Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewery Offers An Unlikely Pairing
By Angela Blue
McKenzie Oast of Satya Yoga
Photos by Lili Valentine
“Atman is the divine self, that part of you that’s not affected by the ego, ” explains McKenzie Oast, instructor of a Sunday morning yoga class that I’m taking for the first time. Just the mention of the word “ego” and I envision a frosty glass of Alter Ego Saison, a Belgian farmhouse ale by Norfolk’s Smartmouth Brewery.
You might assume I have a problem since I’m fantasizing about beer in the middle of a Sunday morning yoga class. But when the class is held inside a brewery—where every now and then I catch a whiff of enticing, ready-to-be-consumed, fresh-from-the-tap beer—it’s hard to ponder much else.
Recently, Smartmouth began offering yoga classes in their tasting room followed by beer available for purchase. Instructors vary from local studios. Today’s class focuses on Triyoga, a method emphasizing posture, breath and focus. Oast, studio manager of Norfolk’s Satya Yoga, is adept in translating poses for those (like me) who are unfamiliar with this style. She spends an adequate amount of time on each position and moves around the room as she teaches, helping students to adjust their postures during the hour-and-a-half class.
“This practice [of Triyoga] is super rare and special to have, ” says Megan Glover, sales representative of Smartmouth. Glover, who has a teaching certification from Norfolk’s Hot House Yoga, says she hopes the class will encourage people to try different styles of yoga. “There’s a beer for everybody; there’s a style of yoga for everybody, too.”
The idea of combining yoga and beer began when Glover was approached by someone from lululemon, an international yoga clothing company with a store location in Virginia Beach. The plan was to host a yoga class for guys only—called Bros & Brews—as an attempt to perk the men’s interest in yoga and the Lululemon brand. The first class drew a lot of excitement, but there was one problem with hosting a guys-only yoga class followed by delicious beer: the wives were jealous. So they opened the experience up to everyone.
Glover explains that the cultures of breweries and yoga studios are actually similar. “They take pride in what they do, they like seeing people happy, they’re for the masses, and they want to make your day better. Honestly, they make a lot of sense together, ” she says. “Obviously the beer after the yoga.”