Basic Yoga Terms to Know Before You Hit the Brewery
Mar 04, 2017
If you've been thinking about trying a beer yoga class, you're in the right city for it! There are a plethora of yoga classes being hosted at breweries, restaurants, bottle shops, and other beer-serving locations around Charlotte, and new classes are being added to that list all the time. (Pro tip: find the full list of all of the beer yoga classes in Charlotte here).
For some people, the idea of hopping into a yoga class can be daunting simply because you have no idea what the instructor is telling you to do. It's possible that when they're saying, "Really concentrate on that ujjayi breath, find your drishti, andddd... grounded half moon!" you're just hearing gibberish. But don't worry! You catch on faster than you might think.
To get you started, though, here are a few basic yoga terms to know before you head to your first beer yoga class at a brewery near you.
Basic Yoga Terms
Asana is the physical practice of yoga, i.e. yoga poses. There are eight limbs of yoga (which we won't go into now, but you should learn about them if you're practicing yoga), and asana is the third of those limbs.
Pranayama is breathwork, i.e. the breathing techniques you use to build prana (energy) in your practice. This is the fourth limb of yoga. Your instructor may tell you to practice a specific type of pranayama, like the ujjayi breath we mentioned above, during your practice.
Some yoga classes open or close with "Om," which is a sacred chant or mantra that traditionally embodies the whole universe coming together. You can join in, or stay quiet and feel the positive vibrations from the "Om"s all around you!
At the end of your practice, it is extremely likely that your instructor will ask you to move to a comfortable seated position, bring prayer hands to heart center, and will say, "The light in me sees and honors the light in you." Then they'll touch the thumbs of their prayer hands to their third eye (between your brows) and bow to each student in the class. You're always invited to do the same and to bow to your classmates! At Work For Your Beer, we like to say, "The beer within me honors the beer within you."
Basic Yoga Poses
Stand with feet hip-width distance apart, arms at your sides. Take a deep breath, and as you inhale, sweep your arms out and up above your head. You can either just reach up high and stretch, or you can end up in prayer hands. Yogi's choice.
Forward Fold (Uttanasana)
With feet hips-width distance apart, bend forward at the hips and reach your arms toward your feet, touching your toes if you're able.
Halfway Lift (Ardha uttanasana)
Lift your torso up, halfway to standing, with a straight spine (also sometimes referred to as a "flat back" by instructors).
High Plank (Uttihita chaturanga dandasana)
Just like it sounds! With hands shoulder-width distance apart, hold yourself in a high plank position, keeping your elbows in and not dumping your weight into your wrists! It should be like you're pushing the earth away from you, with both your core and arms engaged to keep you up.
Low Plank (Chaturanga dandasana)
Again, a pretty self-explanatory pose here. Move into a low plank position, with your body parallel to the ground, elbows at a right angle.
Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva mukha svanasana)
The tops of your feet should be against the mat, hands spread shoulder-distance apart. Lift your thighs off of the mat as you push your torso into a small backbend, shoulders stacked above your hands.
Downward Facing Dog (Adho mukha svanasana)
Move onto all fours, spreading your feet and hands hip-width distance apart, fingers spread wide. Press your hips up so that your body looks like an upside-down V, pressing your chest toward your thighs.
Child's Pose (Balasana)
Spread your knees out wide, move your big toes together to touch, and rest your bum on your heels. Find length in your spine, and reach your arms long and extended, with your palms facing down.
Corpse Pose (Savasana)
Lay flat on your back, arms and legs spread out. Breathe deeply. Calm your mind. (This is the hardest pose of them all!)
The Most Basic Yoga Rule: Just Be There
Whether you finally nailed Birds of Paradise or you spent the whole practice in Child's Pose, all that matters is that you showed up! From first-timers to seasoned yogis, the goal is the same: just be there. You don't have to know what you're doing, you don't have to look good doing it, you just have to be there.
The beauty of brewery yoga, in our eyes, is that it makes the practice less intimidating for people who want to try it out. So, don't worry if you don't know all the terms or the poses. You'll get there. Or you won't! And that's fine, too. Either way there will be beer, so it can't be too bad, right?
Ready to try beer yoga? Check out our complete directory of EVERY beer yoga class in Charlotte here!