Yoga, beer mix at Happy Hour

TRAVERSE CITY — Forget about raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.

A group of enthusiasts have found a different mix of their favorite things at Happy Hour Yoga, held every other Friday under the water tower outside Earthen Ales in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

For $10, participants receive an hour of yoga instruction from Kelsea Erickson, followed by a pint of craft beer at Earthen Ales.

Erickson is an Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher with 500 hours of certified training through the Yoga Alliance in Hatha yoga.

She teaches weekly at the Sleeping Bear Bay Club in Glen Arbor, does private instruction and trained in Rishikesh, India for a total of 12 weeks.

“It’s combining two of my favorite things that are on the totally opposite spectrum,” Erickson said. “I love beer, I love yoga and I love socializing so combining the two and having fun with it is a good thing. In the studio you teach your class and then everybody leaves right after, you don’t get that chance to talk with people.

“Having everybody come in, we do a class, we go have a beer afterwards and we can chit-chat and talk about whatever. It brings a lot more community feel to it.”

Sisters Victoria and Christina Dixon agreed that yoga and beer work well together.

Victoria Dixon has attended both Happy Hour Yoga sessions. The Traverse City woman found out about the June 23 debut class on Facebook.

“Beer and wine are very relaxing and my job is very stressful,” said Victoria Dixon, an operating room nurse at Munson Medical Center. “I like yoga and come to Earthen Ales often.”

“I love both beer and yoga,” added Christina Dixon, who was in town visiting her sister from Las Vegas. “They’re the top two on my favorites list.”

Nan Lewis of Interlochen did a beer and yoga event previously on Old Mission Peninsula held through the Jolly Pumpkin. She was at Happy Hour Yoga with her truck driver husband, Larry, who had the week off.

“It’s just something new to try and I have the opportunity to do it with my husband, something I didn’t have the opportunity to do before,” she said.

Andrew Kidwell-Bix, who co-owns Earthen Ales with his wife, Jamie, said Erickson had the idea for Happy Hour Yoga. It didn’t take much to sell them on the concept.

“She was just in, having a beer, talking about yoga and ways to unwind at the end of the week,” Andrew Kidwell-Bix said. “To me, there’s no better way to end the week with yoga and then sitting down and having a beer.”

The first Earthen Ales Happy Hour Yoga drew seven participants. The next drew four, faced with competition from the National Cherry Festival. Sessions will continue every other Friday outside Earthen Ales, with the next one scheduled from 5-6 p.m. on July 19. No advance registration is required.

“If we can get more people out more often, I’m always happy to use the sunshine in the summertime,” Erickson said. “There’s only so much time you can spend in Michigan doing outdoor yoga stuff. We want to get as much as we can in here.”

Participants are asked to bring a yoga mat or towel and “your thirsty self.” New Happy Hour Yoga participants have to sign a waiver, pay Erickson the fee and receive a “Na’ Ma Stay and Drink a Beer” voucher for a pint of their choice.

There are some in the fitness community that believe that beer after a strenuous workout is a good way to recover quickly.

“Beer definitely has a lot of good nutrients for you,” Erickson said. “I got done having a kid seven months ago and they said one of the best things for me to do for my milk production was to drink beer, which was very odd to me. So I looked into that a little bit. The yeast is really good for you and honestly, I feel better if I’ve earned drinking my beer.”

“If I feel like I did something first, I don’t feel quite so bad about drinking a beer later on.”