A Pint With Your Pose? Beer Yoga Reaches America

One of the few things in this world better than lying in shavasana with a yoga high is shavasana with a yoga high and a beer buzz.

Die Hard yogis consider shavasana, the final resting pose of yoga routines, the most important part of one’s practice. You turn off your thoughts and thank yourself for treating your body with care. That high in itself is enlightening, but when you mix it with the ego-freeing buzz from beer, it becomes both transformative and fun.

It’s obvious to me why Beer Yoga has taken off like a Warrior III.

After Jhula, a Berlin-based yogi, started Bier Yoga in Germany in 2016, it quickly spread to yoga studios and clubs throughout Australia, Asia and most recently the United States, where weekly classes are held in breweries such as Gun Hill Brewery in the Bronx, St. Gambrinus Beer Shoppe in Brooklyn and LIC Beer Project in Long Island City.

The techniques of the practice are more involved than just drinking when you are thirsty, and a bit more challenging.

In traditional yoga styles, especially those in the Ashtanga and Iyengar tradition, form and alignment are at the core of the practice, leaving fun at the door, along with your shoes.

Photo Courtesy Kimberly Ruth

In Ashtanga, for example, practitioners are not allowed to move on to subsequent poses until the previous ones are mastered. Your triangle pose must look like a triangle. I’m not disparaging the Ashtanga tradition—in fact, it’s currently my primary practice. But once in awhile, I like to have fun without worrying what my body looks like. Who wouldn’t?

With Beer Yoga, students are encouraged to visually and mentally focus on the bottle to promote balance. In the one-legged tree pose, for example, they are asked to balance the bottle on their heads while raising their arms up like branches.

Photo Courtesy Kimberly Ruth

In boat pose, they use the bottle as a core-strengthening prop by sandwiching the bottle between both feet as they raise their legs and upper-body into a V-shape.

I’m a lightweight. The thought of trying to master crow with a beer-filled tummy seems as fun as walking down a cobblestone street in stilettos. But that’s point. In Beer Yoga, mastering is not the goal. Letting go is.

Photo courtesy Kimberly Ruth

I quickly gave up on trying to make my tree look like a tree and let loose, laughing at myself as the Heineken that I was trying to balance on my head showered my hair with its amber color and sour smell.

To be honest, it felt good.