Words by Rachael Dillon Photography by Mike Emmett & Bec Smith
Running late to a yoga class is never ideal. It’s very hard to attain a state of ‘flow’ when you have just pushed the boundaries of the speed limit and sworn at several slow-paced cars on the way in.
More so when the yoga class is set on a vineyard and you have to run across a paddock to join the group!
Yoga in the Vines at Mt Duneed Estate is about taking yoga outside the four walls of the studio and, despite my frantic arrival, the stunning surroundings of Mt Duneed Estate (#onehourout) is quick to calm my mind.
The class is led by local instructor Cate Wilson, who leads us through a well-considered routine that involves deep stretches and long holds. In these moments, I take the opportunity to close my eyes and enjoy the light breeze that blows through the vineyard rows. With the sound of vine leaves rustling around me and a number of cheeky sparrows, I start to wonder why I have never sought the opportunity to do yoga outside until now.
By the time Cate brings the class to a close with a series of restorative poses, the tension brought about by my Mad Max entrance is long gone. I peacefully pack up my gear and float with my fellow yogis towards the vineyard cellar door.
Walking with me to salvation is Gail, co-founder of Upstate Yoga, who initiated the Yoga in the Vines program. Gail tells me that the class has been going for a couple of months now, and reflects her studio’s philosophy of making yoga accessible for an audience beyond the hardcore yogis that sometimes dominate the classroom.
Upstate Yoga has two studios, located in Geelong and Torquay. Gail and her team work hard to make a friendly, nonjudgmental community that welcomes people from all walks of life.
“We are about bringing yoga into the everyday and helping people maintain the positivity and energy of yoga outside of the classroom and creating a lifestyle you love.”
Gail tells me that the Yoga in the Vines class has been very popular with their studio regulars, but also with out-of-towners, with one mother and daughter driving down from Toorak just to attend.
As we arrive inside the cellar door, I can see why. A long table has been set up in the barrel room with a tempting selection of cold meats, olives, roasted veggies and a fine sourdough bread. The maȋtre d’ invites our group to enjoy a tasting of the Mt Duneed Estate wines, made from grapes sourced from some of Victoria’s best growing regions such as the King Valley, Yarra Valley and Yea Valley.
My usual post-yoga ritual centres more on large amounts of water and perhaps a green tea, but this time I am happy to sit down for a friendly chat with my yoga comrades and enjoy the spread before us.
I decide to call this breakfast and lunch. Besides, I need to restore my energy if I am going to take to the road again to get to my next appointment.