Hair of the Downward Dog

I haven’t put this in writing before – it seemed too much like commitment – but I’ve decided I really want to do a marathon… in ten weeks from now. I’m talking about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Last week I ran a 21.3 km route (just ever-so-slightly beyond the half-marathon distance), so I figure I’m in pretty good shape as far as my training goes.

Hair of the Downward Dog
Hair of the Downward Dog

What I’ve learned about myself is that I’m a better runner because I don’t only run. Cycling, for instance, has strengthened my knees. In the past it was articulatio genus, not fatigue, that cut short my jogs. Not anymore, since biking built additional strength around my knees.

Also, because cycling is less strenuous and more sustained, the body allows its fat stores to be burned over long periods. I covered well over 500 km in The Netherlands and Belgium last summer and arrived back in Canada 15 lbs lighter despite drinking a remarkable amount of beer (always after riding).  Carrying less body fat also makes running longer distances much less of a chore. (Drink Yourself Thin, the book, is in the works.)

These days, I’m also throwing yoga into the fitness mix. My flexibility is laughable and my balance is probably better after my second pint (calmness of mind, or whatever), so I’ve stuck to practicing in the privacy of my home until now. Like running and cycling, I typically view yoga as “me time,” but this weekend, that changes.

My glass of Chef's Wit, earlier this week at the BrewHouse
My glass of Chef’s Wit, earlier this week at the Amsterdam BrewHouse

A buddy of mine, Sarabeth Burns (Grounded Yoga), is hosting Hair of the Downward Dog, Sunday morning at the Amsterdam Brewhouse, and it’s shaping up to be a really cool event.

Sidenote: Sarabeth is dating a homebrewer friend of mine, Sean Holden. Sarabeth and Sean met at Beau's Oktoberfest a couple years ago, so you know she's good beer people.

I had a beer with Sarabeth last night to get a better sense of what Sunday’s yoga class is all about. Here’s what I learned:

  • Sarabeth – who has been teaching for four years, drinking craft beer for ten – got the idea for mixing the two from participating in #RunTOBeer! (I had no idea. I’m awfully proud of that!)
  • This is for all levels. Participants who have never done yoga won’t get left behind – different modifications will make the session accessible to all.
  • Anyone coming should bring a sense of humour. Sarabeth (who also guides lessons on paddleboards, for SUPGirlz) keeps thing light so everyone feels comfortable.
  • Her style is what’s known as “Hatha Flow” yoga, which she assures me will have people sweating, but involves absolutely no singing.
  • Participants need only bring comfortable clothing, a yoga mat (or large towel) and a water bottle. If you want to bring yoga straps or a yoga block it might be helpful, but certainly not necessary.
  • Sarabeth hopes this is the first in a regular series of Beer + Yoga events. Follow her Facebook page for updates.
  • Tickets are $40, which includes an hour of yoga, followed by a buffet-style brunch and a beer.

For tickets,  go to


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