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Longmont's Craft Yoga celebrates 10 years

Beer and yoga? Brie Michalik will drink to that.
Craft Yoga celebrates 10 years

Beer and yoga? Brie Michalik will drink to that.

After an hour of typical yoga poses like downward dog and tree pose, Michalik’s class is more than ready for some refreshments, but most of them are not headed to grab a cold cup of water. Instead, they’re lining up in the beer garden at Lefthand Brewing for whatever happens to be on tap.

Michalik, founder of Craft Yoga, blends the traditional art of yoga with the social aspects of sharing a drink. It’s a unique fusion of exercise and enjoyment.

Michalik began Craft Yoga in 2014 as a way to pay for an occasional beer. 

“I was a single mom, and I thought to myself, ‘Damn, it would be nice to have some beer money.’ I wrote this pitch about doing yoga at a brewery in exchange for a bar tab,” she said.

Michalik pitched the concept to eight breweries, six of which flat-out rejected the idea. Lefthand Brewery decided to give her a chance, and Craft Yoga was born.

“Eight people came to the first session of Craft Yoga,” Michalik said, “and they rewarded me with a $20 bar tab.”

These days, Craft Yoga has a large gathering of regulars who participate every week, and Michalik gets plenty of free beer.

The classes are a lighthearted twist on traditional yoga, where participants let loose and have fun. By combining two enjoyable activities, Michalik sees beer yoga as a refreshing way to practice while prioritizing well-being.

The classes meet at 6 p.m. in Lefthand Brewing’s Beer Garden every Thursday in the summer, as well as the second and fourth Sundays of the month year-round. There’s no sign-up or fee to participate. All people need is a yoga mat and money for beer.

Michalik understands that people come with varying degrees of yoga experience, so she makes the classes customizable to every level.

Many of Michalik’s students only have experience doing yoga in her classes. 

Jamie Doddson is a regular at Craft Yoga and said, “I don’t have any interest in doing yoga that doesn’t involve beer.”

Attendance fluctuates every week, but Michalik said she gives everyone her full attention. 

“It is rare that someone comes in who I have never met, but I love it when that happens. I am lucky to have been doing what I have been doing around here long enough to know a lot of Longmont Yogis.”

Paul and Mary Swanson have attended Craft Yoga classes since Michalik first began teaching in local breweries.

 “We don’t come every week, but it’s been a lot of fun to watch her journey,” Mary Swanson said.

In June, Craft Yoga will celebrate its tenth anniversary. What started with eight people and a once-a-month class has now grown by the dozens and become one of Lefthand’s most frequent events.

 “Craft Yoga’s anniversary is going to be a party. Us Craft Yogis know how to celebrate,” Michalik said.

Michalik has partnered with other local businesses in the past, including Grossen Bart Brewery and The Roost. She’s even hosted classes at breweries in other states. Still, Lefthand remains her primary partner. 

“I am forever grateful to the entire Lefthand team for keeping me around so long,” she said.