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With endless career demands, lengthy to-do lists and a well-intentioned exercise plan, how’s a person to get it all done? Perhaps a little yoga while catching up with friends and engaging in your community is the ultimate multitasking approach for seeking a little solace.

Friends, grab your mat, pick up a pint and strike a pose. That’s what people all over the country, and many here in Charlotte are seeking this summer — in fact, they’re doing it in droves. Alicia Thomas, a relative newcomer to Charlotte, was so drawn to the notion that fitness and beer serve a strong connection that she and her pal, Melanie Fox, both digital marketers, co-founded a hard-working website that calendars all the craft brewery’s fitness offerings. Yoga leads the list.

A study reported in Yoga Journal states that beer, indeed, can enhance your practice of yoga. We'll drink to that.

A study reported in Yoga Journal states that beer, indeed, can enhance your practice of yoga. We’ll drink to that. Image: Work for Your Beer

“People are attracted to the social aspect of breweries and feel comfortable in a way that they might not at a yoga studio,” says Alicia, who hatched the idea of Work for Your Beer along with her co-founder Melanie after learning that breweries were relying on word-of-mouth to spread the news. “There are low-cost and free workouts all around Charlotte that happen to be at breweries.”

The correlation is not a coincidence, and the outcome is a win-win. It’s a great way for breweries to find patrons on a slow weeknight, who gather after Savasana for a post-yoga pilsner, as well as introduce customers to what’s new on tap. And conversely, people seeking an introduction to yoga, or simply a deep stretch, find that it frees up the intimidation factor and eliminates the high cost of a studio membership.

Yoga and a beer? Yes, please. Image: Lindsay Robertson

Yoga and a beer? Yes, please. Image: Lindsay Robertson

“Most classes are $5 or $10 dollars, compared with a $20 studio class,” says Alicia. “And while breweries can’t legally offer a free beer, it’s included in the cost of the class.”

Cheers to Beers

Why does wine get all the glory for (semi-) healthy consumption? Just like a fine red blend, beer boasts many of the same antioxidant benefits. A study reported in Yoga Journal states that beer, indeed, can enhance your practice. So go ahead and get your downward dog on at one of more than 30 local craft breweries and bottle shops that offer a yoga class. Here’s why: barley grains deliver ample hordatines (phenolic compounds that possess big-time antioxidant powers). The research suggests drinking beers with barley malts, like lager, ale, stout and porter, reap the biggest benefits.

Yoga instructor Lindsay Robertson gets the connection and fully supports the fad. She’s one of Lake Norman’s most followed Yogis and can fill a hot yoga studio like nobody’s sweaty business. She works with professionals and college athletes every day of the week and takes time to teach the night class on Tuesdays at Primal Brewery in Huntersville. Lindsay’s makeshift studio is smack dab in the middle of a parking lot amid the aroma of fresh hops. This gives her a chance to offer yoga in a fun environment that may speak to someone and ultimately get them into the studio.

“For me it’s a fun, lighthearted approach to presenting yoga to a general population; if it means bringing it to a brewery, then so be it.”

Not your college-days keg stand

Not your college-days keg stand | Image: Work for Your Beer

Master your moves and your post-workout prize awaits. Image: Work for Your Beer

Master your moves and your post-workout prize awaits. Image: Work for Your Beer

A Pint of Porter or a Cup of Controversy?

Lindsay is quick to point out that not all practicing yogis are fans of beer + yoga. Some self-restricted, Sanskrit-speaking, ashram-living yogis feel that it’s short-changing the eight limbs of yoga.

“Many feel that practicing yoga in a brewery only speaks to the third limb — the Asana practice, or physical aspect of yoga,” she explains. “So that by practicing yoga in a brewery, some think you’re not being kind, truthful or using your energy in a worthwhile way.”

Lindsay couldn’t disagree more and people are blowing up her Facebook page about it. “One of the eight limbs in yoga includes the Yamas, in particular, Ahimsa — non-judgement, or compassion and consideration for all beings,” says Lindsay, “and I believe that how you approach your practice on your mat should be how you approach life.” She continues that she chooses to do so in the live-laugh-love fashion that her mom instilled in her, now inscribed on her right arm in permanent ink.

The bar top is multi-functional in this case. Image: Work for Your Beer

The bar top is multi-functional in this case. Image: Work for Your Beer 

Cheers, Charlotte! Image: Work for Your Beer

Cheers, Charlotte! Image: Work for Your Beer

Ready to go? Here’s what you should know …

There are a few things you need, and the girls at Work for Your Beer note that it’s important to come prepared — especially if you’re used to being pampered at a swanky studio.

  1. Your own mat
  2. A towel
  3. A water bottle
  4. Proper payment
  5. An open mind

Above all, Alicia’s philosophy is that beer and fitness combined is a great way to meet people and break down barriers found in other social settings.

“Let’s face it, you’re going be sweaty, so people can’t fall for a made-up version of you.”

Namasté!

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Find more fun food & dining options in Charlotte (and no, you can’t do yoga at all of them, sorry!). Click here!

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