Personally, I’m a fan of the preemptive workout—a chance to detox before the retox. If I know I’m going to have a big weekend cheat meal, a couple of cold bevvies, or splurge on sugar, I like to strike a blow for the side of health before hitting the side of bacon.
A new pop-up event series on Long Island is making it easier to do just that, the ladies of Yoga + Brunch Club, LI leading a once-monthly route from “ohm” to “nom.” Gabrielle Benazzi and Marissa Morales, both yoga instructors, came up with this concept as a way to combine two things they bond over.
“We’re just two best friends who wanted to create a space for the community to come together through yoga,” Benazzi says. “But we also wanted to do it while creating a platform for local, women-owned businesses to find exposure and a new audience of consumers.”
I was fortunate enough to have been invited to participate in their second-ever and sold-out event at The Clubhouse in Bellmore, where coffee and boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts served as pre-game fuel. The sky was as blue as the water on this cloudless morning, and a delay in the class’s start gave me a perfect opportunity to meet other sun-loving zen-seekers as we set up mats on the patio facing the venue’s dock. A short 30 to 45-minute easy flow class, incorporating light vinyasas called out via hands-free mic by the instructor, stretched us out just enough to teach newbies a few things and allow more experienced yogis to easily make the practice their own.
After our ending “namaste”s were said, the “marketplace” of local vendors opened up. During this event, tea, essential oils, jewelry, and hair-braiding services were on offer. However, some of us were ready to get right to the main attraction: brunch.
All tickets to local Yoga + Brunch Club events include the class, a brunch entree, and a drink. Sangrias, mimosas and Bloody Marys are typical, but the food menus vary by venue. At The Clubhouse, we were free to order whatever we liked from their usual Sunday brunch menu, which included a version of their own BLT with eggs; a “Hangover Burger” topped with cheddar, caramelized onions, Thousand Island dressing, and an egg; a rather nontraditional version of a “Croque Madame” consisting of almost Canadian-cut ham and eggs with Gruyere cheese on an English muffin; steel-cut oats with bananas and blueberrries; vanilla Greek yogurt with berries, almonds, lavender honey, and biscotti; a fruit bowl; or a Belgian waffle with berries and whipped cream.
The flexible kitchen allowed me to sub the baguette for an English muffin for the BLT I ordered, and the eggs and bacon were perfectly done. In keeping with the pseudo “wellness” theme, I was delighted to have a green salad as my side.
Because these are pop-up events, though, each experience will bring something new and different to both the mat and the table. Their premiere event was held at Salt on the Water in Merrick; the next, their third, is all set for Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill in Island Park. The program format will remain consistent for the time being, but since it is a new venture, anything can happen—and that’s exciting.
Planning has already begun for the next few months, which includes a return to The Clubhouse in September, a “fun, funky” Halloween event with Xtreme Rhythm, and a fundraising session that will benefit Toys for Tots, a charity “dear to us,” Benazzi said.
However, if you want to jump on this ASAP, good news: Tickets for the August 13 Pop’s Seafood Shack & Grill date were just released via Yelp Events. Registration starts at 9 AM, class begins at 9:30, and brunch will go on until roughly noon. Look forward to seeing offers from Sail Away Coffee, Purely Elizabeth Granola, Solid Core, Afterglow, and more in next month’s swag bag! All events are through rain or shine, but the $42.50 tickets have been selling fast, so secure your spot before concerning yourself about the forecast.