The Beer Necessities: I Did Yoga In a Brewery (And You Can, Too)

“I’d never taken a yoga class before. Sure I’d done yoga by following along to a DVD — and sure, I enjoyed it. But the thought of awkwardly stretching in front of 150 people who can “Namaste” way better than I can (that’s a thing, right?) has always felt pretty damned daunting to me. If I was ever going to let my inner-suburban mom run wild and partake in her favorite physical activity, I needed to do it in the comfort of a very familiar setting: ideally, in the packaging hall of one of my favorite local breweries.

Fortunately, Great Divide Brewing Company in Denver, Colorado, offers just that. And naturally, I had to check it out.

It seems that Denver’s yoga/brewery trend started with Shannon Berner, Marketing Manager for Great Divide, who had the idea to combine beer and yoga at Wynkoop Brewing Co., her former employer, four years ago. “Beer and yoga might seem common now, but at the time, it was two completely separate worlds of mine,” she explains. “I had craft beer friends and I had yoga friends, and neither of them understood that there was any chance of an overlap. It started as a selfish thing. I wanted worlds to collide.”

Even though the free classes started out small, it has since grown into an event that people show up for every month. Based on the few people I talked to before the class, most were yoga enthusiasts looking for a fun place to practice, not hardcore beer nerds trying to get a workout. But Melissa, one of the instructors from CorePower Yoga who led the class, says that those beer nerds shouldn’t be nervous. “It’s an atypical yoga experience,” she says. “But we try to bring yoga to people who might be intimidated to step foot in a CorePower studio.”

My class consisted of about 90% women, many of which were laughing and hugging one another before class began. I was intimidated by everyone wearing leggings. Especially the dude on a mat in front of me — his purple and black leggings were tighter than the ones on his girlfriend. And I just knew he was going to bust out some crazy yoga handstands to make me feel inadequate.

While I was on the phone watching an NBA playoff game, the instructor calmly got us started. I put my phone down. Within about two minutes, I forgot about the game. I also forgot about my nerves, and realized that coming to this class was one of the better things I could have done for myself all week.

Well, mentally, that is. Physically, I struggled like a Biggest Loser contestant on a beltless treadmill….”

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