Yoga + Beer Retreat in Bend, Oregon
You may be thinking, yoga and beer? What the hell is she talking about? I promise this is not a keg stand in downward dog situation. If you like beer and you like doing yoga, read on.
Find out what really happens at a yoga and beer retreat.
I fell in love with a few yoga years ago while in graduate school. It was the only thing that kept me calm and one of the few constructive activities that could get me away from my thesis. This year my travel goal was to find a yoga retreat in the United States for a little R&R. While researching one afternoon, I ran across a BuzzFeed article about yogis drinking beer and said, ok you got me. I clicked through and the classes were being taught in Germany. But at the end of the article, I saw a mention of a yoga and beer retreat in Oregon. Finally! Someone had merged two of my favorite things - beer and yoga. I signed up the next week.
What is a yoga and beer retreat?
5 days of yoga and beer, the beer being after class. Yoga instructor Mikki Trowbridge believes that yoga and beer go together. She says, "The laid-back, non-traditional atmosphere of a brewery makes the class feel more approachable for people, especially new yogis. And the social time is built into class - everyone is invited to join us for beer, or water, or whatever their beverage of choice is after class. It's less about the beer - and more about the opportunity to connect. And in Oregon, that just tends to happen with a beer in hand. We love our beer." Our group, comprised of 22 beer and yoga devotees tried headstands, stand up paddle yoga, vinyasa flow, restorative yoga, with plenty of tasty beers in between.
2017 Yoga + Beer Retreat Schedule
Bend, Oregon is a big beer city. There are 30 breweries in a city of approximately 90,000 people making it an ideal location for a retreat like this. There was no way we could possibly hit them all in just 5 days but we managed to check off quite a few. The Yoga + Beer Retreat itinerary varies from year to year but there are always seven yoga classes followed by a beer. There are also a few other fun field trips included. This is the full list of everywhere we went in 2017.
- 10 Barrel
- Bend Brewing
- Boneyard Brewing
- Crux Fermentation Project
- Deschutes Brewing
- Deschutes River Float
- Elk Lake
- McMenamins Hotel & Brewery
- Smith Rock State Park
- Silver Moon Brewing
- The Lot - food truck park with craft beer bar
- Worthy Brewing
I had some awesome beers over the course of 5 days but these were some of my favorites of the trip: Mango Daze (pale ale with fresh mango) from Silver Moon, PCT Porter from Crux, and Razz Tafari Sour Ale (raspberry & lemongrass) from Bend Brewing. The first pint after class is included in the retreat price.
There are so many things to do and see in Bend. The next time I attend the retreat I'll probably add on a day or two to explore more of the town.
Most of the classes were on land (aside from SUP yoga at Elk Lake) and held in breweries around town. Trowbridge says, “We try to change up the schedule of brewery classes each year to keep the retreat feeling fresh and new because we have a lot of repeat yogis who join us for this retreat. But whether we host a class at their brewery or not, we will definitely make stops at Crux Fermentation Project, Deschutes, and Worthy Brewing every year - because selfishly, I really love their beer and their vibe." “Boneyard Brewing currently doesn't have space to host yoga, but we always make sure to include a side trip to their taproom so everyone can taste their beer. It’s not to be missed,” she says.
Bonus Outdoor Activities
Stand Up Paddle Yoga at Elk Lake
The 2017 retreat got the toughest session out of the way first with a Stand Up Paddle Yoga Class at Elk Lake Resort, just a short drive from Bend. Before class, we took our boards out to practice and gain our footing. Imagine you’re on a paddleboard cruising over crystal blue water tucked away in the heart of the Cascade Mountains; it doesn’t get much more picturesque than that. If you think traditional yoga is difficult, wait until you try it on water. This was a great way to start the retreat because no how experienced a yogi you are, wobbling and possibly falling into ice cold water can strip away your ego pretty quickly. After a few hours of paddling around the lake and the SUP yoga class, we beached it with beers and lunch from a local deli.
Hiking at Smith Rock
Smith Rock is known for its rock climbing, but all of the hikes are equally breathtaking and you can watch the brave climbers practice their art from a safe distance. You can do your own thing or hang with the group. Our group split into three smaller groups: some did the easy Canyon Loop Trail (about 3.5 miles) while others tackled the Misery Ridge (3.7 miles with major elevation change) and the Summit Loop (7.3 miles).
Tubing down the Deschutes River
A river float is a rite of passage in Bend and naturally included in the Yoga + Beer Retreat. After a long morning of hiking, tubing down the Deschutes was the perfect way to end the day. Heads up, the water is freezing but is sublime on a hot day. When you get to the end of your float, the city of Bend river shuttle service will run you back up to the put-in for a couple of bucks. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday! FYI tube rental and the shuttle is included in your retreat.
Host Hotel: McMenamin's Old St. Francis School
Each trip starts with dinner and meet and greet at McMenamin’s in downtown Bend. This boutique hotel chain in Washington and Oregon restores historic buildings and turns them into adult Disneyland. Each hotel has a pub, several different bars, game room, movie theater, and a brewery.
The Old St. Francis School was a Catholic school built in 1936 in downtown Bend, Oregon. The structure of the main school building hasn't changed. One long hallway with classrooms turned guestrooms on both sides. McMenamin's pays homage to the school's history throughout the property with historic photographs lining the main hallway. Even the original (and working) water fountains remain in the hall.
Who is the Yoga + Beer Retreat for?
This retreat is for anyone that likes beer and yoga. For me, I wanted to explore a different part of the United States, try some different beers, and see what it would be like to immerse myself in yoga. At home, I can struggle to make time for a daily workout so I wanted to challenge myself, but have some fun too. Sure we did two classes a day but afterward, there was a tasty beer waiting for us. You do not have to be an experienced yogi to enjoy yourself. Mikki does a great job of showing modifications during class and gives everyone pointers along the way.
Trowbridge says, “I can't imagine a better way to be introduced to yoga than in a brewery; and then after it's done, you get to celebrate with a beer. As long as you come with a good attitude and a willingness to try new things - you'll have a good time.
I honestly had a fantastic time at this retreat. I plan all of my trips and it was so nice to be on a trip where I didn't have to worry about anything. I paid for it up front so once I got to Bend all I had to do was show up to class and enjoy. Our hotel was downtown making it easy to explore Bend on our own when we had free time in the afternoons. If you like yoga and beer this retreat is perfect for you.
Yoga + Beer Retreat Bend Cost 2018
Early Bird Rates ends April 1st
Single Occupancy - $1,649
Double Occupancy - $1,229 - bring a friend or ask to be paired with another beer yogi
No Lodging - $735 - if you're camping or local to Bend
Registration includes - four nights lodging, twelve meals, seven yoga classes, no less than eight beers, stand up paddleboard rental, guided hike, admission to Bend Brew Fest, river float and transportation during the retreat. Registration does not include travel to Bend.
Registration for the 2018 Yoga+ Beer Retreat in Bend, Oregon is open. Who’s in?
I received a discounted rate to attend the Yoga + Beer Retreat but all opinions are my own.