This past weekend I attended a yoga event at a local brewery. About 150 people showed up to do an hour of yoga and have a beer afterward. It got me thinking about how beneficial this type of event is for the yoga community in introducing people to yoga. Mixing alcohol and yoga may feel counterintuitive, but I think the combination helps yoga’s overall purpose, which is to unify and connect people. Holding these kinds of community events attracts people who wouldn’t normally come into a studio.

For this session, there was an hour-long yoga flow class and then an opportunity to socialize afterward. The hosts of the event did a great job of making the event fun. Leading up to the class, they played upbeat music and even had us tossing around some beach balls. It felt more like a social gathering than a yoga class, which I think is the point. You want people who are new to the practice to feel welcome and not intimidated. What better way than in the parking lot of a brewery and the promise of a free cold one following the workout!

The hosts also did a great job of making everyone feel connected and united despite different beliefs or thoughts. They started out by discussing the importance of diversity and how each of us is unique. I thought they were about to start a serious discussion when the leader asked everyone who was a fan of one football team to stand up. It continued for a while until they finally had opposing fans go around and high five each other. Even though I’m not someone who does physical contact with people, I thought this was an admirable way to demonstrate what the yoga community is all about. It loosened us all up and got us comfortable with others without discussing a controversial topic.

After the event, everyone received a drink ticket to enjoy an alcoholic beverage. The patio where the event took place was set up with some high-top tables and some more extended tables which forced some people to share tables. My friend, sister, and I ended up sitting with some girls who we had done yoga next to and we were also fans of the same team! So, finding out that two complete strangers were fans of the same group helped us all to enjoy a conversation at the same table later that day.

Based on this experience, I think community yoga events have a positive effect on the yoga community. It makes something that can be intimidating, more approachable, and brings all types of people together. You can invite your friend who has never done yoga before with the promise of free beer or you can use it as an opportunity to meet someone new. Since I’m a new mom, it was a great way for me to get out of the house and spend time with my friend and sister. I was reminded of how important it is to celebrate our differences and have some fun!

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