“Beer Yoga” – originating in Germany as “Bier Yoga” is exactly what it sounds like: drinking beer while doing yoga. More specifically, drinking beer in between and during asanas.
Beer and yoga are centuries-old therapies for body, mind and soul. The joy of drinking beer and the mindfulness of yoga [complement] each other, and make for an energizing experience.
However, beer as a therapy is questionable. Just because two therapies work independently doesn’t mean they’ll work when combined.
“Beer Yoga” seems harmless only when you don’t understand yoga
When looking at “Beer Yoga” from the perspective that yoga is just an exercise routine, it seems harmless. Why not take a few sips between poses? It’s the same as taking a few sips between sets at the gym, right?
Well, no, it’s completely different. Yoga is more than an exercise routine, but the entirety of yoga is difficult for most Westerners to grasp.
Many people think yoga is just an exercise routine because that’s all they can relate to. The spiritual aspect of yoga is invisible to them. Many who begin with poses (asanas) are eventually graced with a deep, inner awareness that moves them to explore further.
Once they start doing asana they start seeing there is something beyond that. If interest for meditation gets kindled, then they are on the right track. But if it stops at exercise… it’s not bad, but they will not reach the goal.”
The goal of yoga is to realize the ultimate in a way that lies beyond explanation. Stretches and postures keep the body flexible, but pranayama and meditation open the door for deep realization that enriches the experience of life.
There are health risks, too
It’s already difficult to breathe in certain asanas, and conscious attention is forced toward controlling the breath. No matter how experienced you are, breathing is an essential part of yoga. Unfortunately, alcohol adversely affects the way you breathe, making “Beer Yoga” a scientifically bad idea.
- Alcohol can break down the immune system in the lungs. Many people who drink too much end up with bacterial infections in their lungs. Alcohol consumption lowers nitric oxide levels, and nitric oxide is the key to fighting infection in the lungs.Researchers from Loyola University discovered this link while studying more than 12,000 people over a period of five years. Their findings were published in the July 2016 issue of Chest.
If “Beer Yoga” is the only reason you’re doing yoga, you could end up consuming more alcohol than you think and harming your respiratory system in the process.
- If you’re allergic to wheat, beer will restrict your breathing. Not a big deal when you’re sitting at home in front of the television. However, when you’re contorting your body into various positions, you need as much lung capacity as possible.
- Beer yoga is a tempting excuse for alcoholics to justify drinking. If you already have a problem with alcohol, “Beer Yoga” could end up as an excuse to keep drinking.
- A stomach full of liquid makes yoga more difficult. Any physical movement is more difficult with a full stomach. Yoga is especially challenging when your stomach is full of liquid, and beer is especially heavy.
Modifying yoga for excitement is a sign of distraction
The perception that beer and yoga complement each other arises from the misconception that yoga is designed to please the personality. Spiritual practices, including yoga, are designed to help you experience what exists when you’re not the personality. The moment you alter a spiritual practice to please the personality, that practice becomes corrupt.
Trying to make yoga more fun or exciting is a sign that you’ve lost sight of yoga’s true purpose. Adding beer to your yoga routine is the ego’s way of saying, “stay asleep just a little while longer.”
Yoga is an avenue to experience life beyond distraction, to make distraction irrelevant. Maya – the principle of illusion – is constantly singing her lullaby in various forms – one form being “Beer Yoga.” If you want to avoid illusion, stick with traditional, unmodified yoga. Taking a sip of beer while in Taraksvasana might seem like something cool to put on your bucket list, but it’s really just another distraction.
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