Greetings from Calistoga, California. My wife, Carol, and I are up here celebrating our 16th anniversary.. We have been eating and drinking our way through Napa County, where the predominant religion is food and wine. After flying into Oakland on Sunday afternoon, we drove up to Yountville, had dinner at Ad Hoc, and spent the night at the Vintage Inn. It has been a much needed break after a particularly intense time of work and travel. Our actual anniversary was April 21st, and I was in Charlottesville,Virginia at the time. During my absence, my wife took the liberty of arranging this three-day holiday in Napa. It couldn’t have come at a better time. After being away for eleven days, there was a lot of work for me to catch up on, the transition from Eastern to Pacific time, plus Sharath and Saraswati were in town teaching at the Jois Yoga Center when I arrived home. Last Friday I stopped by just when Sharath had finished teaching his second series class and he rode with me to the condo he was staying in at the La Costa Spa, where we visited for a couple of hours. It was nice to catch up on all the news from the Jois family. I told Sharath I was contemplating taking his second series class on Saturday, but wanted his assurance that he would be nice to me if I came. He gave me no guarantees, but encouraged me to come
On Saturday morning I showed up at the Jois Yoga Center, wanting to be anonymous, but of course running into dozens of people I knew. My desire was just to make it through the class without embarrassing myself too much. Sharath was very kind and compassionate, helping me with the poses I needed help in and refraining from commenting on the general deteriorating quality of my practice. It was a tough class and I was sweating bullets, hoping to make it through without having a myocardial infarction. I haven’t had my ass kicked like that since Guruji was still teaching. Afterwards, we had another nice visit and all the kids got together to swim. On Sunday morning I got up, feeling a little worse for the wear, and facing the prospect of doing the second series again. Somehow I muddled through, stuck around to teach the first series, then dashed home with all of twenty minutes to shower, finish packing, a grab a bite to eat before heading for the airport.
Currently we are stating at the Solage Resort in Calistoga. Yesterday we had a package that included a massage, a mud bath, a soak in mineral water, topped off with some time in the infinity chair—a zero gravity experience with music developed by NASA. It was very relaxing and helpful in removing some of the inflammation in my body. Today I began with a soak in the mineral pool followed by a little light yoga. Our friend, Holly Gastil, hooked us up with a winemaker, Kevin Morrisey, here in Napa who came to her class last week. Kevin offered us a private tour and tasting at Ehlers Estate, where he is employed as the head winemaker. We spent a lovely afternoon with Kevin, who, in addition to being a talented winemaker, is also a devoted practitioner of ashtanga yoga.
This evening we had dinner at Auberge du Soleil, an amazing restaurant in Rutherford that overlooks the Napa Valley. We had a superb four-course meal with wine pairings that we will remember for a long time. Tomorrow we have one more over-the-top culinary experience—lunch at the Redd Restaurant in Yountville. Afterwards we will drive back to Oakland for our flight home tomorrow afternoon and waddle onto the plane. When I arrive home I will be ready for some serious detox and weight loss, but will only be home for a day before taking off for Kansas City for the weekend. Next week, for sure, there will be some serious tapas.