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'Yoga & Beer' brews up fan base in Crystal Lake

Area residents attend Yoga & Beer with Akasha Dec. 26 at the Crystal Lake Brewery in Crystal Lake.
Area residents attend Yoga & Beer with Akasha Dec. 26 at the Crystal Lake Brewery in Crystal Lake.

Students learn to balance both their bodies and their beers in a regular yoga class at Crystal Lake Brewing. 

Offered once a month by instructor Laura Schultz of Akasha Yoga Center in Crystal Lake, “Yoga & Beer” includes a one-hour class, a can of beer and a tour of the brewery. 

Schultz encourages students to sip and occasionally challenges them to balance their beers on their knees or feet during certain poses. The tree pose often ends with a raising of beer and a “Cheers!” The classes are taught directly in the brewery at 150 N. Main St. in Crystal Lake.

“It’s really fun and low-key,” Schultz said. “This is really about having a good time and loosening up and enjoying being in the setting of the brewery. I usually teach the class to a beginner level. 

“If you already have yoga experience, you’re welcome to do whatever you need to make it more challenging.”

While more yoga studios throughout the country, including many in Chicago, are incorporating beer tastings and brewery tours as part of their classes, fewer actually include drinking beer during the class. 

Crystal Lake Brewing General Manager Beth Alberger has been taking yoga classes at Akasha in Crystal Lake since 2014 and first invited Schultz to host a class at the brewery in 2015. 

Classes gradually went from about once every few months to the fourth Wednesday of every month as more people tapped into them. At a cost of $20, the 7 p.m. class includes a 12-ounce beer and a tour of the brewery. 

Participants can choose from the brewery’s five year-round beers, as well as about six types of seasonal beers available at various times of the year, Alberger said.

“Not everybody does yoga, but it’s really good for the body and mind, and incorporating the beer with it is just really fun,” she said.

Walk-ins are welcome. Those who attend are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat.

Schultz makes participants feel comfortable, Alberger said. 

“It’s relaxing, and it brings people together,” she said. “We have a lot of couples that come. For the guys, it may be a little more intimidating to go to a yoga studio, but when they’re able to be introduced to yoga at a brewery, it’s a little easier to get more acclimated.”

The classes often draw groups of friends, as well as couples. Schultz incorporates partner poses into the class.

Amanda Marx of Crystal Lake regularly does yoga on her own because she finds it “grounding and centering,” but also enjoys attending “Yoga & Beer” with friends and family. 

“I’ve dragged my husband with me,” she said.

She’s also invited her parents to try it out. 

“It’s definitely a comfortable environment for beginners,” she said. “They talk you through the poses. There’s nothing too intense at all.”

For information on the class, call 779-220-9288 or visit www.crystallakebrew.com.

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