Beer yoga is supposed to be less intimidating, and I guess that’s true: There is no way under ordinary circumstances that I would stick around for a class that, due to the rain, only one other person showed up for.
But these weren’t ordinary circumstances. The other attendee was my daughter, who had just moved back after living 700 miles away. I was still in shock that she’d consented to let me join in on the plans she’d made with a friend.
A downpour that evening had apparently scuttled the enthusiasm of those who’d indicated interest on the event’s Facebook page, and with good reason: It ordinarily takes place on the outdoor patio at Pedal City, a hipster bar on West Main Street in Fort Wayne that’s operates a trolley-car sized party bike.
When I arrived, the yoga instructor, Corinne, emerged from a back room where she’d been making preparations. She didn’t seem at all discouraged by the turn of events, sipping a mimosa while we waited on Rowan, who was a few minutes late.
Her “go with the flow” attitude put me at ease, even as an anxious voice in the back of my head kept saying: “You do realize it’s just going to be the two of us and a yoga instructor with nowhere to hide, right? Flee while you can!”
But I’d already ordered a craft beer by this point, and I was curious to see how this worked. In a youtube video starring Chance the Rapper and the comedian Kevin Hart, pints of beer had been strategically placed like yoga blocks in front of each mat, and the instructor incorporated raising the glass into some of the movements.
Other local events I’d read about indicated the drinking takes place after the yoga. Corinne’s approach was to have us order our drinks, sip as desired ahead of time, then take them into the back room and set them off to the side of our mats.
Corinne only gave us one official refreshment break during the session; she is, after all, a real yoga instructor and that’s mostly what she was focused on. But having a small bit of alcohol in our system, along with being in a bar rather than the competitive social arena at the small town YMCA where I’ve most often practiced in the past, put me in an uncharacteristic state of ease.
Neither Rowan nor I had done much yoga in the last couple of years, so we were both more focused on the movements than probably the typical beer yoga crowd would be. We did some sun salutations. Some warrior poses. A less aggressive form of that maneuver (whose name I forget) where you go from down dog to cobra. We did a tree pose near the end. You’d think the alcohol might have affected my balance, but since my balance is nothing great to begin with, primarily what I noticed was the lack of anxiety or irritation that I normally feel when I fumble my way through this pose.
Was yoga better with beer? Probably not, if you’re really into yoga. But doing yoga while you have a drink or two sure beats sitting around doing nothing except periodically hoisting your glass.