Edi­tor’s Let­ter

Yoga Journal - - CONTENTS -

LAST FALL I LANDED ON SALINA—one of seven in­hab­ited Ae­o­lian Is­lands off the south­west­ern coast of Italy—ready for an eight-day yoga re­treat to re­set my health, calm my ner­vous sys­tem, and help me get per­spec­tive on my re­la­tion­ship with work. I was gear­ing up for two asana classes ev­ery day, long walks, longer naps, and healthy eat­ing at a gor­geous, sun-soaked es­tate called Capo­faro.

So when the re­treat kicked off with a win­ery tour and a five-course, four-hour din­ner that ended af­ter mid­night, I said, “OK, I’ll start my detox to­mor­row.” The only prob­lem was that my vinyasa class the next morn­ing was fol­lowed by a two-hour break­fast that in­cluded an end­less sup­ply of cheese and cof­fee. Three hours later, I was back at the res­tau­rant for a three-course, two-hour lunch, where I couldn’t re­sist an­other Amer­i­cano, home­made pasta, and freshly baked bread. Be­fore I knew it, it was time for yoga and din­ner—and I quickly re­al­ized the first night’s in­dul­gence wasn’t go­ing to be an anomaly.

It turns out the fo­cus on food be­came a bril­liant guide. Sit­ting around the ta­ble with a dozen other yo­gis from around the world led to the con­ver­sa­tions that make yoga re­treats mem­o­rable. And em­brac­ing the carbs, sugar, and tan­nins made the Italy ex­pe­ri­ence com­plete. When in Rome, right?

On my third day at Capo­faro, belly and heart full, I spent the af­ter­noon with the re­sort’s chef—a whim­si­cal man from Salerno who has ded­i­cated his ca­reer to the slow­food move­ment. Over a glass of wine, he told me how the var­i­ous toma­toes grown in the gar­den beds on the grounds taste dif­fer­ent be­cause of vari­ances in soil min­er­als, sun, and sea spray; he talked an­i­mat­edly about more than 30 dif­fer­ent types of salad greens and nine dif­fer­ent species of mint. “Food is not just for your body, it is also for your mind,” chef Lu­dovico De Vivo told me, his blueish-brown eyes twin­kling. “When you are mind­ful about taste, when you are pre­sent, you can feel more.”

I was start­ing to un­der­stand. At some meals, the com­bi­na­tion of earthy grains, lighter fish, and young capers was so good, I wanted to cry. It was as if all of the sweet­ness in life had been un­leashed in just one bite.

Be­fore my stay in Italy, I was turn­ing to asana and med­i­ta­tion for my daily dose of feel­ing pre­sent. I sched­uled it in just like work meet­ings and so­cial en­gage­ments. My hunch is that a lot of you can re­late. But in Italy, meals, work, play, com­mu­nity— ev­ery­thing—seemed to merge into one sin­gle ef­fort to live with joy. Sa­vor­ing food set off a chain re­ac­tion: de­tail came into fo­cus as I ate tiramisu, prac­ticed Tri­an­gle Pose, felt the breeze on my skin, slipped be­tween crisp sheets at bed­time, and smelled the residue of vol­canic ash buried be­neath years of viti­cul­ture.

I went home and started to cook—some­thing that, be­fore my trip abroad, had amounted to but­tered po­ta­toes and steamed broc­coli. Now, nearly ev­ery night I prep food for the next day—elab­o­rate juices, ad­ven­tur­ous Mediter­ranean recipes, or a batch of peanut-but­ter cook­ies. I am more mind­ful than ever of what I put in my body, which is why I am so ex­cited about this is­sue of Yoga Jour­nal—our food is­sue. Food can de­ter­mine your mood and help you sus­tain the other things you love to do; it can be a yo­gic prac­tice on its own or fuel your reg­u­lar asana and med­i­ta­tion prac­tices.

If we set out with the in­ten­tion to be health­ier, hap­pier, more well-rounded stu­dents of life, we can’t avoid nu­tri­tious liv­ing as part of the equa­tion.

In this is­sue, we take a close look at trending yogi di­ets—in­clud­ing keto—and of­fer ad­vice on how to main­tain bal­ance on each (page 30). We fea­ture a must-try smoothie recipe from 90 Mon­keys teacher Amy Ip­politi (page 28) and our fa­vorite on-the-go snacks (page 21). Plus, we spend qual­ity time with yoga icon Kathryn Budig, who is re­defin­ing her ca­reer as she piv­ots from asana poster­child to home­body and health food chef (page 78). Kathryn’s story, like time in Italy, shows us that when we slow down (and fol­low our hearts and dreams), we get a de­li­cious taste of la dolce vita.

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