These amazing ladies behind Yoga Night in Los Angeles, CA have recently caught our eye. Early this year Jana (the mostly-vegetarian-meals chef extraordinaire) and Kerrie (the yoga instructor) started combining yoga, home-cooked vegetarian feasts, and weekly hangs with their girlfriends into what has now become a wait-list only affair. (It’s like Thursday Night Dinners but with a really cool, active added component.) We caught up with Jana who filled us in on everything Yoga Night and shared some lovely DIY Holiday ideas. Visit their website at http://yoganight.wordpress.com/
Q: What is Yoga Night and how did it get started?
A: The straightforward explanation of Yoga Night is yoga, wine and food, but it's really so much more. Yoga Night is refuge and a chance to reconnect and relax during our busy lives. It was honestly started because I wasn't getting my butt to yoga class, and since Kerrie is an amazing yoga teacher, I thought we could bring the yoga to me and invite some friends to participate as well. Once Kerrie and I decided that we wanted to eventually open a yoga studio, we expanded the purpose of Yoga Night as a donation-based evening to support our future endeavor, and keep our intentions alive. Kerrie teaches a challenging class with the best music ever. I've never found a yoga teacher who plays the type of music I like (Bowie, The Black Keys, Caribou, Iggy Pop and more). It seems there are others with the same sentiments because we can't get through a Yoga Night class without someone shouting out "yes!" when a great song comes on, or asking what the song is...it's fantastic! So, when we're done with the yoga part (it's usually an hour-and-a-half class), we enjoy wine and a vegetarian meal that I've slaved over all day. We're not necessarily vegetarians, but we love vegetarian food and it just goes hand-in-hand with the yoga. Yoga Night has now grown into a waiting list only event. We have some donated space downtown where we can squeeze more people in, but we always feel bad when we have to turn people away.
Q: How have Yoga Nights made you a better person?
A: I'm definitely happier, I think any regular yoga practice tends to do that to you. We call it the "Yoga Night Buzz," there's something about those evenings that really makes everyone feel spectacular...it might be the wine, but the buzz carries throughout the week, and we definitely have a few yoga night addicts. I hope I'm a bit more tolerant and balanced in my life as well. I know I've stopped caring so much about my nice wine glasses getting broken during Yoga Nights...I just started buying the cheap ones, that's progress, right?
Q:How can someone join your Yoga Nights?
A: You can visit our blog at http://yoganight.wordpress.com/ and find info about contacting us to be added to the Yoga Night invite list. We just want to know a little bit about you, and why you're interested in joining. We're in the Los Angeles area, but we're happy to travel for privately commissioned Yoga Nights. Yoga Nights are really fun for corporate events, bridal showers, birthdays and that sort of thing too.
Q: What tips do you have for starting our own Yoga Nights?
A: 1. First get certified as a yoga instructor! Or find a yoga instructor that you think might be interested in teaching and can bring props (extra mats, blocks, straps). I suppose you could pop a DVD in the VCR, but it's just not as fun.
2. Pick a night when the host is able to prepare without feeling overwhelmed. There's a lot of cooking and cleaning to be done. Make sure the host has a space that can be cleared for yoga.
3. We tend to like 7:30pm on a weeknight. It breaks the week up, and gives people a chance to get here after work. Our latest yoga night went til 2am, but usually it wraps up by 11pm.
4, Have everyone bring wine!
5. Cook a vegetarian meal. I like The Moosewood Cookbooks a lot, and I've re-discovered the pleasures and convenience of my slow cooker. We have folding banquet tables that we bring out into the cleared yoga space.
6. Light lots of candles
7. Have fun!
Q: What’s your favorite Yoga Night meal?
A: Hands down it's my secret family recipe eggplant parm. No, I cannot reveal it, but Yoga Night attendees have called it "epic," and I've converted at least 7 eggplant haters. During summer squash season, I like to use the yellow squash from my garden to make a squash casserole, which is super delicious. We usually have a salad as well, and my secret to perfect salad is toasted pine nuts and avocado. They make any salad good.
Q: What’s in the works for Yoga Nights and what can we look forward to?
A: Well, the ultimate goal will be the opening of our own studio, but since that might take awhile we're planning to explore alternate spaces for yoga nights, and we've been getting into more privately commissioned events. Once summer rolls around, we might take yoga nights outdoors as well.
DIY Holidays: Decorating with Sage
I seem to have an abundance of sage in my garden, so I try to put it to good use. These garden sage centerpieces are simple, elegant and inexpensive (or free!). Just find a small container or juice glass, fill with water and add the sage. Easy. Just be careful where you place any tealights on the table, you don't want to light the sage leaves on fire.
DIY Holiday Recipes: Fried Sage
by jana bonderman
What you need:
- Olive oil
- Fresh sage leaves
- Sea salt (optional)
What to do:
Gather and wash your sage leaves - they should be fried individually, so pick them off the stem. Pour oil in a frying pan to about 1/4" depth, more or less depending on your tastes. You don't need a huge amount of oil. Heat the oil to hot but not smoking, olive oil can burn easily, and you don't want that. Fry for about 10-15 seconds, until the oil stops bubbling around the leaves, but before the leaves start to brown. Remove and let drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt if desired. Enjoy with red wine!