Let’s talk about boozy yoga.
If you haven’t seen videos on Facebook of beer yoga yet, you’ve seen videos on Facebook of goat yoga, heavy metal yoga, Drake yoga, you name it. If you want to get a good stretch or a workout in, but need an extra push to get on your mat, there is a specialized yoga class just for you.
I’ve been practicing yoga for a few years (and got my yoga teacher certification in 2017), and I’ve noticed that my relationship with yoga has directly impacted my relationship with alcohol. Overall, practicing yoga has taught me how to forge a connection with myself and others without any liquid assistance. By developing a sense of my physical self and the space I take up in the world, I’ve been able to release a lot of anxiety that followed me around whenever I was engaged in social interactions. Yoga has been a sober escape from living at college and in other places that encouraged drinking to make connections with others.
I am far from a yogi that follows the exact rules created when yoga first began. My yoga classes are backed by hip-hop soundtracks, and it’s not uncommon for me to break character, crack a joke, or lighten the mood when I teach. But even joking about bringing alcohol into the studio makes me cringe. Combining these two environments clashes for me. As a teacher who wants to introduce everyone to this beneficial and mindful practice, I feel a responsibility to keep an open mind about the practice and make students comfortable during their first class. But what is my limit for what I feel is “acceptable” in the studio?
If you want to introduce friends (or yourself) to yoga, there is no shame in hitting up a class that promises a drink afterward. To me, “gimmicks” like “Pints and Poses” or Goat Yoga bring people to their mat when they would otherwise be at home not practicing. No matter what you do during the flow, you still get a few minutes in a resting pose to clear your head and practice mindfulness. And that is an extremely positive thing to do for yourself and others around you.
Personally, a drink during class would take all of my focus away from the class. Like, what if I spill? I prefer not to eat or consume drinks other than water for at least an hour before class anyway. When you’re using so much of your core to balance or practice the flow, feeling bloated and full is just going to make you nauseous. Beer won’t make that feeling any better.
Even if you’re an advanced yogi, getting together for a fun class with plans to hit happy hour after is a nice treat every now and again. But, yogis farther in their practice know that moment when they practice and tap into that “yoga high” after class, so is that extra incentive really necessary? We’re already filled with joy and gratitude for every person, thought, and flower around us. These good feelings from a good practice can carry us throughout the day or night, and we don’t need an incentive to practice anymore. This is when we can really move forward in our yoga practice.
If you’re looking to learn more about yoga, I’d recommend researching different beginner classes in your area (watch for free sessions for first-timers) or taking classes online. And, although I’d never endorse drinking beyond your own personal limits, if you do wake up feeling a little rough from the night before, try this peaceful Flow. It’ll be way better for you then carving out a deeper dent in your couch.
Stay tuned for a follow-up piece to this post for an interview with Jackie Cawthorn, fellow yogi and teacher of Yoga then Mimosas in Austin, Texas!)
Do you practice yoga or meditation? How has mindfulness or physical activity changed your relationship with alcohol? Feel free to share your story here or in the comments below.
About the author
Megan Okonsky is a writer and yoga teacher from Philadelphia, PA. She’s currently backpacking and working in Australia after eight months traveling through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. You can read more about her journey on her blog, Beat, Broke, Backpacking.