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The Importance of Sisterhood

Lauren Aiello

Image by: Chelsea VonChaz

Image by: Chelsea VonChaz

 

 

Truth. Community. Self-love. Belonging. What do these words mean to you?

 

I have had days that sometimes turn into months, in which I feel like I am riding through life utterly alone. I have experienced the kind of solitude that has made me feel like the world is slipping away, and there is nothing to grasp. It’s like I spent my whole life looking for my tribe, looking for company in which I could better find myself. I am a yogi. I am a daughter, a sister, a friend. I am a survivor. I am divine. I am love. Sometimes I talk too much. Sometimes I can’t stop crying. Sometimes I choose comfort over courage. I have moments in which I love my body, and moments in which I wish I was not me. Sometimes my mind is a sanctuary of Truth and liberation, other times it is a seemingly endless loop of self-doubt and anxiety.  Do you know that all too real feeling that no one will ever understand your Truth or see your soul?  These are the private lives we all live, that no one sees, and they are so damn beautiful: the girl who sings too loudly in the car, the girl who still makes it to yoga class on days when it’s the hardest, the girl who still continues to love despite her wounds..., she is the giving sister, the dedicated daughter, the woman who looks in the mirror naked and sees lines in her skin as beautiful and telling as rings in a tree.  There are infinite possibilities of who I am and have the potential to be in any given moment. Those feelings of being silenced, different, and alone are valid and powerful, but they do not have to rule my consciousness. They do not have to rules yours either. Things can be different.

 

It is because we, too, at Women, Wine & Yoga, know these dark corners, that we decided to take matters into our own hands and create a sacred, loving, sisterhood -- a non-nuclear, non-traditional, non-judgemental family. Here, we come together to honor our shadow sides. We also give ourselves and each other the freedom to accept the intensity of our brightness. We invite you to join us, sit around our table, give a stranger a hug.

 

It is our mission to provide a safe space for you to be YOU. To practice your yoga, live your truth, and discover your community in which you feel free to walk amongst others as if you are safe at home. No judgement. No comparison. No silencing. Free to be all the parts of yourself at once - or something entirely different. We have experienced a deep lack of safe spaces in our lives and it is our honor and privilege to attempt to build this sacred platform for us all.


Dana Falsetti aka @nolatrees, yoga teacher, writer and vocal advocate for higher consciousness, has always been an advocate for sharing vulnerability and reality. And in light of her current fight against the corporate yoga industry, we are more inspired than ever to make change.  We want Women, Wine & Yoga to be a place of security, inspiration, exploration and support for you. That being said, in the spirit of @nolatrees, Women, Wine & Yoga has decided to make a conscious effort to represent the real you, our family, in all of your diversity.

As a young company, we need to recognize that our voice has power.  From now on, more so than ever before, we are choosing to be conscious of what images we are promoting. We are real women, who want to acknowledge the beauty, intelligence, resilience, body types, skin color, ages and voices of other real women in this community. It is so important that when we scroll through Instagram we do not see the same bodies every day, wearing the same clothes as a full representation of what yoga in the western world is. This is a call to you, our dearest friends and deepest inspirations, send us images of you practicing with the hashtag #realwomanyoga and #womenwineandyoga.  We want to feature you, we want to represent your bodies, minds and souls, we want to share your stories so that all of us have equal representation in this global community. Please, speak up... we will listen.

I am love. We are love.

Lauren Aiello

 

Guest post by yoga instructor, Beth Belkin

"...Beth has been practicing yoga since 2004 and wholeheartedly believes in finding balance in all aspects of life....She has spent the last two years traveling and living abroad, optimizing her own personal health, teaching and studying yoga...." Read more about Beth.

 

A note on partner yoga:

As we approach Valentine’s day and our urban day-retreat, I am called to reflect upon the many ways I open my heart through yoga. While yoga is an individual experience that takes place on our own mats, I find that one of the most meaningful aspects of coming to a yoga class is the connection made with the other people practicing around us. I find practicing partner yoga to be one of the most intimate ways we are able to connect with other people. It could be as subtle as looking into the eyes of another person as you practice, or as direct as actually leaning on the back of another in an assisted backbend or partner tree pose - when we are trusting another person to literally have our back is truly where the magic happens. It also happens to be a blast!

Although at the root of partner yoga, is vulnerability. And as life has it, trust can be a scary thing at times. It takes courage and a little leap of faith, but each time we open ourselves to this exchange we simultaneously open ourselves to the possibility of new friendship, more honest communication, and a deeper connection that we are able to honor. By practicing partner yoga, we get to experience all the wonders of the yoga posture just with the help and support of another person, which often helps us get into the posture even more. Most of all, we get to walk away feeling something more than a good stretch.

