“Come to the front of your mat and fold forward,” our yoga teacher instructed.
“Now grab your beer, raise it up over your head then bring it to heart center,” she added as we raised our glasses and took a sip. “Cheers.”
We were taking part in a new fitness trend that blends libations and yoga in a rather relaxed take on wellness.
Wanting to experience some chill exercise, my husband and I recently headed to Morro Bay’s Libertine Pub, where Jes Godsey has been leading boga, or beer yoga, sessions for the past three years. We rushed in, fearing we were late — only to find a group of people bellied up to the bar, yoga mats still rolled up.
“We like to ease into it here,” one regular said as he requested another taste from Godsey, who also serves as bartender. “It’s what I like most about the class,” a classmate chimed in. “It’s not all serious like studio yoga can be.”
After chatting, tasting a few samples and making our selections — a pint is included in the $15 class fee — we headed upstairs and rolled out our mats in front of a panoramic view of the bay with Morro Rock towering in the background.
Boga may not be as serious as studio yoga, but it’s no cakewalk, either. Progressing through sun salutations, downward dog poses and chaturangas (basically slow-motion push-ups), I was grateful for the break when Godsey told us to reach for our beers and take a sip.
Mixing yoga and alcohol is not just a novelty, she said. “Drinking a beer helps your muscles relax and softens you up so you can get deeper into the poses and let go a little more during shavasana.” That’s the heavenly meditation at the end of a practice that my husband calls the “yoga nap.”
I felt the relaxation in my legs as I sank into a low lunge, catching sight of kayaks and frolicking otters in the sparkling bay. My spine softened as I twisted like a pretzel to the sound of sea lions barking just outside.
Yoga studios can be intimidating, especially to first-timers, Godsey said. “It’s a much easier sell to say, ‘Hey, come to the pub and try yoga. There’s beer.’ ”
The rationale is similar at Castoro Cellars in Templeton, where I spent a warm evening among the vines experiencing slow-paced yin yoga followed by wine and snacks.
“People who like yoga discover the wine, and people who like wine discover yoga,” explained in-house yogi Lauren Udsen, who’s been leading Yin & Vin sessions as well as yoga brunches
at the winery for about four years. “We’re enhancing the wine-country experience, adding wellness and an experiential element.”
Moving among the serene sounds of the vineyard — birds twittering, insects buzzing, wind rustling — with the soft ground underneath, I unearthed a newfound connection with the vines.
“Feel your internal self connecting with the earth,” Udsen gently beseeched us, as we occasionally swatted away flies. “Savor the ever-changing moments we’re living in.”
After an hour of deep, restorative stretches, I remarked that I felt so relaxed, I hardly needed any wine.
“Come on,” one of my classmates responded as she headed into the tasting room. “We earned it.”
Sally Buffalo writes about wine, beer and spirits. Reach her at email@example.com or on Twitter or Instagram @sallybuffalo.
Boga and beyond
Find yoga at these brewpubs and wineries.
Beer and Yoga! Boga
Where: Libertine Pub, 801 Embarcadero, Morro Bay (coming to Libertine Brewing Co.’s San Luis Obispo location soon)
When: 10 a.m. Saturdays
How much: $15, includes a pint of beer
Where: Baywood Ale House, 690 Santa Maria Ave., Los Osos
When: 1 p.m. Mondays
How much: $15, includes a pint of beer
Yin & Vin and Yoga Brunch
Where: Castoro Cellars, 1315 N. Bethel Rd, Templeton
When: Yin & Vin: 6 p.m. Aug. 10 (one Thursday a month); yoga brunch 9 a.m. Aug. 20 (one Sunday a month)
How much: $30, includes wine tasting and snacks or brunch
Lululemon Yoga Brunch
Where: Silver Horse Winery, 6985 Ontario Road, San Luis Obispo
When: 10 a.m. Sunday
How much: Free yoga, $30 brunch