Imagine for a moment that instead of heading to your local pub for a bottle of beer with your buddies, you head to a yoga class for it. Better still, instead of just walking into the class and ordering a bottle or two, you ask the yoga teacher to manage your activity and reward you with a sip every time you do achieve a milestone.

Well, imagine no more because beer yoga – beer taken during or after a yoga class, is a reality. Driven by an age-old love for beer in a country like Germany, yogi trainers saw an opportunity to marry both forms of body therapy. Now, the trend has caught on surprisingly fast in various countries around the world.

The trend was founded by two certified yoga teachers, Emily and Jhula, who also happen to love beer. The idea was born after Jhula happened to see an almost similar concept in Burning Man, back in 2015. That was when they launched their brand BierYoga, which has caught on very well in various continents. The duo first sold their idea to the public in Berlin, Germany for the first 12 months. Once the trend caught on, they started doing tours in other parts of the world starting with Australia.

Now, beer yoga classes are catching on fast in various parts of the US. In Chicago, it’s mainly the beer companies that are leading the way. By utilizing the open spaces that they have in their factories, they are hosting yoga classes while offering their beer. It is now not uncommon to see teams of between 10-25 people doing yoga in brewery spaces, surrounded by barrels and tanks of beer. The yoga class attendees are required to either bring their own mats or to rent one at a fee.

For example, the Begyle Brewing Company located in Ravenswood, Chicago, offers a one-hour yoga class every Saturday for a fee of $20. This amount caters for the training charges and beer. The company has found a way of advertising their beer and offering it to beer lovers in exchange for a small fee and a yoga class.

Considering that this is a growing trend, the beer companies that have tapped into it can only expect to do better in coming days. The idea is that this combination will help break the barriers of engaging in yoga for those who are intimidated to do so. The classes offer fun, and they are a way to still have the company of friends while keeping fit.

Worried that you may not be able to balance while tipsy? Well, that’s beside the point. Most classes are tailored to accommodate both beer and yoga, have fun, and keep everyone safe. How the beer sipping and doing yoga is organized depends on either the trainer or the hosting beer company.

There are those who offer beer after each successful pose. There are also those who integrate beer in the poses; such as balancing the beer bottle on the head. There are still those that offer beer after the yoga sessions are complete. Just how far this trend will go or how long it will last is a wait and see affair.

If you have ever visited a yoga center, you have probably started with, or relaxed at the end of the session, with the mantra Om (ॐ). But have you ever wondered what it means and where it comes from?

The Sanskrit original word for the westernized “Om” is AUM, and it is described, among other ways, as the original sound. The sound that was born with the universe. Its three letters represent creation, preservation, and destruction. When done properly, the Om sound created by our own throats resonates from the pelvic floor upwards through the crown of the head, filling the body with vibrant energy that empowers us and, at the same time, radiates tranquility.

In addition, it is said that the Om mantra increases self-awareness and concentration in your most intimate spiritual world.

It is important to learn the correct way to chant the Om mantra in order to fully enjoy its benefits:

First of all, let’s learn its correct pronunciation. It has three syllables: A-U-M. It begins with a nasalized vowel [a:] that transforms into [u:] and ends with a long and vibrant [m]. Om is pronounced in a single deep exhalation: a-ā-u-ū-m-(ng)-(silence)

Now that we know the phonetics of Om, let’s move on to the visualization or the feeling of each sound. To sound the first two syllables, open the mouth wide as if you want to swallow the whole universe. When you start chanting, imagine that the first vowel (“a”) appears around your bellybutton, and the sound waves irradiate to your pelvic floor and your lower chest.

Then it grows towards the second syllable, slowly moving the place of the sound to your throat, and allowing the sound to massage your heart, thymus, and thyroid on its way up.

Finally, gently close your lips for the final syllable [m], allowing the sound to move from the throat up. The vibration of the [m] sound then resonates within your skull, massaging your pineal and pituitary glands, to finally reaching the crown of the head.

The movement of the mantra Om through your body is often associated with the chakras, or energy centers and their colors. So, you can also practice visualizing these colors when you chant: inhale through the back of your body to open those places where tension is locked and then visualizing Yellow, which is the color for the Manipura chakra where Om is originated. Then green (heart), sky blue (throat), Indigo (third eye), and Purple (crown of the head) when the sound travels up.

It is believed that the power of the Om mantra is so great that even staring and taking in the Om symbol (ॐ) can exert a positive influence. You can even chant the mantra in silence, in your own mind to regain calmness!

Pronounced or written, the Om mantra is one of the essential aspects of yoga and one of the most important stages for the understanding of yoga. I hope you enjoy this practice. Just try to chant it 24 times in a row to see the benefits!

Namaste!