I am so thrilled to teach the upcoming Women, Wine & Yoga Valentine's event because what a great excuse to come together and practice a little partner yoga in light of celebrating connection and community! You're invited to bring a partner, a friend or come solo - the sequence we will be practicing will have a postures for us to experience what it feels like to be vulnerable in a safe environment by relying on the help of one another. This type of practice will leave you feeling more open and mindful of the connections we make with others and how such a partner practice can impact our life off the mat.

This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to be open. To be open to connection and vulnerability. To stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying something new whether it be your first yoga class, trying your first few partner poses, or inviting someone special to experience this practice with you.  It is a wonderful opportunity to observe how placing trust in another person can create a greater sense of self love, which ultimately makes anything possible. 

I am love. We are love.

 

Hope to see you on your mat! 

 

Learn more about the upcoming Valentine's Event: http://www.womenwineandyoga.com/valentines-day/valentines-day-special-event

 

Turning Inward

Lauren Aiello

Fall in Napa Valley

Fall in Napa Valley

 

The autumn equinox has come and gone, and fall is officially in the air.

 

I have been thinking about what the fall season means to me. I have never liked saying goodbye to summer. Really, summer is my identity. It is the free spirit that I am. It is the smell of the ocean breeze when you roll your windows down as you are finding a perfect parking spot at a crowded beach. It is the smell of a BBQ, or sound of a pool party. It is the time of year when it is socially acceptable to wear a bathing suit as a substitute for undergarments. It is the time of year where I can get away with beach hair and no makeup because my tan looks that good. It is when I can listen to reggae and feel at home… I could keep going… Admittedly so, I don’t particularly like that I am uneager to welcome in the fall season. Truth is, I’m not very good at letting go.

 

Maybe it’s because when you take away all of the stimulating buzz of summer, what are you left with?

 

Turning inward.

 

It is a simple math equation. But wait – turning inward means getting real. Turning inward means vulnerability. Turning inward means… I don’t want to turn inward. It is so much easier to stay complacent. To stay in my comfort zone. There is no risk of failure. Or hurt or unease. Can’t we always live life in the summer time? I know deep down that would get us nowhere as a human race. Nor is it possible to avoid change. Time passes, and seasons will always change. So here we are at the turning point of autumn. We can’t stop it; all we can do is ride the wave. Go with the flow and embrace.

 

I would like to use this time as a time to shed. Shed my leaves of what no longer serves me. Make room for what does. I would like to offer gratitude for the great abundance in my life, for the people I meet, the relationships I have, the opportunities I receive, and the love all around me, always. I would like to shed old habits of self-doubt, critical thinking, relationships that no longer serve me, and beliefs that no longer serve me.

 

Sometimes I expect life to be a steady ride. To always be summer time. I forget we are one with nature. We are always one with nature. The more we can tap into the cycle of our seasons as human beings – the highs, the lows, the celebrations, the losses, times of creativity, times of stagnation... the more we can honor the flow of life and understand ourselves. Turning inward is where all the work happens. And turning inward is something I am choosing to embrace this fall season.  I hope to encourage you to do the same.

Go with the flow.

 

Lauren Aiello

Founder of Women, Wine & Yoga

 

Some inspiring affirmations I have gathered over the years that help me:

Feel free to try some of these on and see how they fit :)

 

  • All is well
  • I call to me my clarity
  • I call to me my prosperity
  • I call to me my abundance
  • I call to me my peace. I call to me my power. Right now
  • Miracles find me
  • I am open to receiving
  • I am love. I love.

People of Passion

Lauren Aiello

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it. - Buddha

In this issue:

PASSION interviews with Yoga in the Vineyard day retreat facilitators

By Lauren Aiello, Founder of Women, Wine & Yoga


Q:

What inspired you to follow your passion?

 

What do you love about the work you do?

 

What can we look forward to experiencing at
Yoga in the Vineyard? 


Yoga Instructor, Karen Wiggins 

 Winemaker, Mike Embly 

Meditation guide, Alexandria Romero

Chef Patrice Hadsell

Learn more about the founder of Women, Wine & Yoga
"Why Women, Wine & Yoga?"
- By Lauren Aiello
 READ MORE


 

Interview with yoga instructor, Karen Wiggins:

 

Q: What inspired you to start practicing yoga?

