Hi Wanderlust, it’s Emily here and I love my wine so much, I am actually qualified at WSET Level 2 and am planning to host my first wine tasting next year. Not something you often hear in the yoga scene, is it? Most yoga enthusiasts tend to be tee-total (or at least say they are), and hey, I completely get it! I am fully in support of ‘each to their own’. I know all the arguments for steering clear of alcohol on the spiritual path, and for where I am in my life right now, that’s not yet something that’s quite right for me. Maybe in the future. But for now, let me tell you a little bit about my ever-evolving relationship with alcohol, and the mindful drinking tips I’d love to share with you for 2022.
So, what you should probably know is that I am not here to tell you to give up booze! How could I if I have no intention of doing that myself? But, what I intend to do this year is to become even more mindful about what I am consuming. I used to be a wild child, going back-to-back from ski seasons to summers crammed full of festivals and back to ski seasons again. I’ve partied a lot, and I’ve been hella out of control in places in my life, but I started to find a lot more balance when I discovered yoga and started to become more mindful about my life and everything in it, and especially what I was putting in my body. As a result, in the past couple of years I’ve become even more mindful about my alcohol consumption.
I have recently launched my own online yoga studio and community, The Joyful Wild, and I also run two companies, The Yeh Yoga Co and Secret Sunrise London – so you could say I am quite a busy, hectic person, and sometimes the stress of all of that leaves me reaching for a glass of wine most days. During the depths of the pandemic when we were #wfh every day, I did develop a ritual in drinking a glass of wine after I was done with work, as a way of easing the pressure of my 14 hour workdays at home.
So, here are some of the top tips that I have very recently gone through myself, to take a more mindful approach to drinking, without going cold turkey. Enjoy!
Sometimes we are looking to have a drink as that ritual that separates our working day from time for ourselves, a way of celebrating, a way of commiserating, sometimes as a treat, or just because. So grab out your most fancy glassware, prepare some ice (why not crush some, or store funky shaped ice cubes in the freezer), grab a reusable straw, and get creative with your fruits and garnishes. Make a ritual out of the careful preparation of your drink, no matter what’s in it – like the non-alcoholic Aperitif Vibrante Spritz from Martini or low abv cocktail La Vie En Rose from St Germain Liqueur.
I find that taking such care in the preparation of any drink means if you are still including the booze in your carefully crafted creation after that, chances are that because of all the time you spent creating something special, you’ll drink it a little slower and more mindfully than if you had just chucked a measure of spirit and some mixer over a plain old glass… that’s just asking to be necked, as opposed to savoured.
If your favourite tipple includes a mixer you would never normally have straight, just have it straight. Trust me, tasting that flavour that you would only normally have with your spirit of choice, will almost ‘trick’ your mind into thinking you are drinking, and you’ll still get all those warm fuzzy feelings too.
Go through the rituals as above in preparing your ‘mixer-only’, and take your time over it. I regularly have a fancy G&T without the G, in a big gin goblet with botanicals crushed in and big slices of grapefruit or some basil leaves. It still ‘tastes’ like what I’m used to (after all, the tonic makes up most of the drink… or at least for most of us it does 😉 and leaves me feeling just as happy
Bonus Top Tip: if you are on a night out and you don’t want to make a big fuss out of not drinking, opt out of rounds, and tell people you’re getting your own. Especially in the UK, there can be a bit of culture in ‘wanting’ people to drink with you, so if you find telling people around that you’re not drinking tonight brings a lot of pressure, to keep them off your case tell them it’s your normal mixer of choice, and then just order the mixer when you go to the bar. And then later on, maybe reflect on why you’re out with those people in the first place if they won’t accept your choices on a night out.
Being more mindful about what you consume doesn’t mean you have to completely give up on it. There are so many amazing low, or no-alcohol spirit or drink alternatives out there that are delicious. Try mindfully alternating between your normal drink of choice, and then a no-alcoholic version to stay in control of your consumption.
Or, if your favourite tipple of choice isn’t so easily replaced with a no-alcoholic alternative (like Martini Vibrante Non-alcoholic Aperitif, I am looking at you) try alternating between one drink, one soft drink. Make it a pattern, make it a game, and spread out your mindful drinks over a longer period of time.
Keep a diary or a note on your phone of all the alcoholic drinks you have in a normal week, and then when you look back over the week, ask yourself if you enjoyed and/or needed every single one of them. When we look at the big picture, it can then be easier to draw on your strength in those instances when you do choose to cut out or cut down on your drinks.
Ask yourself, why are you reaching for the drink? Are you going to really savour and enjoy it right now, or is it to take your mind off something else? If helping your mind, is there something else you can actively do to engage your brain? Often, we pour a drink to signify the end of the work day (especially true from our many collective stints WFH right?!), but perhaps there is a different way you can welcome in the start of your time for yourself at the end of the day?
See if you can take a moment of reflection to get to the bottom as to why you are having a drink. If it’s out of habit, see if you can get into new habits! Perhaps going for a walk to separate the end of your WFH day, change your clothes, dance around your house, whatever works for you to help you signify in a more mindful way that work is over and now it’s your time.
Bacardi-Martini offers mindful cocktails containing less than 1 alcohol unit and a range of options to fit your lifestyle. If you’re looking for no and low cocktails then try these three options, for no we have the Martini Vibrante non-alcoholic Aperitif Spritz, and for low the La Vie En Rose with St Germain Liqueur or a Mojito Spritz with Bacardi Carta Blanca rum.
About Emily Harding
Emily Harding is a London-based yoga teacher, who is passionate about helping you find your own joy and love your own body through yoga. Initially training in Ashtanga in India, and also training in Rocket, Yin & Mindfulness, and Power Yoga, Emily’s classes are filled with joyful energy, body acceptance, and thoughtful, accessible sequencing to help everyone feel their very best on and off their mats. While she is very serious about her responsibility to leave every student in a better state than they joined her in, she does this with a light-hearted approach to sharing the science and ancient wisdom of yoga with her students.