How To Balance a Healthy Lifestyle with Yoga and Wine

Yoga class? Oh, I thought you said, “Pour a glass.”

There is currently a trending idea of mixing wine, beer or other alcohol with yoga. You may have heard of classes like, “Glass after Class”, “Beer Yoga”, or “Downward Drinking Dog”. Besides the obviously clever names, it’s revolutionizing the way we look at a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

Fifteen years ago, the general consensus of yoga was that it placed restrictions on what healthy is: no meat, no alcohol, no caffeine. I remember many years ago going to a Detox class with a highly disciplined yoga teacher who said she could “smell the meat” oozing off of the practitioners in the room. I swear she said this as she was passing by me, which totally brought heat to my cheeks.

I get why there is restriction. The concept of the 8 Limbs of Yoga leads us to ultimate Samadhi. Samadhi is considered the final stage, at which union with the divine is reached through intense meditation. Ironically, the term Samadhi also refers to a tomb, so it may be best not to take it too seriously. Nonetheless, in order to achieve Samadhi, one must experience the 8 Limbs of Yoga (Asana/Pose being one of them). And if your tummy’s acting funny from the toxins you’re putting inside of it, there sure isn’t a way to feel those higher vibes in meditation. You know what I mean?

That said, I would argue that yoga is no longer reserved only to those who have the intention of achieving Samadhi. That pretty much went out the window when western culture modernized it. Perhaps some of you are pulling your hair out at this claim but, I would sincerely ask you to take a step back and relax. There is room in this world for all of us to practice yoga in our own way; whether it be to reach Samad-hi or to reach an awesome Bo-dy (see what I did there?!). We all get to “own” yoga in our own way. Yoga can take on any meaning we want it to. You stay on your mat, and I’ll stay on mine.

With this theory in mind, let us consider the concept of combining activities that appear to be polar opposites. A wine glass on a yoga mat is going to get knocked over. It’s that simple. If you’re seeing a person on Insta posing with a beer glass in their hand while in Dancer’s Pose well, 1) to each their own but, 2) that doesn’t sound like a pleasant experience to me. Drinking makes me tipsy physically and, I have no business practicing yoga and drinking wine at the same time.

I love my yoga practice to be a sober experience. I approach my mat with respect for the body I am in, the studio I am practicing in, and the teacher that is spending their time to help me further my yoga practice.

Similarly, I approach drinking wine with respect for the body I am in, the winery that provided the bottle of wine, and the friends around me that are spending their time to help me further my drinking practice.

Sort of funny. But true!
I look at these two activities as separate but equal experiences. In the right moderation (for both), these activities help ease stress, enhance social connections, and increase relaxation.

​Here are my Top 3 How-To’s on how you can find a balanced lifestyle between being active (I will call it yoga but, if it’s different for you, then edit the wording in your mind) and drinking (I will call it wine, but you know what to do).

Pairing Wine and Yoga at the Same Time is a No-No
It may be funny for a picture to appear like you are drinking wine while doing yoga but, I don’t actually recommend the act. Here’s why: (1) Drinking inhibits your inner balance. Yoga poses can be trickier while drinking, leading to injury. (2) Yoga requires a warm-up so that your body is ready to enter into advanced postures. If you’re drinking, you’re more than likely not warmed up. Your inhibitions are also lowered, and you may be willing to test advanced postures that you aren’t warmed up for or worse, haven’t tried before. Hello, injury!

First Practice Yoga, then Drink the Wine
Practicing yoga burns the calories needed in order to drink a glass of wine, free of guilt. For instance, Power yoga burns around 300 calories per hour for a 130-pound person! That’s actually two glasses of wine (shh…). Or drink one glass and use the other half to eat some chocolate! Win, win.

​Plan a Night of it!
Plan a lady’s night or a couple’s night out! Visit a local studio in your area, and then head to a nearby restaurant for some yummy food and wine. A good yoga practice relaxes you and lifts away distractions, hence actually enhancing your senses. Colors and tastes are actually thought to be more distinct after a yoga class. Cool, huh? Talk about a great date!

A balanced lifestyle of being active and drinking can actually be very healthy. Making sure to mindfully choose moderation with both activities, you truly can maintain a lifestyle that lets you have your cake. And drink it, too.  ​​

Check out other articles I’ve written for other publications here!

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