A:  "I initially started practicing Iyengar based yoga at the rec center in college at UCSD, as a means of exercise and to maintain the level of strength and flexibility I had in high school. At that time, I enjoyed the physical challenge of yoga and attempting new creative poses. I continued to practice on and off over the years, but it wasn't until much later in life that I realized the deeper benefits of a regular yoga practice. After my twins were born, I desperately needed something more than just an exercise regime. At one of my lowest points when the babies were just weeks old, I remember my husband saying, "either go on medication or go to yoga." I chose yoga. In addition to regaining my muscle tone and flexibility through a regular Astanga yoga practice, I was able to reconnect with my sense of self and find stillness in my mind. Yoga offered exactly what I needed to replenish myself, to be a better mother to my babies and a better human being. I have maintained a regular practice ever since. My twins are now 13 years old, and I still need my yoga, just as much, if not more, than I did when they were tiny.  Over the years, I have practiced with some amazing inspiring teachers and have taken it upon myself to deepen my understanding of yoga. After completing my first yoga training, I was encouraged by my instructor to begin teaching yoga at her studio. I've been a classroom teacher for almost 20 years, so it was a natural progression for me want to share the practice of yoga with others. I continue to be both a student and teacher of yoga, it's become an integral part of my life journey."

 

Q: What do you love about being a yoga instructor? 

A:  "I love being able to share the amazing benefits of yoga with others! Most people, and I find women in particular, don't take enough time out of their day to be still, concentrate on their breath, and stay in the present moment. We feel guilty if we want to give ourselves a "time out" when there are so many other things that we are "supposed" to accomplish. I enjoy teaching people how to reconnect with their breath, to learn to celebrate and accept what their bodies can do, and uncover a sense of stillness and calm within themselves. My favorite part of the class is when I bring my students out of savasana and we close our practice with namaste. The softened faces, gentle smiles, and beaming energy emanating from each person makes it all incredibly worth while!"

 

Q: What can we look forward to experiencing at Yoga in the Vineyard? 

A:  "I am so very excited for this day! I will lead my students through a 60 minute all levels vinyasa flow class. I will offer specific instruction and modifications to make the class accessible to all students. We'll begin by sitting quietly and reconnecting with our breath, learning to breath deeply and fully as we move through our poses. As we become aware of our what our bodies and mind require, we'll set an intention for our practice.  Next, we'll systematically warm up the body with simple stretches. Eventually we'll move through a series of standing poses, linking the sequence together in a flow. Finally we'll bring it back down to the mat and wind down our practice with a sequence of seated postures. The class will end with a final peaceful savasana to integrate all the physical work of the class. In this manner, I will offer a well rounded balanced yoga practice to properly prepare us for the mindful day ahead." 


Interview with Hungry Hawk Vineyards winemaker, Mike Embly:

 

Q: What do you love about the work you do?  

A:  "All of it. You have to as a winemaker. Winemaking can be a tiresome and demanding job. You are working directly with Mother Nature, and often times you are on her time.  You have to love the 5AM morning picks during harvest, you have to be able to go with the flow when a heat spell or frost comes your way, you have to have patience to watch a grapevine grow, and you certainly have to have patience to age wine long enough before you can even share it with anyone. Although, at the end of the day, all of that is worth it for me – I love the connection to the land, I love getting creative with my winemaking, and I truly enjoy sharing my wine with others.  I also love that each year is different from one to the next. It is not a monotonous job and there is excitement around winemaking."

 

Q: What can we expect to learn with you at Yoga in the Vineyard? 

A:  "I look forward to hosting retreats for Women, Wine & Yoga because I love to show others how we make wine here. I will guide you on a tour of our vineyard, processing room, and barrel room, where we will learn how grapes are grown and how the wine is made. You will see how much time we spend in the vineyard tending to the grapes. You will see that we treat every one of our 15 varietals differently. And how differently we process and ferment the grape - this year we are making a 100% Cabernet Franc wine and we have 5 different fermentations going with 5 different yeast strains and vessels. Each will go through its own fermentation process, although with major differences in tastes and mouthfeels… At the end we will blend all 5 lots together. This is a fun wine making experiment for us to do and has become a popular wine for our customers as well. 

During the wine tasting portion, we will taste 5 different wines: 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, 2015 Chardorino, 2015 Alberino, 2014 Cabernet Franc and 2014 Syrah Noir. Which have all been paired with your meal. You will learn the fundamentals of wine tasting as we taste the wine together. Wine tasting is a multi-sensory experience which everyone has their own individual experience of as well. Wine tasting can really be a soulful experience. Just as this land can be very spiritual if you allow it, which is why we love hosting retreats for Women, Wine & Yoga. You can really take in the beauty and the quiet. And you can truly relax up here."

 

Q: How has the 2016 harvest been for you?

