Spirit Matters

A new type of yoga (featuring Downward Drunken Dog!)

Spirit Matters
Jessie Spaccia illustration

Do you know what's better than hot yoga and power yoga and Bikram yoga and donkey yoga and that's guaranteed to become a major spiritual healing practice in about five seconds? Drunk yoga, that's what, also known as whiskey yoga or mindlessness yoga or you-still-seem-to-be-gaining-weight-but-who-cares yoga.

Imagine a class — let's call it Spirit Matters — offered through your local distillery/yoga studio, with hundreds of 53-gallon charred oak barrels on racks in the back room. This place smells like a forest, but with trees full of booze, all kinds of whiskey here, Irish and single malt, bourbon and rye, our yoga mats scattered amongst the barrels and bottles just like when we were in kindergarten, when naptime was upon us. Booths line the periphery of our sacred space, selling jewelry and shoes and mala beads, nothing we need particularly, just stuff we want, nothing that will fill our bellies (aside from the small-plate offerings and salads and large-plate offerings and desserts) but food for the soul. Nobody needs a $278 free-trade natural poly blend yoga jacket, but we'd all be better off if we had one!

In Spirit Matters, the teachings of the great yogis — with modifications suiting our purposes — will illuminate our path to enlightenment. We'll study Rodney Yee's wisdom that "the most important pieces of equipment you need for doing yoga are your body and your mind..." and maybe an Old Fashioned or two.

We'll embrace T. Guillemets' aphorism that "A photographer gets people to pose for him. A yoga instructor gets people to pose for themselves... " But either way, you always seem to be posing. What's wrong with you?

We'll consider Sharon Gannon's observation that "You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises... " Or maybe you'd prefer a shot with a beer back, and some of these delicious hot wings — mild, spicy, or inferno!!!!

During class, we'll be mindful and drink cocktails. We'll discuss religion and politics, the idiot at the office, the idiot down the street, that fantastic new album by what's her name. We'll bond. We'll cleave apart. We'll argue. We'll heal! And then we'll put on our yoga pants and start posing — using modified standard positions. In drunk yoga, Downward Facing Dog becomes Downward Drunken Dog. Extended Hand to Big Toe becomes I Can't Do That at the Moment — I'm Mixing an Old Pal. Sun Salutation becomes You Guys Are So Awesome! Who's Got a Cigarette? And One Legged King Pigeon becomes When You Really Get Down to it, When You Really Consider Why We're Here — Wait. What's Your Name Again? What Were You Just Saying?

Corpse pose will remain Corpse pose, but we're never going to do Corpse pose, even though some masters insist that it's the spiritual taproot, the mother of beauty. We've got other thoughts on that matter. Other taproots. We're not going to be quite that mindful. Ever. We're going to practice drunk yoga and we're going to be seen in Prohibition-nostalgic bars. We're going to soothe ourselves with spending and televised sports and drunk yoga. And when we tire of drunk yoga, we're going to invent other yogas, better yogas, twitter yoga and tattoo yoga, save the children yoga and yoga for the criminally insane, fat yoga and skinny yoga, born-again yoga and barely born the first time yoga, a tired consumer's yoga, yoga for the shopped-out, sold-out, burned-out, blissed-out, all of us doing yoga all the time, grunting and sweating and breathing our way to the wholly whole.

Want to know if you're athletic enough, spiritual enough, flexible enough for drunk yoga? Try this at home: Have a drink and lie on the floor. Talk. Breathe. Silence yourself. Take a sip of your drink. Don't forget to breathe. If that proves too difficult, have a beer on the couch. Watch this channel, then that channel. Keep breathing. Sip your beer. Try another channel. Breathe. ♦