Namaste with IPA (or Chardonnay)

image1Have you ever been in a book club? I’ve been in several – I’m in one right now – and I’m therefore all too familiar with its thinly veiled disguise. It’s an event that makes me feel cerebral; cultural even, despite the fact that I know it’s a mere excuse to drink with friends. We all know it’s true, despite our protestations, which is why it’s been dubbed by my husband as “wine and cheese night.” Oh well, at least I always read the book.  Really, I do.

If you’re familiar with my writing (motifri.com/momswhodrink/motifri.com/drinkingtoomuch/), you know I’m of the mindset that everything is better with a cocktail. I assumed, however, that some activities were sacrosanct, immune from being coupled with wine or beer, activities like painting, yoga, meditation and the like. You can imagine my surprise – and delight – when paint and wine nights came into vogue.

That just left yoga and meditation. As a former yoga teacher who’s practiced off and on for over 15 years, I could not imagine any circumstance under which I would want to mix yoga and drinking. They just don’t mesh. I admit I’m a bit of a yoga purist. I don’t like to practice yoga with my baby or perform it on a stand-up paddle board or do it in the nude. For me yoga is a spiritual experience with the added bonus of buff triceps and back muscles. But when my editor asked me to write an article about the newest night out trend – yoga and drinking – I agreed immediately, albeit with a degree of skepticism.

This month, the Ocean State will play host to two events that allow participants to do yoga and drink. On April 20, Foolproof Brewery in Pawtucket will host a yoga and beer tasting event and will continue to do so the second Wednesday of each month. For a little more than a regular drop-in rate, guests will experience a one-hour Vinyasa-style class followed by a sampling of the brewery’s craft beers. The class takes place in the brewery, so instead of breathing in lavender or patchouli, you’ll inhale the scent of hops and yeast. Spiritual, but in a different sense.

On April 28, Newport Vineyards offers “Vineyard Vinyasa Yoga” in which guests do a Vinyasa-style yoga class for an hour and 15 minutes before engaging in a full wine tasting. To make it a complete night out, guests can then have dinner at the vineyard’s restaurant, Brix. Finally — yoga pants will be considered acceptable dinner-wear.

At these events, the yoga is legitimate. Newport Vineyards has teamed up with Thames Street Yoga; Foolproof with Nanaquaket Yoga Studio in Tiverton. I spoke with Nanaquaket’s instructor Rachael Frodyma to figure out why a real yogi would want to mix a divine experience with a craft beer.

Rachael told me that she and Foolproof president and founder Nick Garrison got together last fall to create a yoga and beer tasting event. The aim of such an event was not to get people buzzed and then watch them attempt tree pose, but rather to make yoga accessible to a broader range of people. “It’s about reaching out to our community and sharing the joy of yoga with everyone,” she says.  Sure enough, seasoned yogis show up with neophyte partners and friends – many of whom would not feel comfortable setting foot in a yoga studio. And after class, the laid-back vibe — and the beer — encourage participants to ask questions and learn more about the poses and practice, a luxury not afforded in a typical studio experience.

When I asked her about the environment, Rachael admits the energy of the brewery is much different than that in her yoga studio. It’s less serious and more fun. Even the music is more upbeat and energetic. And after a fantastic hour of detoxing and working your body, you’ve earned the reward of a cold one, or two. It’s not pure yoga, and it’s not sitting at a bar. It’s simply a fun, unique night out. Sort of like book club … or paint and vino night.

Ok, I’m convinced. After talking with Rachael and putting my own snobbery aside, I can see the upside to mixing yoga and drinking. Just like book club and paint night, it’s merely about combining something I really love (yoga), with another thing I love (drinking). While it’s not conventional, it’s certainly better than just sitting around drinking all night.

Next up: Shambala Meditation Center hosts a “Meditate with a Moscow Mule” event.   Just kidding. Not ready to go there … yet.

Foolproof Brewery will run their yoga and beer tasting event the second Wednesday of each month. Bring a mat and your thirst. Purchase tickets for Vineyard Vinyasa Yoga here: eventbrite.com/e/april-vineyard-vinyasa-yoga-tickets-20434965532   

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