Cheers to Post-Yoga Beers

Breweries around the country are offering yoga classes, making happy hour more blissful than ever.

What if you could find your beach and your bliss at the same time, instead of waiting for your next trip to Tulum? A few breweries around the country have made it possible, proving what some of us pint and pose lovers have known all along—that beer and yoga go hand-in-hand. Disclaimer here: We're not advocating that alcohol should, in any way, be a driving factor along your Path to True North. But it's 2015. For a majority of practicing yogis, the sober, self-restricting, guru-worshipping, Sanskrit-speaking, ashram-living, devout version of herself—while still widely respected—is not a realistic ideal. You can booze it up on occasion and still practice yoga. This does not make you a "bad" yogi. It's no wonder, then, that from New York, Los Angeles and Portland, to Cincinnati and Dallas, it's official—Beer Yoga is all the rage. Many breweries have begun offering yoga classes, attracting modern yogis to brewskies, and luring beer connoisseurs to yoga. A full-time job, kids and a social life can put endless demands on your to-do list. You come to yoga for exercise, yes, but also to seek solace and re-centering, and maybe to engage with your community. And if you're anything like me, it's highly probable that you enjoy a drink every now and then with friends. Does not a good beer, much like yoga, bring us together, give us something to talk about, and leave us feeling elated? How much you drink is obviously a factor, but you get the idea. Post-Savasana beers at breweries give us a chance to practice amid the aroma of fresh hops and barley, and commune with new friends in a blissed-out state of mind. Our friends at well+GOOD have more on this growing trend:

When Mikki Trowbridge decided to teach a yoga class at Rogue Brewery's farm overlooking the Willamette River just outside Salem, Oregon, she thought it would be little more than a fun way to hang out with friends and enjoy a pint of beer afterwards. But in an area where most yoga classes draw about 15 people, 100 showed up.

Enthusiasts say that while beer and yoga seem like an odd couple, both come from time-honored traditions that focus on creating community. “We see that yoga and beer really compliment each other quite nicely in terms of bringing people together,” says Trowbridge. "People are naturally drawn to the friendly, laid back atmosphere of breweries and feel welcomed in a way they might not at a yoga studio," she says of the intimidation factor.

Despite yoga's widespread popularity, there are still those who are wary of the practice. We all have that friend, right? From feeling alienated by overly spiritual teachers who contort themselves into fancy poses, to feeling worried about not being flexible enough "to be good at" yoga, it's possible that the allure of Beer Yoga has helped to break the ice with some of these skeptics. And since you have to wait until class is over to take your first sips, we're rest assured the initial attraction to the practice wasn't due to a bad case of beer goggles. Earlier this summer, The New York Times reported on The Captain Lawrence Brewing Company in upstate New York, one of the first to gain notoriety for adding Beer Yoga to its repertoire:

“We’re not going to end this practice by chanting ‘om,’ ” the instructor, Lauren Crowley, told the dozen or so participants. “We’re all going to chant ‘beer’ together.”

They do, and several minutes later, magically enough, glasses are served.

Can it be true? Does yoga go with beer? (Please say yes.)

“It does,” Ms. Crowley said, citing a recent Yoga Journal article about a study that found “barley malts had huge antioxidant power.”

The formal name of the monthly yoga class is Stretchin’ and Belchin’, and credit for that goes to Aaron Pozit, who runs the tasting room and events at Captain Lawrence.

Stretch and belch; bend and booze—detox to retox, and back again. But is it here to stay? Check out the hashtag #BeerYogi and see for yourself. Plus, it's encouraging to know that just like wine, beer also boasts plenty of anti-oxidant superpowers. Cheers to our health! Photo via iStockAndreaRiceNewHeadshotAndrea Rice is the Practice and Community Editor for Wanderlust Media. She is also a writer and yoga teacher. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Yoga Journal, mindbodygreen, Yoganonymous, AstroStyle, Teach.yoga, and several music magazines. Her teaching style is a blend of her love for music and intuitive movement, with emphasis on core strength. You can find her regular classes at Shambhala Yoga in Brooklyn and connect with her on Instagram and Twitter.