3 Lessons This Traditional Yoga Teacher Learned From Teaching Beer Yoga

Rosalie e’Silva
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I was offered a job running a ‘Yoga Academy at Sea’ on a cruise ship sailing from Hong Kong to Okinawa. I welcomed the sense of adventure and excitement it evoked, so I gladly accepted. But shortly afterwards, I discovered I had to teach ‘Beer Yoga’ classes on board.
 
“No way,” I thought, “that goes completely against what yoga is all about. It’s gimmicky and tacky and I don’t want any part of it.”
 

I was on my yoga high horse and I almost quit.

 
Then I realized: this opportunity wasn’t a fluke. Everything happens in our lives to teach us something. So I decided to approach the opportunity with an open mind – and I’m so glad I did.
 

Here are the 3 lessons I learned from leading Beer Yoga classes:

 

1. It’s all about intention

My beer yoga classes were held in an Asian nightclub called Zouk. Here I was rocking my Lulus, with cymbals in one hand and rose water spray in the other, ready for Savasana. I turned down the disco lights, rolled out the yoga mats, and plugged in my reggae-packed playlist.
 
I set my intention: I was going to hold the space and create a fun, safe, and light-hearted class.
 
I did a lot of research into beer yoga before the cruise – and every single class I saw online showed students drinking throughout the class. But that didn’t mean I had to run my class that way. No, I did it my way. Drinking during class simply didn’t fit into the intention I had set.
 
We used the beer bottle as a prop. We held it and became mindful of the way it felt in our hands. We lifted it in side plank and twisted with it in boat pose. And we drank it as a little reward at the end of class.
 
 

2. Have fun and be silly

You don’t need to be so serious all the time! Yes, that’s right, even during yoga. Be silly. Laugh. Play. And guess what? It’s still yoga. Yoga is a sacred practice regardless of how you approach it.
 

Yoga teaches us to plug into the very best bits of ourselves – including the silly bits!

 
For me, yoga is much more than a set of exercises I do for strength and flexibility. Yoga defines the way I live and carry myself in the world. It’s how I treat people and how I treat myself. But that doesn’t mean I can’t honor the fun-loving, quirky, and silly side of myself and others too.
 
Yoga teaches us to plug into the very best bits of ourselves – including the silly bits! So embrace the silliness and enjoy it alongside a hearty serving of meditation and pranayama.
 

 

3. Stop judging – everyone is on their own journey

Your journey isn’t any better or worse than anyone else’s. It’s just . . . yours. Own it, and live it to the fullest. Don’t judge anyone else’s journey. Just because you don’t practice or teach Beer Yoga doesn’t make it less meaningful to someone else.
 
Beer Yoga might be the introduction someone needs into the magical world of yoga. It might appeal to someone who would not otherwise try a yoga class. And it might be the spark someone needs to dive deeper into the practice.
 

What I ultimately learned from teaching Beer Yoga

Yoga is so powerful. It teaches you to step into your power, meet challenges with a calm and steady mind, and it’s a gateway to connecting with your higher self. These things can be difficult to grasp in “traditional” yoga, so someone may find accessibility through Beer Yoga.
 
And you know what? I loved teaching Beer Yoga! It was fun and peppered with lots of laughs and giggles.
 
So there you have it: three lessons I learned from teaching Beer Yoga. From someone who doesn’t even like the smell or taste of beer, I’d say it was quite a profound experience – and not all what I was expecting.
 

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Rosalie e’Silva

Rosalie e’Silva is an international yoga teacher and journalist based in Hong Kong. Rosalie previously worked as a TV journalist for CNN, NBC, Al Jazeera and France 24, and is now on a mission to help students live their most extraordinary lives, through the power of yoga, meditation and visualisation. She is also passionate about sharing the transformative power of yoga nidra.

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