Eat, Pray, Love and Practice Your Upward-Bending Elbow

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The principles guiding classical yoga practice are pretty clear on the topic of recreational alcohol use: Basically, the Sanskrit texts say "don't go there."

But yoga studios are increasingly incorporating food and drink into their programming, and this weekend provides an opportunity for them to do so with gusto. The release of Eat, Pray, Love -- the film version of Elizabeth Gilbert's chronicle of devouring and down-dogging her way across three countries -- has occasioned a spate of tie-in events, including a Friday night wine reception and viewing party sponsored by Yoga Island in Flower Mound.

"We try to shake it up," owner Suzette Cole explains. "This isn't India, you know. This is still Texas."

A few weeks ago, Yoga Island invited a chef to prepare grilled vegetable fajitas for students in a vinyasa class. Cole credits food-focused gatherings with helping to create a stronger yogic community.

"We want to incorporate some fun stuff," she says.

So much for asceticism. Like Gilbert, many yoga practitioners today feel their spiritual pursuits can be advanced both by asanas and single-origin chocolate. As The New York Times reported earlier this year, bendy locavores don't see anything wrong with celebrating the earth's edible bounty, including wine.

"You can never say no to the grape," Cole says


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