By Meredith Sheldon

While packing her yoga bag, Maggie Rucker grabs her mat, a water bottle and a towel.

But on Saturday, Feb. 18, she added one extra item to her exercise equipment — an ice cold can of beer.

Rucker, co-owner and yoga instructor at Flow Space Fitness, led 21 people in a beer yoga class on the rooftop of ooZoo Kitchen + Bar. Participants performed an hour of breathing exercises and postures while holding and drinking a beer.

“There is a group of people that have this affiliation with beer and social interaction as a fun thing,” said Rucker. “They might not normally do yoga because they think it is going to be very spiritual and boring, so when you combine the two, it gets really fun.”

The idea for the “brewga” class came from Kristina Genovese, a brand ambassador for Shock Top Brewing Co. After seeing a video of people practicing beer yoga in Germany, she wanted to bring the concept to Gainesville.

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“It really gets people outside and enjoying beer as a fun and outdoor thing,” said Genovese. “It shows that by having a good time and being outside there is no better way to do that than sipping a cold Shock Top and doing yoga.”

Genovese partnered with Dave Scott, the manager of ooZoo Kitchen + Bar to host and sponsor the event.

“Beer yoga is something that is catching on around the world, and we thought it would be a cool opportunity to bring it to Gainesville on our rooftop,” said Scott.

The class is similar to a vinyasa-flow yoga class. It is open to people of all talents who are of legal drinking age, said Rucker.

“It is not intense,” she said. “The addition of alcohol made me not want to make it super intense. I don’t want people to be huffing and puffing and falling over during the class.”

Rucker said there are some health benefits to consuming alcohol while performing postures.

“It helps you relax and enjoy more,” she said. “It promotes lightheartedness and laughter while releasing physical, mental and emotional tension.”

Besides beer, the class emphasizes other health benefits to practicing yoga.

“It teaches you not only physical fitness and physical health, but it teaches you to focus into your own body without the external world,” she said. “It makes me happy and gets me in the zone to be able to face whatever kinds of things I have to do. It is one of those things that I want to do.”

If you are interested in trying out beer yoga, Rucker said the class will be held biweekly on the rooftop at ooZoo Kitchen + Bar.