The trendy concept of ‘Beer Yoga’ is one that clearly hasn’t had enough. I’ve done it, and let me tell you, it makes no sense.
Amongst the hodge-podge of canine landmines, sun-blasted pink-skinned rubber-neckers and the vague threat of a crocodilian death, stood a circle. A circle would be an adequate definition for the people that stood in it too, as all those people who attended Beer Yoga were in shape, and that shape was a circle.
Let me start over. Twelve months previous, I relocated to the Northern Territory, soaring on the wings of possible romance or certain delusion. I’ve since moved back, I’m no closer to figuring it out. In two hundred words or less, Darwin is a place where culture goes to die of cirrhosis of the liver. Every leisure pursuit is invariably accompanied by an alcoholic beverage in one’s hand. It’s stifling, it’s boring, it’s the only thing to do. Go to the markets and watch some idiot crack a whip, then the sun pass out. Better with a bev. Witness a prehistoric alpha-killer leap out of the murky depths, kept away only by a screen door and the safety measures that were essentially “please don’t put your arms out the side of the boat, mate?” Yeah, bev.
Of course, this extends to the world of fitness. As the crow flies and the drunk stumbles, the concept of beer yoga, or ‘Boga-en’ is an extremely Territorian thing. It just seems to fit, because of course it does. They might not have invented it, but it certainly is its spiritual home. Just as Japan might have sand-dragged mindfulness, the cliffs of Darwin have downward grog.
To be honest, Beer Yoga is a perfect metaphor for that place. It knowingly makes no sense. In its original form, yoga is a cleansing act, purging your body of toxins or something. Ohhmmmm, I’m not sure. In a similar way, Darwin makes no sense. It’s a place where the residents continually complain of the heat, the lack of amenities and the transitory nature of it, they complain, but never do anything to remedy it. They readily admit that they’re doing their body harm, but they can admit they can handle it.
Back to the circle we started at.
The yoga master was familiar, as she was also the resident trivia master, a woman of dead teeth, vibrant eyes, and a utility handbag that was, in reality, a yellow camera case that protects the contents should it fall off a boat. She was prepared, and in charge. She failed to corral the half-stung giddy adults who had either already devolved into a handstand competition, or found the company of the rogue dogs who came over to investigate the nonsense. Off my shoulder was the dreadlocked Japanese restauranteur, Akio, who was impossibly soft-spoken until he played the drums in a ska cover band, his pale legs bouncing the sunlight into the eyes of anyone foolish enough to not either pre-game or bring sunglasses at home. I hadn’t done either, I was the designated driver. I was there for the chakra cleansing, not the liver purging.
Looking back, it was a decent evening. Akio succumbed to heatstroke, and our instructor succumbed to waves of self-criticism. It soon devolved into a Darwinian piss-up, where the last one left standing was deemed the most enlightened. Would I recommend it? Yes. But not if you have to drive five pupils home. But, again, if you choose to do these things half-shakraed, well you may as well corpse pose at home, and not the nirvana of the gravel carpark of your local beach.
Did I wake up enlightened? Well, my mind and body were certainly cleansed of evil, and I had a new fondness for being alive.