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OM Yoga at Funky Buddha: Not Just for Skinny, Bendy Women

Take a look at those skinny, bendy, self-righteous chicks twisting their bodies into endless dimensions. It seems like a bit of a stretch to have yourself doing the same thing, and honestly you're thinking that you'd rather just have a beer.

But what if you can have both? You can. And if you give the OM Brew Yoga at Funky Buddha Brewery a chance, you'll find out that it's not just for women nor for the self-righteous after all.

See Also: Florida Beer Friday: Funky Buddha's Floridian Hefeweizen

The class is taught by certified yoga instructor Shelah Davis, who makes the long trek from Homestead to Oakland Park. Davis teaches the vinyasa school of yoga, which is more of a Americanized style that focuses more on the flow of controlled stretching and breathing, rather than the chanting and meditation.

Yoga is an ancient practice that dates back thousands of years. It reduces stress, improves circulation, massages internal organs and generally improves overall health.

As students perform the yoga poses during class, Davis gradually adds one or two variations to a pose to make it more challenging. This is called stack teaching. But she doesn't pressure the students if they are unable to do it at first. It can be a little intimidating, but she says the more you do it, the more flexible you get.

It's all about the flow yoga: moving in a continuous motion while controlling breathing. "It's very low impact form of exercise," she said. "I say that cautiously because when you say low impact, people assume that it's easy, but it's not."

But it can make a huge impact on someone's health--a good one. Davis dabbled in yoga for some years before becoming certified. Through her own personal journey, combining running and dieting, she has lost over 100 pounds. Now she is teaching the benefit of yoga in her own studio, Our Wicked Ways, in Homestead.

"I started out for myself and realized quickly how many other people are in the same boat," she said.

Anybody can participate in her classes, but her philosophy is geared towards beginners who are interested in starting their own personal journeys. Davis is also a certified nutrition and running specialist. You can find more about Shelah's philosophy in her ebook, I Got This.

What's the connection with beer? Back in March, Shelah and her husband Jeff took a trip to Holy City Brewing in Charleston, South Carolina, where they discovered the brewery hosting yoga classes. They paid a visit to the Highwire Distillery, also in Charleston, where they were also performing yoga.

They approached Funky Buddha about bringing yoga to the brewery and now both Shelah and Jeff drive to the Oakland Park brewery on the third Sunday of each month to teach classes. It's perfect for the married couple because Jeff loves beer and Shelah loves yoga, so it works out perfectly. It's expanding too. Soon Shelah will teach yoga classes at Wynwood Brewing starting on January 5.

See also: Florida Beer Friday: Cigar City's Invasion Pale Ale: Surprisingly Mild, Full of Tropical Fruit

As her class winds down, she finishes off with a Savasana or corpse pose. It's basically lying flat on your back with hands along the side of your body and you control breathing. It looks easy, but it is one of the hardest poses to master.

"It's actually one of the most difficult poses because people cannot fully quiet their minds; lying flat on the back with arms along your side, let's you focus on your breath and bring you back to a place of quietness," Shelah said.

By combining yoga and beer, Shelah hopes to make it more appealing to the craft beer crowd. After the class is finished, everyone relishes the feel-good moment with a beer (or two) from Funky Buddha.

"With most guys, when you hand them a beer, they'll try anything," Jeff said.

The next OM Brew Yoga at Funky Buddha is this Sunday, December 15, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost is $15 per person which includes a post-yoga pint of any Funky Buddha beer.

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David Minsky is U.S. Navy veteran and Tulane graduate who has experience reporting on stories from California, South Florida, and the Deep South. He also won some journalism awards. Email or tweet David with story tips and ideas.
Contact: David Minsky