This new practice of Beer Yoga may seem firmly rooted in bhoga, however there is some intelligent design behind the hedonism. It combines the 5,000 year-old methodology of yoga with what some historians place at a 12,000-year-old science of fermented beverages.
Reportedly, these special classes began in Germany, and are now gaining popularity in South Asia and Australia. The fibrous drink, studies have shown, benefits digestion, has anti-cancer properties, reduces risk of cardiovascular disease, increases bone density, boosts puzzle-solving performance, lowers blood pressure better than wine, hydrates better than water, clears up cataracts, and wards off infection (the latter of which is proven for primates, at least), according to Men’s Health.
And while yoga purists tout cleansing the physical and mental body of toxins such as alcohol, not one of them will deny that it is a lifelong process that is likely to include a few hiccups.
“Yoga is already hard enough,” writes Jay Willis for GQ. Since we are on a continuous loop of exposure to toxins, whether it be Flint water, air pollution, or pesticides in our foods, for even the most aumed-out yogi, what’s one more drink?
Emotionally too, one may argue, leaning into and embracing our more “flawed” habits, like having a beer or two, may actually unearth deep-seeded pain that mindlessly repeating mantras or asanas will not. “The Truth Serum” of even five percent alcohol releases our inhibitions… If only we remember during the hangover which inhibitions we’ve set free.
The one major contraindication, of course (aside from the risks of overconsumption): Alcohol messes with your equilibrium. Although it may be interesting to challenge your balance [read: physical and financial] in this way, do so knowing that sobriety is the “normal” state, and finding balance while intoxicated is more about entertainment than enlightenment.
DISTRICTiYOGA is a RYT-500 located in Washington, D.C. She often uses “namaste” as the first word uttered to students at the beginning of class, as well as the last. She began mindful yogic studies some 20 years ago in elementary school and began teaching formally in 2008.