When I’m in Bali I very rarely drink alcohol. Wine, my drink of choice, is ridiculous expensive and often not very good. Also, it doesn’t taste right in the tropical heat and then I’m driving around on my scooter everywhere and have a set rule to NEVER drink when driving.
When I’m in Europe it’s a different story. Alcohol is a slightly bigger part of my social life, good wine is affordable and there’s nothing better than a glass of cool white wine on a warm summer night.
But how does it connect to my yoga practice?
I strongly believe that yoga belongs right in the middle of our messy daily life. Too much work and lazy TV nights, boyfriend troubles and parties, green smoothies and pizza – yoga should fit right in. Sometimes it’s great to escape it all and go on a yoga retreat or a spiritual pilgrimage. But that’s not everyday life for most of us.
Also we yogis can become a bit obsessed. Taking ourselves a tiny bit too serious. Having a devoted yoga practice is great, but there’s more to a happy life.
Life is about balance. And a glass of wine or a cold beer can totally be a part of it. You are not a better yogi because you live a life of austerity. Yoga is about cultivating presence, feeling vibrant, alive and awake. And yes, alcohol can be a part of that.
Don’t believe me? Instagram proves me right. A quick search unearthed accounts like @womenwineandyoga, @wineforyogalovers, @winedownyoga and @yogawinetravel, the most successfull one with over 43k followers.
Having said that – chaturangas and alcohol don’t mix very well.
In the yoga sutras Patanjali teaches us about saucha (translated roughly as cleanliness) and ahimsa (translated as non-violence). The former being concerned with keeping body, mind and energies clear and the latter focused towards acting compassionately towards others and one self and abstaining from toxic substances that are damaging for us.
That’s the theory and I put it to a practical test (a few times, all in the name of science, haha). Have you ever done a yoga class the morning after a party? Ouch. Everything feels wrong. Poses are suddenly impossible. Forget about finding bliss in meditation.
Yoga teaches us more awareness what’s going on in our body. Makes us more mindful of even very little changes happening. And unfortunately for me this means that I’m more sensitive to alcohol, too.
That’s why I rarely drink alcohol anymore. Because I notice it in my yoga practice the next morning. And it doesn’t feel good.
After all drinking is very often about escapism, numbing, sleeping and dulling the senses. As a yogi I want to FEEL. Everything. I want to be mindful of every little detail in my body and mind. Alcohol has the exact opposite effect unfortunately. And that’s why I think yoga and alcohol is not a good mix.
Still, if the occasional drink is something you enjoy, you don’t have to give it up. Just do it with full awareness, if you want to. Don’t deny yourself a drink without knowing why you’re doing it. Choose good quality alcohol, so your body will be able to cope with it better, and be selective about when you drink, how much and how often. Cheers!