you certainly want to use your sight to admire the beauty of what you are about to consume, you can focus fully on the flavors and textures in your mouth if you close your eyes. Likewise, during a yin yoga pose, I found myself closing my eyes to minimize distractions and to focus on my body and my breathing.
• Integrate the two: We incorporated the chocolate into the yin yoga practice, rather than only offering chocolate after yoga. For instance, we began with a chocolate to open the mind to fine chocolate versus adulterated chocolate/candy (for more on chocolate vs. candy, click here) and followed with a pose to open the back and upper body. As we delved further into the yoga practice, we held an opposing pose to open the chest and enjoyed chocolate that directly contrasted the chocolate with which we began.
• Sip water: Have room temperature water near you, not only to stay hydrated but to cleanse the palate.
Regardless of whether you welcome yin yoga into your life, we can all benefit from one of its teaching principles of being fully present each day.
See you on the mat,