I still remember the first time I tried yoga outside the comfort of my living room. It was humiliating. Most of the 90 minutes were a painful reminder of how inflexible I was. I could barely touch my toes, and my tree pose was rocked by a hurricane of imbalance. For someone who bikes and runs, the struggle to simply keep my arms lifted above my head was a real hit to my ego. It took a solid two months of hot yoga, where my lack of experience was hidden in a shroud of dimmed lighting, before my teetering stopped and my tightly wound muscles relaxed. When I heard about WOGA at Cellar + Plate—a weekly yoga practice that incorporates wine into the flow—all I could think was, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” Here I was struggling to perfect standing lotus while other yoga newbies and pros were drowning their daily stresses with some vinyasa and merlot. If focusing on my breath could improve my yoga flow, surely a glass or two of vino could bump me from introductory to intermediate yogi.
Ever since Cellar + Plate (2916 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield, 417-894-2003) first opened, owner Mary Guccione has embraced the unexpected. Yes, you can stop by for wine and tapas or settle in and have a full-blown dinner, but you can also take a cooking class and enjoy a drag show during brunch. So, when Guccione’s daughter, Alexis, asked if she could host a yoga class inside the wine bar, Guccione didn’t hesitate. “I’ll pair anything with wine,” she says. So far, the pairing has been a hit.
The WOGA classes started in January and take place each Monday and Friday. By mid-January, the class was at capacity with more than 30 new and seasoned yogis spread out across the floor. To make room for yoga mats and the requisite wine glasses, tables and chairs are pushed to the side and stacked out of the way. Lights are dimmed, the heat is cranked up, wine is uncorked and incense is lit.
Having only stopped in for wine, I wasn’t sure how Cellar + Plate’s moonlighting as a yoga studio would go over, but I was impressed. The space was welcoming and calming, especially once I had a glass of zinfandel in hand. This might have been my favorite part of the night. Mary Guccione and Alexis didn’t hold back. With yoga mats in place, guests had a selection of Chianti, merlot, zinfandel, sparkling Italian white wine and even mini bottles of prosecco. These weren’t wimpy pours either. Halfway through Alexis’s hour-long flow, I was feeling tipsy, but this time it wasn’t because of my lack of balance.