I’ve noticed in the past couple of months that breweries are starting to host yoga. I have to say, I was a bit surprised. I mean, nothing like the smell of boiling hops and barley to get you inspired to downward dog and stretch out the calves…right?
I like yoga. Although in all honesty I injured my shoulder last year (hitting a heavy bag/boxing) and went through weeks of physical therapy. A week after completing rehab I took an hour-long yoga class and I jacked it up again.
But as I’ve received emails announcing yoga events at some of the breweries near me I decided to look into it. Apparently getting your “om” on at breweries is a nationwide trend that’s been going on for a few years. I’m intrigued.
According to a 2013 Yoga Journal article, it’s been a growing movement from California to South Carolina. Beth Cosi, whose yoga business is called Bendy Brewski (based in Charleston, SC), refers to practicing yoga in breweries as “garage band yoga” due to the casual atmosphere. It’s cold and noisy, not as intimidating as a traditional studio and the after-yoga session includes beer and socializing. A Women’s Health magazine article in 2013 credits Cosi with spearheading the trend.
Another woman, Shelah Davis of Florida City, FL, created Om Brew Yoga. While working on her yoga teacher credentials training she realized many yoga studios were missing out on one key element: normal people. Folks who are not the stereotypical pencil-thin body types, or vegetarians or uber flexible athletes. She also wanted to make sure people had fun. So after a vacation in South Carolina in 2013 (where she and her husband visited a brewery and noted an upcoming yoga event poster) she knew she needed to offer the same thing in her home state. “It incorporates my love for yoga and my husband’s love for craft beer.”
According to Davis, “Introducing yoga in the area breweries was a way for us to disarm people. It allowed us to knock down some of the walls that people had up regarding what they thought yoga was or should be.” The number of males attending was also noticeable. I mean, come on…dangle the right carrot and you’ll probably get quite a few rabbits.
But not everyone is thrilled about this pairing. Yoga purists who are used to the quiet environment of a yoga studio are not fond of the brewery atmosphere with the aroma of hops instead of incense or patchouli, the sometimes cold, industrial setting and steady flow of people. And some apparently feel it cheapens the practice of yoga and takes people away from the meditative philosophy.
After looking into it myself, I think if it brings a new audience to the practice of yoga or a new clientele to a craft brewery—and if there seems to be a solid level of participation—then what’s wrong with that?
Do a search for yoga and beer in your area and try it at least once. If you are in the northern Virginia area, you may catch me at Old Bust Head brewery off Vint Hill Road near Warrenton once my shoulder heals. I think they do yoga one Sunday per month and you need to reserve a space. After an hour of poses I will certainly be ready for my reward…in a pint glass.