Where do you teach?: Life Yoga and Balance Yoga & Wellness
What styles of yoga do you teach?: Vinyasa and Ashtanga
Sharon recently left her position as a mixologist at the French Quarter restaurant Iris to pursue her passion for creating distinctive cocktails with a conscious twist. While crafting at Iris and posting to her blog The Conscious Cocktail, Sharon deepened her study of Ayurveda and has recently launched a new company, Bartanica and developed her signature CraftLab workshops. Sharon is busy blending her worlds of yoga and botanicals and is eager to share her knowledge of both fields with you at the bar or on the mat.
What came first in your career, mixology or yoga? Yoga has been an important part of my life for several years now. When I moved to New Orleans, I had the opportunity to be trained in mixology by one of the best bartenders in the city. It was a lot of fun to taste all of the spirits behind the bar and learn how to describe them, similar to a wine tasting. My study of yoga has now expanded to include Ayurveda.
Do you feel that your unique blend of yogic principles and cocktails is being so well received because locals are already quite familiar with the imbibing culture, or do you see this area having space for growth throughout the country? On a national level, there is a cocktail renaissance, but with it comes the same old challenges of how to maintain your health and feel good. That’s where yoga and Ayurveda can provide some answers.
There is also huge, growing interest in yoga and holistic health. People are just starting to learn about Ayurveda and how it can influence their diet and lifestyle. I don’t expect that many are willing to give up drinking altogether, and I don’t believe that they have to. I think now is a great time to start a national conversation about where these two worlds overlap and how they can inform each other. Bartanica’s purpose is to explore the plants that are common between Ayurveda and the bar to start this conversation.
Have you received any confused looks when you talk to people about blending Ayurveda and alcoholic beverages? Yes, but most people are curious. Rather than attempting to blend the two, I am examining each world through the lens of the other.
How does this idea of conscious mixing, mingling, and blending come across in the yoga classes that you teach? It’s interesting to think about spirits mixing into a yoga class, but a lot of what I am able to relate to my students I learned from my challenges with alcohol. Ayurveda bridges the gap between the two worlds nicely because it directly addresses diet and, if you drink, alcohol is part of your diet. So I bring Ayurvedic knowledge into my classes, just enough to make students curious.
How do you feel students in both your yoga classes and CraftLabs benefit from your approach to teaching with a focus on being conscious in your choices? Our collective attitude towards alcohol is so casual, accepting, and celebratory that it’s easy to ignore the reality of it as a drug. We need some pretty powerful tools of discrimination to know how to deal with it. The eight limbs of yoga teach us how to be highly discriminating so there’s useful takeaway there. Ayurveda teaches us to consider our diet, lifestyle, and mental health as contributions to our overall health. So far, the CraftLabs have included some great discussions and questions, so the interest is there.