Yoga instructor Kori Brooks is on her tippy toes bowing forward with both arms stretched out behind her and pointed toward the sky. The pose, known as drinking bird or diver pose, is engaging the thighs and calf muscles while challenging the sense of balance.
In front of Brooks is a group of 15 socially distanced yoga students on colorful mats that are scattered across the lawn at High Springs Brewing Company.
At 6 p.m. on Mondays Brooks brings the growing trend called “beer yoga” to the brewery—and attendance has doubled since her first class.
This practice of drinking beer throughout a yoga routine while incorporating the glass or bottle into the routine started in Germany and has taken off in Thailand, Australia and the United States. According to Bend Beer Yoga, it’s a class “that incorporates the drinking of beer whilst performing super beginner yoga poses and not taking life too seriously.”
It was the idea of Holly Moebus, wife of the brewery’s co-owner Chris Moebus, who came up with bringing the event to High Springs.
“It started with a fun goat yoga that we’ve done a handful of times at the brewery,” Holly said. “People really enjoyed it. We were brainstorming ideas of things to do on Mondays.
She said she saw it as a way to branch out: “I personally am big into pilates and thought yoga would be a really great outdoor activity that people could enjoy while also enjoying the environment of the brewery.”
So Holly put the call out on Gainesville Word of Mouth Facebook page to start the search for an instructor.
Brooks seemed a perfect fit as a certified yoga teacher who also works as a bartender, so she gave it a shot and developed a routine that works in drink breaks.
“Originally I was going to do yoga poses that incorporate sipping beer,” Brooks said. “But a lot of people want to do yoga and then drink a beer afterward.”
In the 30-minute workout some practitioners did find ways to take those sips during and in between poses.
Amy Vu of Gainesville said she visits the brewery often and has done a lot of yoga. The University of Florida employee said she learned about the class from the brewery’s Facebook page announcement and thought it would be fun to try.
“It’s super relaxing,” Vu said, adding that she plans to come back for more classes. Her beer of choice is a glass of cold wheat ale.
Jen Lessard of Fort White said there is not much yoga out where she lives, so she’s glad to have the High Springs option. She encouraged her friend and first-time yoga practitioner Karen Colwell to come along. Both showed up early to catch up over a beer and had fun taking sips throughout the poses.
Anna Marzak and her fiance’ Bobby Clarke of Gainesville are new to yoga and thought they would try out the class for the stretching benefits. Marzak said the stretching will help her spring training workouts and Clarke said, “Just stretching for me helps burn calories.”
Brooks encourages folks who want to try the class to wear comfy yoga pants and bring a yoga mat. The course will continue at 6 p.m. each Monday, and it’s free with a suggested donation to the instructor.
“We knew it would be something all levels could enjoy,” Holly said about the class size of 15 last Monday. “It’s easy to do without equipment and something great to do to get people moving and active outside especially during the times that we are currently in.”
For more information on yoga classes and other events at the brewery, click here.