If you ever thought yoga looks too hard and ascetic, think again. Danes have tapped into a chilled solution with “Beer Yoga”.
Dozens of yogis are embracing a cold ale during exercise sessions over the summer months on a quayside in Denmark’s capital Copenhagen.
“Everyone is going for it and wants to try, even though they have maybe never done yoga before,” says Charlotte Mahaffey, a flight attendant who came along with a friend seeking inspiration from the shared enthusiasm.
“I’m not an expert in yoga, but you know, I’m trying my hardest and drinking at the same time,” the 50-year-old says.
There’s no need to be a seasoned athlete, with any willing participant welcome.
Every other Wednesday, Anne Lund, a bubbly 40-year-old instructor, gathers eager participants for an hour of mat work interspersed with refreshing sips of beer.
“It’s totally basic yoga exercises. We drink sometimes during the exercise, sometimes in between,” she explains to AFP.
At the start of the session, she hands out a can to each participant.
The crowd cheers and drinks when someone manages to balance on one leg with the can on their head. And they imbibe a little between and even during poses.
An hour later, the cans are empty.
A strip of tarmac wedged between a bike path and the waterfront makes for an improvised studio, and the hundred or so enthusiasts bring their own mats or just use their clothes.
In the home of Carlsberg, one of the world’s biggest brewers, beer is an integral part of the culture.
Anne Lund came up with the idea of launching beer yoga in Denmark four years ago, during a late night out drinking with a friend who owns a microbrewery and who donates the cans for each session.
“I love yoga, but I’m also in love with life and feeling good,” Lund says.
Despite the apparent cultural match, Danes are not the first to combine yoga with alcohol. While the exact origins are unclear, some reports trace it to the 2013 Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert in the United States.
With Lund’s class, which brings together men and women of all ages, she wants “people to feel good, and laugh and have a nice experience”.
For first-timer Jacob, the experience was a hit.
“It was so amazing just sitting here in the sun and getting a little bit of exercise while drinking your beer, it couldn’t be better,” the 31-year-old musician exclaims.
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