What happens when you put mud in your milk or when you add pebbles in your food? Adding beer or alcohol into a practice as sincere and sacrosanct as Yoga is an equally absurd combination, and unhealthy to say the least. Beer Yoga is where the line is crossed from liberalism to corruption of a spiritual practice. In this article we take a hard look at how marketing antics like beer yoga, introduced purely for short-sighted commercial gain, is playing with your health.
It began in Germany as ‘Bier Yoga’ that couples up ‘philosophies of Yoga’ with the ‘pleasure of beer drinking’ to ‘reach your highest level of consciousness.’ But a seasoned Yogi will tell you that an inebriated state is a manipulated state of consciousness, and it cannot lead you to the higher states of consciousness, but can only drown you in inertia.
1) Real Definition Of Yoga
One of the most authoritative texts on Yoga is Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. Patanjali describes Yoga as:
Yogaḥ Citta Vṛtti Nirodhaḥ
Meaning: When you reach the state of yoga, all misconceptions (vrittis) that can exist in the mutable aspect of human beings (chitta), in the form of thoughts or modulations of the mind, disappear.
Use of alcohol or any substance as part of Yogic practice, instead of clearing the mind of Vrittis, can only add to the turmoil of the mind. This is especially important for those newly initiated on the path of Yoga, who may not yet have that kind of control over the Panchendriyas or The Five Senses.
2) Increased Substance Dependence
Daily intake of beer will increase the metabolic capacity of alcohol metabolizing receptors in the body. In other words, you will require more beer to give you the consistent amount of high or ‘pleasure’ if this becomes a regular practice.
3) Beer Yoga Will Work Against Your Liver Function Of Detoxification
ADH or alcohol dehydrogenase metabolizes alcohol into acetaldehyde in the body, and here is the catch…. The body does not know how to process the acetaldehyde. It simply gets deposited in the liver cells as saturated fat leading to what doctors call fatty liver. Yoga helps the liver detox but beer doesn’t help this process.
4) Could Lead To Injury
Use of alcohol while doing Yogasanas could lead to
-Rigged sensory response
-Poor motor functions and in-cognition or inferior cognition
-vital signs like heart rate, respiratory rate, body temperature could be impacted
-reduced oxygen saturation
All in all, uncoordinated motor functions pose a grave risk of physical injury while practicing Yoga Asanas.
5) Cognitive functions diverted to processing Alcohol
As opposed to observing your breath and mind while practicing the Yoga poses that give you a deeper experience of Yoga, sipping on beer will divert the cognitive functions towards dealing with this foreign substance in the body. This will make it difficult and arduous to practice simple breathing techniques or Pranayamas. How can you practice Yoga mindfully when your mind is being manipulated by the substance and you are under the influence? Using beer also eliminates the meditative aspect of Yoga.
6) Could Cause Ulcers
For those who drink, it is strongly recommended that they take proteins and fluids along with it. This is to nullify the acidic nature of the alcohol. Also, yoga must be practiced on an empty stomach. This tells you that it is nearly impossible to drink plenty of water and eat protein rich food while doing Asanas, increasing the risk of peptic and gastric ulcers.
7) Counter Indicative For Diabetics
If you have diabetes, Yoga is a great way to manage the glycogen function in the body. But beer is counterindicative to this. About 422 million people in the world are diabetic today.
8) Affected Sleep
Alcohol consumption affects your biological clock. The body needs sleep to function at its best during the day. But alcohol could hinder your sleep cycle. Practicing Yoga was meant to give you a deep and restful sleep. This won’t quite happen with beer yoga since the quality of sleep would be very different. While practicing Yoga would give you a fresh start for the day, and you will feel energized, beer yoga could potentially give you poor sleep and a sluggish beginning to the day. The choice is totally yours!
9) Risk Of Anxiety
A lot of people come to Yoga to get relief from anxiety and worry. But this objective is impeded when you integrate a spiritual practice with alcohol because the metabolism will not get the right amount of rest it was supposed to get through practice of traditional forms of Yoga.
10) Encouraging Alcohol Addiction
How does one tell if someone is a substance addict? How does one instruct such a person to engage in a practice like Yoga when the very substance he is addicted to, is used as a prop? Beer yoga may attract lot of closet addicts who will never know the real essence of Yoga because of the inebriation. This could become another problem at hand for authorities to handle, apart from having to deal with the consequences of addiction in the society.
Research reference: Harrison’s Principles Of Internal Medicine