A:  "Pretty good! Things have been going quite normal. We did start harvest quite early this year (July 26th) compared to other years. The Pinot Gris came off first, then the Chardonnay, Viognier, Alberino, Temprinillo, more Pinot Gris, then Syrah Noir and Shiraz. But typical ebbs and flows with the weather... our Sangiovese did endure a little scorching in the June heat spike. Other than that, yields have been on par compared to years past. It has been steady growth for us – in 2013 we started out with 350 cases, and this year we expect to produce around 900-1000 cases.

We do source grapes from other vineyards besides our estate – we bring in 10 tons from the 5 acres we grow, and 4 tons from outside. We had brought in some Chardonnay and Malbec from Hillsprings Farm and Sangiovese from Fallbrook Winery. We are very excited as this is the first year we are doing a 100% Chardonnay with fruit from Warner Springs. These particular Chardonnay grapes will yield more tropical notes due to the warmer climate of the vineyard.  We did end up bringing in more help this year from interns from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Davis studying Oenology and Viticulture, but the usual local kids, families, and friends came to help as well. My mom likes to cook us all breakfast after we pick and it becomes a family affair that is really enjoyable and fun for everyone."


Interview with meditation guide, Alexandria Romero:

 

Q: What inspired you to study meditation?

A:  "I began meditating as a part of my coursework in 2008 when I first began my Master’s program in Transpersonal Psychology (mind, body, spirit psychology), although my meditations deepened and became a lifeline in 2012 when my husband, Mitch, died. At the time, meditation helped me to stay present for our two year old daughter and healthy for my pregnancy. It also helped me find joy everyday even amidst the heaviness of grief, and helped me feel connected to my husband in a whole new way. Meditation has helped me to dip into my inner-stillness, which is where I find my creativity and passion for this work. I feel so inspired to share my personal experience with mediation, and continue to help others find that quiet space of stillness through the workshops, courses, and retreats I facilitate."

 

Q: What do you love about the work you do as a meditation guide?

A:  "It is a true honor to help facilitate people’s processes of deepening into the relationship with themselves. I love to see the spaciousness created when people learn how to be more present in their lives. I believe the stillness of our mind can truly transform our lives. I love to work with people to taylor and develop meditation practices and ultimately help people live a more joyful and authentic life."

 

Q: What can we look forward to experiencing at Yoga in the Vineyard? 

A:  "In this workshop, we will briefly cover the basics of meditation. We will then move into practicing 3 of my signature meditations, Awareness Meditation, Affirmations, and Gratitude and Blessings. Together we will learn how to cultivate a healthy relationship with your thoughts and emotions and discuss ways to establish a daily meditation practice at home. You will be guided through journaling prompts intended to reconnect you to your beautiful voice, and to help you reflect upon and integrate your meditation experience into your everyday lived experience."


Interview with Chef Patrice Hadsell, founder of That Meal Prep Chick:

 

Q: How was That Meal Prep Chick founded?

A:  "I had always been a foodie, a creative cook in the kitchen, and had a passion for sharing my food with others." Although, after having worked aimlessly in the dental industry for many years, I had taken a step back and made the decision to take charge of my true calling. I hadn't intended to create a meal prep business, although it quickly turned into that after a friend happened to need some extra help preparing meals. This ignited such an authentic passion in me and within 3 weeks I was up to 15 clients. It was time to take the leap to create what is now That Meal Prep Chick. I am a year and a half into my business as a full service meal prep company, with two locations, and have now expanded my services into catering. I work alongside a nutritionist and together we create balanced, nourishing, tasty meals for over 100 households throughout California. I could not be more ecstatic for what the future holds for this self proclaimed foodie turned business owner!" 



Q: What do you love about your work?

A:  "They say, 'food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.' I truly love to feed people! My meals are full of love - it is my offering to the world. It warms me to know that others enjoy what my kitchen and I have prepared and that we are helping to contribute to a healthier lifestyle. I love to eat the meals I make, I love to prepare them, and I love to get creative in the kitchen. While my passion will always be cooking, what I find most enjoyable about the work I do has been the opportunity to show my 6 year old son that you can do anything you set your mind to. If you have the passion and determination, the opportunities are endless."



Q: What can we look forward to experiencing at Yoga in the Vineyard? 

A:  "As we dine together in the enchanted barrel room of the winery, we will embark on a culinary adventure of local, organic, seasonal fall foods prepared by That Meal Prep Chick, paired with the wines of Hungry Hawk. Mike and I will be collaborating on the food and wine pairings for each of the 5 courses: (sample) appetizer, soup, salad, main, and dessert. The menu will be created custom to any dietary restrictions, and leave you feeling nourished and satisfied!"

 


Learn more about the founder of Women, Wine & Yoga

"Why Women, Wine & Yoga?" - By Lauren Aiello

Click here


 

Want to learn more about the upcoming Yoga in the Vineyard Day Retreat?