GTPulse: I Yoga, Therefore I Beer

The new year is on its way and with it, formings of resolutions. I keep going back and forth on how I want to better myself this next year (and decade, whoa). I don’t think I’ll seek out anything that’s diet-related, but I would like to exercise more. I always have hopes for pushing myself more physically, and thinking about new year resolutions reminds me of the first time I really stuck to one. I joined a gym for a resolution a few years ago and told myself I would go at least three times a week. I allowed myself to do any kind of exercise and this particular gym was the first place I took a yoga class. The 6 p.m. class was conveniently on my way home from work, making it hard to blow off. I really enjoyed the people, the instructor and the way I felt after. I also noticed I had a strong craving for beer after. Apparently, I’m not the only one that has visions of beer dancing in their head while savasana is coming to a close.

Reddit has threads on people experiencing the same craving after yoga or exercise, and the good news is that a post-yoga beer might actually be good for you. Calories and carbs are needed to refuel and senses are heightened after physical activity, making everything taste better. Runners who complete marathons say that the pizza they eat right after is the best they’ve ever had, people who don’t typically smoke suddenly want a cigarette after sex. Pairing alcohol with physical activity isn’t a new thing, especially in Northern Michigan. With plenty of options to mix beer with biking, kayaking, canoeing and other outdoor activities in the summer, it seems only right to keep the fun going into the winter. If you’re looking to enjoy some physical activity with some beer thrown in, look no further than Jolly Pumpkin’s Beer and Yoga series that will be going on all winter.

I went to yesterday’s class and would be lying if I said I was excited. Not that I don’t love beer or yoga (I do), but I don’t love driving when it’s slick and dark outside. I left the confines of my warm, cozy and dry apartment to drive through Old Mission and stretch with strangers.

When I arrived I was warmly greeted by Jonny Tornga, who coordinates Jolly Pumpkins events along with Megan Worden.

“It was actually Megan’s idea. It was a way to generate some activity out here at Jolly Pumpkin during the colder months of the year. There’s such a great community out here,” he said.

The class is not held in the main bar but in the connected event space. The classes start at 6:30 p.m. but I arrived around 6. There were two ladies sitting next to a crackling fireplace in the corner, enjoying a beer before class. Participants are encouraged to come early, get settled and enjoy a beer before class if they choose. The first beer comes with the class, and any food or beer after that is 25% off.

The bulk of classes are taught by Jen Haase from Yen Yoga in Traverse City. Yesterday was taught by a substitute, and she led a very restorative and tension releasing class. I picked a spot next to the fireplace and that was the right move. In a rush to get to the class early I left my own mat at home, luckily the gracious instructor had one, but for anyone interested I would make sure to bring your own. The class would have been suitable for yogis of any skill level which is the case for all classes.

“It’s really accessible for everyone. What’s great about it is that we can have someone who’s just starting out and someone who’s advanced and they can take the same class. We can really cater to all levels.”

Classes can comfortably hold up to 45 attendees, but a typical class ranges from around 15 to 35. The space has a stone floor, high ceilings a large fireplace in the corner and of course a small bar where guests can get their free beer either before or after class. If you’re closer to town than Old Mission, the Beer and Yoga series is also running for $15 at Blue Tractor on Union Street downtown Traverse City. Those classes are held Mondays.

After the class, I felt both relaxed, energized and primed for a beer. I left feeling loose and happy that I had ventured out despite wanting to stay home under a heavy blanket on the couch.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again in a handful of different ways before the season’s end, but getting out during the dark and bleak winter months is key to maintaining health and happiness. Hit up one of Jolly Pumpkin’s Yoga and Beer classes this winter so you can detox to retox.

Categories: GTPulse