My name is David Romanelli. I believe there’s an urgent need to reclaim The Moment.
The following story inspired my fascination with the impact one moment can have on a lifetime. When I was 15 years old, I went with my dad to Game 1 of the 1988 World Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. With my hometown Dodgers batting, the heavily favored Oakland A’s were ahead with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. Things were looking bleak for the Dodgers. Their MVP Kirk Gibson was worn down from the long season and sitting out the game to rest his injured body. But in a last gasp of hope, Gibson was summoned to bat.
Facing the A’s dominating relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley, Gibson was so badly injured that were he to get a hit, he could barely run to first base let alone to second. He dug in to the batter’s box but struggled to get his bat on the ball as he fouled off pitch after pitch. The fans awaited what would surely be the overmatched Gibson’s inevitable strikeout. And then the amazing happened. Gibson got a hold of a pitch and drove a high fly ball deep into the October sky and over the right field bleachers for a home run! The Dodgers dramatically won the game and went on to the win the World Series. It is still widely considered one of the greatest moments in the history of American sports.
You want to know where I was sitting when he hit that home run? In the back seat of my dad’s car driving down the 405 freeway. That’s right…we missed a moment for the ages so we could beat 20 minutes of traffic in the parking lot.
It happens to everyone. We leave early from an event because we’re trying to beat the traffic; or we forget to enjoy a meal because we’re watching the news while eating; or we fail to recognize a full moon because who has time for a full moon when 100 emails await your reply? As the great yogi Iyengar said, “We throw ourselves from one endeavor to another, believing that speed and movement is all there is in life.” And in this mission for speed and movement, we miss so much of the life experience.
For the better part of a decade, I’ve been traveling around the world sharing, teaching, learning, identifying how to reclaim the present moment. What’s different about my style is that I teach how you don’t need to strap on loin cloth or move to India to be present. You can do it by embracing everyday passions like exotic chocolate, delicious food, fine wine, and great tunes.
I got hooked on yoga when my great friend Ian Lopatin dragged me into a yoga class back in 1996.
I got hooked and started taking classes with teachers in and around LA, many of whom are now famous in the yoga world…Seane Corn, Shiva Rea, Bryan Kest, Bikram. Yoga was hot in LA and NYC but hadn’t caught on in the rest of the country. So following Ian’s lead, we quit our jobs and moved to Phoenix to open a chain of yoga studios called at At One Yoga. This became a pioneering effort in the national yoga scene, fusing Western culture’s fashion, music and technology with Eastern culture’s sacred rituals and ancient tradition.
A few months after we opened At One Yoga, I started teaching and looked no further than the Grateful Dead for inspiration. I grew up a huge fan of the Dead who would bring something different to each and every concert. When starting off as a yoga teacher, I intended to bring that same improvisational quality to my classes. Each and every one features a new message, fresh musical playlist, and a consistent flowing vinyasa yoga experience. I call my style Yeah Dave Yoga because in college, I had a tendency to ask questions my friends didn’t know how to answer so they would just say, “Yeah Dave.”
Meanwhile, my great friend from college, Katrina Markoff, studied at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris as well as with various chefs all over the world. She returned to the US and began experimenting with chocolate by mixing it with unique ingredients like wasabi, sea salt, bacon, and curry. She started a business, Vosges Haut-Chocolat, which has exploded to success. Katrina was named the 2007 Entrepreneur Magazine’s Woman of the Year.
In 2003, Katrina and I realized we were both in the business of fusion. She was fusing chocolate with tastes from every corner of the globe. I was fusing yoga with modern culture. For a lot of women, and some men, yoga and chocolate are two of their very favorite things.
I soon learned there was quite an appetite for this savory form of yoga. To quench this appetite, I teamed up with wine connoisseur Angela Gargano to create Yoga + Wine which teaches that a human being can model the aging process after one of the few things that ages well, a bottle of wine. To quote John Barrymore, “You don’t age until your regrets outnumber your dreams.”
And in 2010, the concept further evolved into the Yoga for Foodies experience. I spent all of 2010 collaborating with some of the greatest chefs in the nation teaching how slowing down enables us to pick up not just on subtleties in fresh, whole foods but also in the mind and spirit.
One thing I’ve learned from my constant yoga travels: there’s one thing more powerful than even the tastiest chocolate or the best vintage of wine: laughter. So I’ve dared to add a little humor to my message… sometimes edgy, other times irreverent, but always an attempt to lighten the load. Henry Beecher said, “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs, jolted by every pebble in the road.”
My varied ideas, journeys, tastes and tunes all folded under one umbrella with my debut book Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment (Broadway Books/Random House) which reached #1 on the Amazon Self-Help Bestseller List.