Art of eating: Spring clean your body!

Supported by local yoga studios like Union Yoga Loft and Studio 206, Sara Avant Stover’s starting a food-related revolution in Charlottesville. This 25-year-old yoga teacher, bodyworker, and health visionary, who moved here from Thailand in September, is on a mission to help people become more conscious, mindful, and artful eaters.
“I believe that a food revolution is beginning, and that it is time to forget about calories and fat grams and fad diets and to begin to look and listen to our individual bodies to see what they’re asking for,” says Stover, who’ll be leading her first “Art of Eating” workshop on Sunday, March 23, just in time for the spring equinox.
In Stover’s practice, food and yoga are intimately linked. They feed each other, both literally and spiritually. Inspired by this essential collaboration and by her experiences at a holistic fasting center in Thailand, this innovative workshop begins with a 90-minute Hatha class.
A little different from the traditional yoga class, this one will focus on those postures (asanas) and breathing techniques (pranayama) which prepare the body for digestion, nutrient assimilation, and elimination. Not topics usually talked about in a yoga studio– or anywhere else, for that matter. Yet in Stover’s view, they should be, because to ignore the body is to hide from our Truth.
Post-yoga, the workshop moves (a few yards away) to the popular breakfast and lunch spot, the Bluegrass Grill. Here Stover will discuss her convincing philosophy of “spiritual nutrition,” and go over the day’s menu based on vegan, organic, and seasonal produce. Everyone will then prepare and, of course, eat the artful meal together as the workshop’s delicious culmination. This is “slow food” at its best.
Besides good digestion, what happens when the workshop is over? What doggie-bag of wisdom will participants take home?
“Everyone will leave with information about how to make gradual changes in how they shop for food, stock their kitchens, and how they prepare, eat, and digest their meals. Just as one ideally leaves every yoga class with a deeper understanding of their souls, so too will they leave the kitchen with new insights and inspirations into how to live richer and more meaningful lives,” Stover says.
Your closets can wait. Why not start this year’s spring cleaning with your own body and the food you put in it?

Sara Avant Stover leads her “Art of Eating” workshop Sunday, March 23, 10:30am-2:30pm. Cost is $45 per person. Space is limited; call for reservations: 295-1143 or 409-1595. For more information on Stover’s yoga, bodywork and artful eating classes, visit her website

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