Bend and Brew

Thanks to a growing trend, bottoms up at your local yoga class may refer to more than just the body position for downward-facing dog. Nationwide, yoga classes held at craft breweries are helping people keep limber with a side of lager.

The movement started in larger cities a few years back and seems to be creating a good buzz now here in the Monadnock Region. But beer and yoga? Together? One might wonder, what’s the connection?

Fun and relaxation top the list. Yoga de-stresses people and breweries are entertaining places to gather with friends to unwind. Both have that chill, frosty-mug vibe.

Both are also good for your health. Yoga improves flexibility and reduces body aches and pains. It’s been touted that beer (in moderation) can increase bone density, prevent dementia, reduce cardiovascular risks and has anti-cancer properties.

And yoga instructors hope the collaboration will draw some new faces into their studios on a more regular basis. Many yoga-brewery events boast increased participation by men in comparison to studio classes which can tend to lean heavily toward female attendees.

The breweries, of course, aren’t hopping mad about the prospect of encouraging more faces to belly up to the bar. They want to attract a larger crowd and build a loyal following for their handcrafted ales.

Beer fitness, it turns out, is a mindset that extends far beyond yoga to running clubs, bike rides, dance classes and more. There are even websites cashing in on the trend — workforyourbeer.com will help you find a beer fitness class near you.

And, as luck has it, there’s one nearby. Mudita Massage & Wellness of Keene is teaming up with Branch and Blade Brewing, at 17 Bradco St. in Keene, to offer “Bend & Brew” yoga at the brewery from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the first Sunday of every month.

Mudita Massage & Wellness, at 69 Emerald St., is a collaborative community space encouraging wellness through movement, music, art and touch. Mudita opened in October 2018 and offers a wide range of yoga classes, from gentle and restorative to vigorous, as well as massage therapy and essential oil education.

The center is co-owned by Kat Wood and Aaron Shields, who enjoy creating unique events to connect yoga with community and the arts. The Mudita owners were introduced to Branch and Blade owners Trevor Bonnette and Jesse O’Bryan through mutual friend Chef Jordan Scott of Machina Arts.

Wood says the idea of a yoga class had been brewing in the minds of the Branch and Blade owners for a while before the connection was made.

“We love to work with other small businesses,” Wood said of the collaborative venture. “Partnering feels really good and its beneficial for both of us. It’s crossover we might not normally get.”

The brewery event planned for April 7 will be the fourth such offering, and Wood said that attendance has been “steadily growing and gaining momentum.” Another local business, the Street & Savory Food Truck, has also added its street food with big flavor to some of the Sunday events.

Bend & Brew is appropriate for all levels of experience. The drop-in rate is $20 which includes the class and a pint of beer of the participant’s choosing following class — or a beer ticket to save for a rainy day. Attendees should wear comfortable clothes and bring their own mat.

“Every time we connect with new people and it’s great,” Wood said.

And let’s not forget those among us who favor spirits over suds. After attending a Bend & Brew event, the owners of Copper Cannon Distillery in West Chesterfield also wanted to take a shot at it.

The distillery is teaming up with Mudita Massage & Wellness to offer a “Bend & Brunch” yoga-themed event in Keene on Saturday, April 27, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., followed by a rum tasting and a French toast brunch. This class is also appropriate for all levels of experience and the location will only be released to registered attendees as limited space is available.

Bend & Brunch is $20 and includes the yoga class, rum tasting and brunch. Participants should wear comfortable clothes and bring their own yoga mat. For location details and to register, email Mudita Wellness at info@mudita.live.

In addition to these upcoming events, Mudita also offers “Yoga and Live Music Fridays,” which feature local musicians and a rotating slate of yoga teachers every Friday night at their studio for a drop-in $10 rate.

“These are our most consistently full and popular classes,” Woods said. “it’s a great way to get to know the studio and it’s a nice transition from the end of a work week to the weekend.”

For more information about Mudita Massage & Wellness offerings, visit mudita.live or find the center on Facebook. To learn more about Branch and Blade Brewing, visit facebook.com/babbrewingco. Copper Cannon Distillery updates can be found at coppercannon.com or facebook.com/copperxcannon.