I just saw a post for yoga being held in a brewery and people sipping on beer as they practiced. Now those who know me, know I am not anti-alcohol, in fact my husband owns a wine import/distribution company. However, what is discouraging to me is the trend of combining alcohol with yoga to entice people to practice.

The very practice of yoga is to awaken people to consciousness. The body’s response to alcohol is the exact opposite. Alcohol numbs our senses. For many it is an escape from their daily suffering. Ironically yoga offers the same relief for people, but not in a way that numbs them. Yoga awakens people to the present moment, giving them access to what is real.

I am not sure in this specific case if the yoga is being used to sell the beer or if the beer is being used to sell the yoga, or perhaps a little of both. And I can see both sides of the argument. Some might say, “At least they are practicing.” “We are getting people on to the mat.” But at what cost? Are we giving the beer-drinking practitioner the true experience of yoga?

I am not making people wrong from drinking beer and doing yoga poses. In fact, I myself have been known to throw myself into a yoga pose after having a cocktail. But I am not calling it a yoga practice. If it opens the door for someone who might otherwise never have been exposed to yoga – great. However my concern is that it also creates the opportunity for someone to think that this is what yoga is.

The true meaning of yoga is created in the experience. It awakens the connection between the body and the breath. It quiets our thoughts. It awakens the connection to self. It gives us the tools to transcend the human experience and create inner peace.

When the Buddha was asked, “What are you?”
He did not reply, “I’m totally buzzed.”
He replied, “I am Awake.