Beer is delicious, but it’s not really a part of a well-balanced nutrition plan. Unless, of course, you adhere to the unusual philosophies of “beer yoga.”
Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Beer yoga practitioners go through typical yoga moves, taking regular sips out of beer pints to reward themselves for their effort. The moves aren’t any more complex than what you’d find in a typical yoga class, but participants often feel more relaxed at the end of their sessions.
If you’re picturing a bunch of people overindulging while struggling through their sun salutations, think again. Participants typically get a single beer, which they enjoy while working through a fairly standard yoga routine.
But beer yoga instructors say that the extra incentive helps to bring in people who wouldn’t normally try yoga.
“It adds a little bit more extra relaxation because a lot of people tend to be very tense when they come. Especially their first time,” yoga teacher Guzel Mursalimova said to Business Insider UK.
It started in Germany, and the strange fitness craze spread quickly.
Beer yoga studios have popped up in London, New York, Brisbane, and dozens of other major cities. The appeal is obvious, and although some publications have derided beer yoga as a “hipster experiment gone wrong,” participants say that they’re simply having fun.
Well, in most cases.
“BeerYoga is fun but it’s no joke,” one yogi told Mashable. “We take the philosophies of yoga and pair it with the pleasure of beer drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.”
The exact practices vary from studio to studio. Some classes actually incorporate the beer glass into their yoga routines. Participants balance their pints while performing their poses, which adds a fun element (and probably a bit of cleanup). Some studios wait until the end of class to enjoy the beer. Really, “yoga” and “beer” are the only true constants.
That leaves one question: Does beer yoga burn more calories than it expends?
Well, yes, but just barely. A 125-pound person will burn about 240 calories while performing an hour of yoga, according to Harvard Health Publications. People who weigh more will burn more calories, and the exact yoga routine will also affect the total caloric expenditure.
A typical draft beer contains about 182 calories. That varies, depending on the exact recipe; a pint of Guinness, for instance, contains around 210 calories. Beer yoga classes tend to use a variety of craft brews, so calorie counters may have a tough time keeping track.
Ultimately, anything that gets you exercising is probably good for you, and if you need an IPA as your motivation, have at it. As one instructor told MSN, beer yoga doesn’t take itself too seriously—and that’s what makes it so fun.
“I think of Beer Fit Club as fitness for the rest of us,” said Sophia Del Gigante of Beer Fit Club in New York. “It’s the least serious class you’ll ever take. There’s literally no judgement.”