Someone once recognized me, at a brewery of course, and called me the 'Beer Yoga Queen of South Florida'. Not gonna lie, I took some pride in that! After a few years of weekly beer yoga classes, going to beer festivals, hanging out at breweries, (you get the point) I suppose it doesn't come as surprise that I enjoy a good beer and much of my social life revolves around a beer garden.
Enter Covid life and there's not a whole lot going on except watching tv and kicking back with a drink or two. Sometimes there was a craving for drinks to ease a bit of the anxiety we have all felt but mostly, I believe, it was out of boredom and not really knowing what to do with myself. When I started to reflect on what a strange year 2020 has been, I realized it had been months since I had gone a day without having a drink. I had gained weight, my sleep patterns were really inconsistent, and by September I was often waking in the middle of the night around 3am and not really falling back asleep. Needless to say I was feeling gross and tired and the yoga student in me had to do a reality check. I decided I needed to make some changes, tune in with myself, and let my body recover with some principles of Ayurveda. With that I decided I would go all out and dive in to Sober October.
Ayurveda is a practice in line with yoga principals that emphasizes good health, prevention, and treatment of illness through lifestyle practices such as massage, meditation, yoga, dietary changes, and the use of herbal remedies. Ayurvedic diets are holistic, which means viewing the body and mind as a whole. You are observing the excess and deficiencies in your life and whether that may be contributing to any kind of imbalance to your health. For example trouble falling or staying asleep, irritability, or indigestion.
Something that I learned and hit home was that the period between 1-3 AM is “showtime” for the liver and its metabolic activities. Given that the liver is a major organ for detoxification, episodes of excess alcohol or a general toxic overload on the liver could be triggering the 3 AM wake-up call. So I'm pretty sure my body had been telling me for weeks to cut this shit out and it was working overtime every night which was waking me up. Wake up call heard loud and clear!
I was a little disappointed to be missing many special release fall flavors and Oktoberfest beers as those are the yummiest but it's all for the greater good. Coming in to Sober October I was really anticipating feeling terrible physically, like withdrawals or something, I guess, and feeling lost at what to do with myself both in my personal time and at my brewery yoga classes. Also, have you ever had those time when you went out or were at a party but you simply didn't feel like drinking or had a water and you got scrutinized for not having that drink in your hand? Why do people do that? Annoying and none of your business, person! Anyway, I figured I would get a lot of that happening but to my pleasant surprise not a single person questioned it. So thanks for not being obnoxious and respecting my decision to take care of myself!
I think my body so desperately needed this break and regeneration that I felt pretty damn great, I didn't think twice about a drink within the first maybe 3 weeks, and I was happy as a clam because I was sleeping much better. I was drinking sparkling waters, smoothies & kombucha on those times that I felt I needed something a little more flavorful in my day or when I was in a social setting. And yes, you can be social without alcohol! Plus you're everyone's best friend as a designated driver.
What got really challenging was when we had a string of bad rainy days and were stuck in the house with nothing to do and nowhere to go. I got a little stir crazy and felt very tempted especially since my partner was NOT rocking Sober October. Much like the early Covid lockdown, you just kind of don't know what to do with yourself after a long period of the same thing and same environment. Maybe drinking is a defense mechanism in hopes that this shit show will pass by faster if you are buzzed and don't care or don't remember half of it?
From my point of view, here are some major perks of my Sober October experience: Save money-booze adds up! Better sleep, easier to wake up in the morning, clear complexion, and some weight loss. What I realized towards the end of the month was that my appetite was curbed. I was totally content with what I was eating and drinking and required no more, no less. Hand in hand with the shrinking waistline bonus is that I had no drunk munchies to lead me astray which I am the worst with! I tend to eat pretty healthy but once the beer kicks in gimme all the cheeses and a fat German style pretzel and my ancestors are smiling down on me from the Deutschmeister heavens. We've all been there; mindless shoveling of food in to your mouth when that ABV kicks in. Now don't get me wrong, I was more than happy to have that Oktoberfest beer this past weekend and I hope to enjoy a big carb-y pretzel with one anther day soon. But overall, I am so glad I gave my body a break.
I encourage you to take a step back and look at your habits and your relationship with alcohol lately. Yes, the Beer Yoga girl is telling you to evaluate your alcohol intake. It's always all about balance and finding that yoga take away. Do some self reflection, listen to the signals your body is sending you. You are the only one that can determine how you feel and how you utilize your body. Ultimately the thing that was best for me was that I just felt lighter and more comfortable in my own body. I felt a little more like true me.
Alyssa is the founder of ALES & ASANAS®, Inc. We utilize local breweries to foster a community of fitness and beer enthusiasts in a welcoming atmosphere. We like to get social after class and sample craft beer while getting to know our neighbors and supporting local businesses. Whether it's your first class or 500th class we hope you feel stronger, relaxed, and a little hoppier.