Can I Love Food, Wine & Yoga? 

It’s a pleasure to introduce guest author – Emily Spurling of Karma Being, host of the Barossa Valley Yoga, Wine & Foodie Retreat

This is a question I asked myself for years! When I discovered yoga in my early 20’s it’s safe to say I was partying hard. Binge drinking was a part of my weekly routine, and using Tim Tams as a straw for my cup of tea, a nightly ritual. 

Did I still love yoga? The answer is yes. But had I discovered its true power? Absolutely not. 

There is a set of guiding principles to help yoga practitioners lead a meaningful and purposeful life. Known as The 8 limbs of yoga. One of those is Santosha, the practice of being content with whatever is happening in the present moment. The truth is, I was far from content and doing everything I could to avoid feeling it. 

At that time I was working in a job that others dreamt of. As a researcher for Australia’s favourite travel show Getaway.  I was the pride of the family and the envy of many.  I worked long and hard to keep up the intensity the role demanded, and was forever striving to keep progressing in the cut-throat media industry. Don’t get me wrong, the perks were great, rare work trips with the crew were incredible, and during office hours I was regularly being wined and dined by the tourism industry.

But, I was not fulfilling my Dharma or purpose, so I used alcohol and food to block the unhappiness and spark my pleasure centres. 

The true light between the heaviness of that time was Yoga. My dear friend had decided to become a teacher and used me as her student to practice on. Those moments of pure presence were a true gift that planted the seed for my future. 

After 5 years at Channel 9, I quit. Much to the shock of those around me I decided to head overseas indefinitely and find myself. After months of partying I still hadn’t found myself, shocking I know, so, I moved home and finally began to seek out my true purpose. 

Everything flowed easily, a couple of chance encounters and some very clear signposts from the universe drew me to become a Yoga Teacher. I was 28 years old when I undertook my training, and it was nothing short of life-changing. I remember calling my partner towards the end of the month-long intensive program in tears, so fearful that I would no longer be recognizable to my friends. I felt as though any masks I once wore had been stripped away and I couldn’t put them back on, even if I wanted to. 

Was I still me? Absolutely. But I was no longer living to please others. No longer hiding my true self to fit-in or avoid judgement. 

Fast-forward 12 years, my 40th Birthday has just passed and I’m feeling more me than ever. Over the past decade I’ve facilitated countless retreats, which from the outside are incredible travel experiences, but are actually containers for joy, change, friendship and meaning for my guests. 

Did I mention I still love wine? The Tim Tams have thankfully fallen by the wayside but I love great food and I’m not a vegetarian as most people expect. Which by the way has been rather controversial in some yoga circles. 

Maybe this is the Libran in me speaking, but in my opinion it’s all about balance and moderation. I’ve learned to lean on my wellness practices such as, yoga, meditation and breathwork when struggling internally, and I enjoy food and wine not to mask any pain, but for the pure joy of it!

Over the years I’ve struggled a little accepting that I don’t fit the mould of a traditional Yoga Teacher and I’ve even copped some flack for it on social media too. Particularly when promoting my Yoga & Wine Retreats. 

Some yoga lovers believe that the two simply don’t pair well together, and my response…. We’ll have to agree to disagree!

If you’re keen to try Emily’s Food, Wine & Yoga formula, here are the details of her next retreat:

Date:  Wednesday, 22nd to Sunday, 26th March, 2023
Address:  Brockenchack Vineyard, 351 Sawpit Gully Rd, Keyneton SA 5353

Emily is hosting more amazing retreats in Australia and Worldwide

Rejuvenation Retreat, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia – 9th-12th February OR 18th-21st May, 2023

Yoga & Wellness Retreat, Mission Beach, Queensland, Australia – 10th-16th June OR 7th-13th October, 2023

Yoga & Wellness Retreat, Byron Bay, NSW, Australia – 1st-6th September 2023

Ayurveda & Yoga Retreat, Kerala, India – 3rd-13th November 2023

You’ll also find Emily’s retreats and other yoga retreats on our Events Page.


The Retreat Lady
Author: The Retreat Lady

Sarah Willmott, founder of Retreat Me Happy is passionate about making Retreats accessible to everyone. She specialises in helping Retreats reach a wider audience by creating this online platform. By day Sarah sends care packages to help people feel better (she owns Feel Better Box) and by night she builds this website to help you find your perfect retreat.