What does yoga have in common with drinking beer? Not a whole lot if you're the kind of beer drinker who sits at home and guzzles beer in front of the TV as you watch a sporting event. But if your focus is on savoring the flavors and experience, beer drinking and yoga have many similarities.
"There's a mindfulness quality to both of them," says Theresa Conroy, who teaches yoga and beer tasting workshops at her Philadelphia yoga studio, Yoga on the Ridge. "We're savoring, tasting, exploring and learning about the beer and having this personal taste experience in a group, which is so similar to what's happening in the yoga studio."
Conroy has been leading these workshops for the last three years with her husband, beer columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News Don Russell (also known as Joe Sixpack). The workshop, called Happy Hour Yoga, has become so popular that they are offering two workshops this month to keep up with the demand.
It features an hour-long yoga class for all levels, followed by a guided wine tasting. Each session has a theme that draws parallels between yoga and beer. This month's theme is healing yoga and healing beers, while past themes have been strong beers paired with strong yoga poses, and beers of spring with an exploration of yoga practice for renewal. "I'm always surprised by how easy it is to find a parallel," Conroy says.
She's also noticed another positive impact of the workshops. They seem to draw people who might not be interested in yoga, but they go with their partners because they want to learn more about local, craft beers.