[image-1] Whether tapas means “small plates” or “passion” to you might depend entirely on how many yoga classes you’ve taken. Charleston’s newest holistic events company isn’t going to make you decide, though.
Posana Experiences, an all-inclusive yoga-and-tapas business founded by local yoga instructor Hanna Attafi and caterer Catie Nitz, just launched with the goal of bringing both kinds of tapas to Charleston’s booming events market this year.
For the non-yogis, Tapas is a core value of the 8 Limb Path laid out in Yoga Sutras. It translates roughly to mean discipline or passion and has next to nothing to do with cheese or olives.
“Our mission is to nourish,” says Hanna Attafi, the yogi, and she’s talking about both belly and soul.
Together with Nitz, Attafi delivers movement and culinary experiences to bachelorettes, professionals on corporate retreats, community centers, and really anyone who wants to do yoga and brunch without the stress.
Like the antithesis of Soylent, Posana is all about the experience of food. So much so that Attafi and Nitz get participants into the most mindful state possible with an hour long yoga practice before the meal is served.
These College of Charleston grads turned entrepreneurs do their brainstorming over stoneware mugs on the back batio of Harbinger Cafe, chatting casually about sunchokes and Savasana. They like real face time, walking the local markets, and meditative massages in yoga class.
“We want to offer something a little different,” explains Nitz. “I think in Charleston a lot of activities involve around drinking, so it might be nice to just have a glass of sangria with some tapas and do some stretching and meet some other like-minded individuals.”
After meeting at College of Charleston Nitz and Attafi traveled to places as far as Spain together, and the two finally decided to combine forces back in Charleston after one moving yoga session last November.
[image-2] “We’ve connected over the fact that we’re both a little bit different. Finally, we thought, ‘wait a second, we’re already doing these things separately. We should just combine and do them together to get more people like us to connect and come together.’”
The duo is now gearing up for it’s first wedding season in Charleston’s overflowing market. They’ve already honed their niche, though. Each event combines an hour of stretching and movement taught by Attafi with tapas served by Nitz. First you flow, then you feast. Don’t confuse this with the brunch-gasm of a gym rat’s Instagram on leg day, though.
Posana Experiences currently fall into three main categories, and they are all focused on experiential nourishment: classy wedding parties, charitable community events, and building mini-retreats. Ranging from $100 per person for a bachelorette to the twenty-five dollar ticket for their March community event at The Schoolhouse in West Ashley, every experience is a custom build.
“I cook from whatever was fresh at market that week,” says Nitz, who worked bustling catering gigs and back of house jobs before launching her own catering company a decade ago.
Every tapas dish is made with ingredients from the farmers market and the beds outside Nitz’s kitchen at Sweetgrass Garden. This fall it was Asian root vegetables. Then spring brought sunchokes, which Nitz roasted in sesame oil or pickled in Tumeric for a bright sunny color. The frittatas come from farm eggs, the yogurt parfaits from local milk. Everything is packaged in reusable containers and personally delivered, set up and served by Nitz.
She even takes home scraps to compost in her own garden — it’s enough to make Portlandia jealous.
“The techniques are ones I picked up in Spain and Morocco,” Nitz says of her cooking.
“When I go to a new place the first thing I look up is the local market … sometimes people think I’m a food journalist,” says Nitz. “I try to get into that grandmother’s kitchen and have her teach me what she knows. To me that is real culinary school, learning the techniques that have been passed down from generation to generation.”
The Harvest Board is Posana’s crowd-pleaser. Imagine a spread of fresh and pickled veggies, dips and local breads displayed painstakingly on a five-foot, live-edge wood plank that Nitz bought from “a guy up in Asheville,” sealed and transformed into this cornucopia for hungry yogis.
As for the yoga: while Nitz was befriending Spanish grandmas and volunteering on permaculture farms, Attafi taught yoga at a quaint hotel in Greece. With a certification from Satsang in Mt. Pleasant, she’s passionate about matching every pose to a breath so that students’ minds can’t wander. The goal is to get people out of their overdrive minds and into their bodies so that they can truly experience the yoga and the tapas.
“Our ultimate goal is to reach the everyday people who really need this experience and also support the providers,” says Nitz.
“It feels really good to be doing something in line with my values,” she says of launching Posana. “They [customers] are not only supporting me, but their money is funnelling directly to small farmers, who take that money and turn it into our beautiful land. You’re doing so much more than pulling money out of your pocket; you’re putting it directly into the earth here.”
As Nitz and Attafi see it, everyone could benefit from more mindful tapas — of both types.
Learn more about Posana Experiences at posanaexperiences.com.