So, apparently “beer yoga” is a thing now. People do yoga poses while holding and drinking a bottle of beer. It’s kind of a big thing now, I guess. Go figure.

Travis Naughton

I’ve always thought it a bit odd that at 5K runs and half-marathons, (the literal stomping grounds of those who are obsessed with fitness and exercise,) free beer is provided to participants for their post-race enjoyment. Why beer, I wonder. Why not dole out free shots of whiskey to every “health nut” who crosses the finish line? Better yet, make it margaritas. The salt along the rim will replace what the runners lose when they sweat. “Tequila: It’s practically Gatorade!”

There are so many opportunities/reasons/excuses to drink already, do we really need to mix beer and yoga? Traditional yoga is intended to prevent physical problems, treat ailments, and maintain physical and spiritual well-being. Drinking alcohol often has the exact opposite effect. I seriously doubt that any old-school Indian yogis would approve of hipster beer yoga.

Some might say, “Oh, but Travis, drinking in moderation can actually be good for you.” Yes, I’ve heard that before, but what’s the point of drinking in moderation? You can’t catch much of a buzz by drinking in moderation. And if you don’t want to catch a buzz, then why would you want to drink?

Please don’t tell me it’s just because you like the taste of alcohol. Folks don’t mix Jack Daniel’s with Coca-Cola because whiskey makes Coke taste better. They do it to catch a buzz.

Are we so fixated on booze that we can’t even engage in healthy endeavors such as running or yoga without it? Eight months ago I might have thought beer yoga was a swell idea, but after eight months of sobriety and careful reflection I’ve come to realize the folly of inventing more and more ways to justify drinking more and more alcohol.

Alcohol is already everywhere you look—take downtown Columbia, for example. In the District you can drink a beer in a movie theater, order a locally made ice cream treat spiked with liquor, sample vodka at a trendy micro distillery, sip sake while scarfing some sushi, taste dozens of varieties of ales, stouts, porters, and IPAs produced at several local craft breweries, and have a little wine while enjoying a concert in the historic Missouri Theater.

I’ve done all those things.

The ubiquity of alcohol is obvious to someone like me who has an alcohol problem. “Let’s play a round of golf! First, let’s stop in at the clubhouse and buy a six-pack for the cooler on the back of the cart. We’ll grab another sixer when we make the turn for the back nine.”

“Let’s go fishing! Gotta stop and get gas before we head to the lake. Better grab a twelve-pack and a couple bags of ice while we’re at it. Heck, if the fish aren’t biting, we might need a case.”

“It’s the first snowfall of the year! Let’s go drive the river roads. I’ll throw a cooler in the back of the truck and we can make a day of it.”

“I’m having a barbeque this weekend! You should come. Everybody will be there. We’ll all get drunk as lords—as usual.” I’ve done all those things, too.

Alcohol goes with everything, it seems. Especially sports. Go to any professional sporting event and you will quickly realize that most of the fans in attendance are simply there to pound expensive beers. I recently went to a Cardinals game at Busch (beer) Stadium, and I felt like I was the only person there over 21 years of age who wasn’t drinking. In fact, just to blend in, I ordered an O’Doul’s non-alcoholic “beer” to wash down the overcooked, shriveled-up, eight-dollar bratwurst I barely managed to choke down. I immediately regretted both purchases.

As a former drinker, I guess I may be a little hypersensitive to the drinking culture we live in. I’ve started seeing old, familiar things in a whole new light. Lately I’ve found myself watching one of my favorite television shows, “Frasier”, while lying sober and awake in bed late at night. Something that has really jumped out at me is how often the central characters of the show drink. When his brother Niles visits, Frasier always offers him a drink. Usually sherry or brandy. They discuss and taste fine wines frequently. Their father Marty is a beer drinker and is rarely seen without a can of his favorite brand on the table beside his chair. When he isn’t drinking at the apartment, Marty can be found knocking back a few with his old cop buddies at Duke’s Pub. If there’s ever been an episode in which alcohol didn’t appear in at least one scene, I don’t recall it. Funny how I never noticed that before.

Alcohol is everywhere these days. (Except my bloodstream.) Does it really need to be in yoga studios, too?