It's hard to relax in downward facing dog when a cold cement floor is taunting you just inches from your face. Plus, beeping forklifts and hissing valves don't exactly lend themselves to achieving oneness with the universe. However, the promise of a pint after shavasana is a powerful motivator for beer-drinking yogis of all levels. So I decided to get my namaste on at Hoppy Yoga one Saturday at the Modern Times Fermentorium (3725 Greenwood St.).
Pairing craft beer with yoga is a quintessential San Diego marriage of hobbies. One refreshes the soul and the other refreshes the taste buds. In three years since Hoppy Yoga's inception, the program has expanded from a casual gathering of beer-drinking yogis at Mission Brewery to more than eight teachers leading several classes per week in locations ranging from Green Flash Brewing Company to Modern Times, Culture Brewing Ocean Beach, Ballast Point and more.
"[Hoppy Yoga is] really designed for both beer drinkers as well as yoga practitioners, and what's beautiful is we've found a community who enjoy both yoga and craft beer," says Mia Sabatino DeGroot, one of the founders of Hoppy Yoga. "We are all conscious about health and enjoy life; because both yoga and beer are fun!"
As San Diego's independent beer scene continues to thrive, our economy only stands to improve with increased numbers of diverse beer-inspired programs like this. When asked how Hoppy Yoga contributes to San Diego's beer scene in general, DeGroot says, "I think it amplifies the experience. San Diego is known for craft beer enthusiasts and active residents. It reminds me of the Blind Melon 'No Rain' video from the '90s...we are lucky enough to have found a city full of other tap-dancing bees."
Hoppy Yoga welcomes yogis of all levels, especially novice yogis who might feel intimidated by a traditional studio and seek a more casual experience. By substituting a more inviting location like a tasting room specifically designed for socializing, attendees can be as serious as they want to be about their yogic efforts, without fear of judgment. Plus, if you're going to let a fart slip in the middle of a yogic squat (be honest, it's happened to all of us), it's nice to laugh about it over a beer afterward instead of avoiding eye contact with your neighbor.
And Hoppy Yoga is by no means the only beer-plus-yoga game in town. Benchmark Brewing, Second Chance Beer Company and others have also embraced this popular combination, giving beer drinkers antsy for a workout plenty of options across the county.
Individual vinyasa classes from Hoppy Yoga are available for $20 and include a pint or tasting flight at the end of the session. Classes take place before tasting rooms open to the public, so yogis get first pick of what's on draft. If the divine beer drinker in you seeks to bow to the divine beer drinker in me, grab some yoga pants and give Hoppy Yoga a try.