Beer yoga is alive and kickin’. Classes have sprung up in dozens of cities, including New York City, Charleston, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Washington, Portland, San Diego, Dallas, and more. While you aren’t sipping Hefeweizen in tree pose (let’s not get carried away), guests of beer yoga attend class in the middle of a brewery, and are then invited to drink and socialize following an endorphin-pumping practice.
Many instructors have welcomed the trend, stating that both yoga and beer do a marvelous job of bringing people together. And while yoga studios may create an “in-and-out” sort of vibe, a brewery encourages individuals to stick around for a bit. It’s a great way to meet fellow yogis off the mat.
According to Well+Good, this trend also helps bring in yoga newbies. This is something Beth Cosi, a yoga teacher in Charleston, South Carolina, has noticed: “Generally, it’s people who have no interest in going to a studio. Or they want to try yoga but are too shy to go to a studio."
Jennifer Breen, who leads a beer and yoga class in Chicago, also joined the bandwagon. Her program invites yogis to stick around for a tasting, allowing them to try three different types of beer. And better yet, all proceeds go to area charities, including The Talking Farm in Skokie, which strives to create sustainable communities through education outreach, and Evanston's Curt's Café, an organization dedicated to providing jobs for at-risk youths.
According to the Chicago Tribune:
Breen said that yoga/beer events may be an ideal introduction for people—especially men—into the world of yoga. However, she ensures the alcoholic component doesn't overshadow the essence of yoga.
"I make sure to incorporate the yoga philosophy and the mindfulness behind it," she said. "It's not just an arbitrary 'hey, let's do exercise and drink a bunch of beer.'"
When I heard that this was a thing, I had to give it a try. I attended my first beer yoga session a few Sundays ago and practiced on a cement floor in the middle of the Rhinegheist Brewery in downtown Cincinnati. The space was flooded with natural light, and the calm and social vibes of the brewery gave off a contagious energy.
Afterwards, my fellow yogis and I stuck around for sips and small talk. Already mindful from the shared experience of a yoga practice, our conversation was zen, and full of honest listening and answering. What a delicious way to unwind.
Photo by Sasha Juliard