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Winefulness: the lifestyle hit of the Summer

Winefulness: the lifestyle hit of the Summer

Mindfulness is all about mental clarity, and alcohol is well known for having the opposite effect. So why has a course near Niagara Falls in Canada combined the two? Do they cancel each other out, or can they actually enhance each other?

Before looking at the Niagara Falls course on ‘winefulness’, let’s look at another phenomenon that is gaining popularity in Asia: beer yoga. Just follow the link. We’ll wait.

So there you have it: beer yoga. Putting the hop back in hip. But it’s no bad thing, considering that mindless drinking leads to so may social problems. Drink mindfully, and you can enjoy a tipple without knocking back so much of it that you can’t even sit up straight, let alone focus on oneness with the universe.

The grape-based equivalent is a course in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, run by Jordan Cowe, a Certified Wine Educator and Sommelier who has also been meditating for the last ten years to reduce his anxiety. BeWineful Winefulness 101 is designed to educate while you meditate, feeding the mind with local wine culture while relaxing the body at five different wineries. Cowe claims that the aroma of wine enhances the sensations of breathing that are central to meditation, and allowing wine to become the focus of the meditation is beneficial.

It also helps him to sell more wine, and he reports young people being attracted to the course who might otherwise have found the idea of meditation too intimidating or esoteric.

The area around Niagara-on-the-Lake is dotted with wineries. The course takes place at Pondview Estate Winery June 29, Pallatine Hills Estate Winery July 6, Hinterbrook Winery July 13, Small Talk Vineyards July 20 and Marynissen Estates July 27.

Traditional Buddhist practice is not to consume any intoxicants as they can get in the way of the focused attention required for a mindful existence. But we Westerners aren’t really Buddhists and we do love our wine. And as yoga and meditation become more secular and mainstream, alcohol is less taboo. As Cowe’s partner and business partner Natalie Worden says, “Mindfulness is definitely a way to deal with the social anxieties that we deal with every day,” says Worden. “Most people would relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day anyway, so why not enhance that experience?”