- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 15, 2017

Walking into a yoga studio for the first time can be a daunting experience: Everyone else seems to know how the class works and the room swelters.

So a change of venue — say, a brewery — could help a would-be yogi ease into downward dog. Especially with a cold pint.

Saturday is the International Day of Yoga, and the 3 Star Brewing Co. in Northwest Washington is offering a yoga session and local craft brews, courtesy of the Beer Yogis.

“We both love yoga and we both love beer. It just made sense for us,” said Mikki Trowbridge, one of the two Beer Yogis. “For me, it started as a one-time thing, and we realized how powerful the combination is.”

Locals also can relax into cobra pose and cow pose for a two-hour yoga session on Saturday at the Yoga for Harmony and Peace event sponsored by the Embassy of India and Friends of Yoga.

While not paired with barley-based beverages after, meditation and breath-work between poses will help guide participants through the practice from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Sylvan Theatre on the National Mall.

Countries from around the world celebrate the International Day of Yoga, but the District has hosted the event twice since 2015, said Will Bohlen of the Podesta Group, a lobbying firm specializing in global public affairs.

The matching of the thousand-year-old practice of yoga with the equally ancient craft of beer came together in the past couple of years, said Dave Coleman, co-owner of the 3 Star Brewing Co. The brewery hosts a monthly yoga and beer event.

“Now, it’s at its most popular than I’ve ever seen it,” Mr. Coleman said.

The exact origins of the fitness trend are unknown, said Ms. Trowbridge, a yoga instructor from Ohio.

But for her and fellow Beer Yogi Melissa Klimo-Major, their partnership and practice happened “organically,” due to their roots in Oregon and Cleveland, which they say have significant beer scenes.

From Germany to Australia, the beer-and-yoga sensation made its way to the United States. While contemporary yoga classes often attract more serious and toned exercise enthusiasts, the relaxed reputation of the Balance & Brews events lightens the mood.

“It’s about the accessibility to yoga,” said Ms. Klimo-Major, who teaches yoga in Oregon. “Bringing it out into world and seeing it really is something where you don’t need this very controlled space.”

“We try to gear these classes toward all levels of yogis to try and make them accessible to all,” Ms. Trowbridge said. “We talk about it being a combination of things that feel good in moderation.”

While some yoga and beer events directly incorporate the drinks in the session (such as balancing bottles on top of your head), Ms. Trowbridge and Klimo-Major prefer their pints separately in the taproom after class for attendees to connect with one another, as yoga teaches practicers to connect with their own bodies.

Or, they say, participants can drink a pint before.

The Beer Yogis will hold a session at the 3 Star Brewing Co. from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

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