If you see people horizontal and facing downward at the Bronx Brewery, don't just assume they have had too much to drink. They might be doing yoga.
The brewery has started hosting monthly yoga courses on Saturday afternoons taught by Leanne Maciel, who used to work in the beer industry as a marketing brand manager for Heineken and Dos Equis before leaving last year to become a health coach.
She views teaching yoga at a brewery as a good way of combining the two industries, as she sees plenty of similarities between them.
"I really wanted to marry the two together. I actually see beer and yoga as having a lot in common," she said. "There's this sense of balance."
With beer, the challenge is achieving a proper balance of flavor and ingredients, while with yoga, the challenge is achieving a proper balance between body and mind, she said.
The class itself, called Brew You Yoga, takes place right in the main brewery room and is meant to reflect the process of making beer.
For instance, Maciel will have students do backbends toward the end of class to mimic the carbonation process that occurs during brewing, as backbends create a lot of energy in the body.
"You may feel tingling in the body," she said. "You may feel your breath get quicker."
Maciel, whose husband works at the Bronx Brewery, said offering a yoga course at an unorthodox location also supports her goal of bringing the exercise to people who don't get to experience it regularly.
"I like to bring it to people who don’t necessarily practice," she said. "Like, I don’t teach at a studio or anything like that. I like to do more events."
The courses were initially taught in the morning but were later moved to the afternoon from 1 to 2 p.m., which Maciel said makes it a little easier to attract students, given that the classes end with a tasting flight of five beers from the brewery.
"It’s more appetizing to get a beer or two after in the afternoon," she said.
It costs $25 to take the class, and people can sign up for it online at Eventbrite or pay at the door. The next courses are scheduled for Feb. 4 and March 18, and roughly 18 to 20 people are able to fit in the space.
Bronx Brewery co-founder Damian Brown said he hopes to keep the classes going on indefinitely.
"Obviously, it depends on if people continue to support it," he said. "I think we would love nothing more than [for] it to be a regular thing that draws more and more people."
Brown did step through some of the moves when trying to determine if the class would be a good fit for the brewery, but he has not done one of the formal classes himself yet.
"I’m not a huge yoga guy," he said, "but if you are, I think the opportunity of doing yoga in a brewery is kind of a cool thing."
Although Maciel does not plan to start offering yoga at other breweries, she is planning to expand its reach to coffee as well with a class at Harlem's Uptown Roasters on Feb. 25 at 10 a.m.
"Instead of brewing the beer or brewing the coffee, you’re brewing yourself on your mat. You’re going through kind of a brewing process yourself, mixing your own ingredients and balancing them and giving the right energy to them," she said. "So it’s not the liquid. It’s about you and your yoga practice."