Carolina Beer Guy: Brewery yoga catching fire

LOTUS AND LAGERS: Darcy Mahan leads her weekly Suds & Savasana yoga class on a late Sunday morning at Archetype Brewing Co. The instructor says that for some people, the spacious brewery setting is less intimidating than going to a yoga studio.
LOTUS AND LAGERS: Darcy Mahan leads her weekly Suds & Savasana yoga class on a late Sunday morning at Archetype Brewing Co. The instructor says that for some people, the spacious brewery setting is less intimidating than going to a yoga studio. Photo by Corina Casanova

Music and trivia nights are fairly common at local breweries. Now the same can be said of yoga classes.

At least five Asheville-area breweries and one cidery host regular flow sessions. While these classes have been happening for a few years in the vicinity of brite tanks and barrels, Darcy Mahan says the movement has recently become more organized. Mahan teaches a weekly 11:30 a.m. Sunday Suds & Savasana session at Archetype Brewing Co. and founded the Asheville Beer Yogis Facebook page, where additional events are listed.

Along with Archetype, yoga is offered at Hi-Wire Brewing’s Big Top facility, Upcountry Brewing Co., New Belgium Brewing Co. and Bold Rock Hard Cider. And over in Hendersonville, Sanctuary Brewing Co. provides yoga classes with animals.

“I think breweries are focusing on the community,” Mahan says. “They know that people want to come and drink a beer, and they want to have a community feel. That’s where the yoga comes in. People can do something good for themselves and enjoy that beer.”

Though popular now, the yoga-and-beer movement was slow to take off locally. “For a while, people figured that this was a novelty thing,” Mahan says. “Now people understand this a great place to start your yoga practice.”

She adds that for some people, the spacious brewery setting is less intimidating than going to a yoga studio. “There’s plenty of room for people to come and enjoy yoga and then beer,” Mahan says.

At Upcountry, yoga is offered at 1 p.m. Sundays. Participants are walked through easy, moderate and difficult poses, and the session ends with meditation. “Anywhere between eight and 15 people attend and participate in the class that’s catered to all levels of yoga experience,” says marketing director Lauren Davenport.

Sanctuary’s first yoga classes featured cats prowling in the vicinity of attendees’ mats. The concept has since broadened to become Yoga with Pets and occurs Saturdays at 10 a.m. “We take our [personal] animals and bring them in for yoga,” says co-owner Lisa McDonald. “Yoga with pets seemed like a creative way to do yoga in a brewery and add a new dynamic to that experience.”

Sanctuary is now mostly using dogs at the classes. “We have a brewery cat, and she is there, too,” McDonald says. “It works out well. When you have humans doing something close to the ground, animals are curious. All of our [animals] are superaffectionate and very interactive during yoga.”

Kendra Penland, director of the Asheville Brewers Alliance trade group, says it’s not that surprising that breweries are hosting yoga classes. “Craft beer and physical activity kind of go together,” she says. “People who kayak or paddleboard or hike often tend to be craft beer fans. The same goes for yoga. We are a fairly active community.”

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About Tony Kiss
Tony Kiss covers brewing news for the Xpress. He has been reporting on the Carolina beer scene since 1994. He's also covered distilling and cider making and spent 30 years reporting on area entertainment. Follow me @BeerguyTK

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2 thoughts on “Carolina Beer Guy: Brewery yoga catching fire

  1. Beverly-Hanks

    It’s no wonder that Asheville was named one of the “10 Fantastically Yoga-Friendly Towns” by Yoga Journal! It’s not surprising that we’ve found a way to incorporate the practice with Beer City’s favorite spaces. Can’t wait to try a session at each of these breweries

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