Green River Star -

By David Martin

A different side of yoga


David Martin

Molly Wening poses during a recent beer yoga night she hosted at the Wyo Faction gym she owns with her husband.

Standing before a group of students, Molly Wening slowly positions her body and instructs her class to follow her lead.

She stretches her left leg forward on the mat while pressing her right knee down to balance. She then brings her left arm over her head and bends her body to the right. The students follow along, mimicking both her movements and deliberate breathing. Before shifting her body into a new pose, Molly issues one final instruction.

"And drink."

Molly, a yoga teacher from Green River, hosts a monthly beer yoga class at the Wyo Faction gym she owns and operates with her husband David in Rock Springs.

While much of what Wyo Faction involves self defense and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Molly teaches traditional yoga, as well as the beer yoga gatherings. While there is debate amongst yoga enthusiasts about beer yoga being an attempt to generate interest in the activity with a fad concept, for the Wenings' the monthly beer yoga sessions is an time unwind and have fun.

"It's a very irreverent form of yoga," David said.

Each month, the gym is decorated according to a theme. This time, most of the participants wear plastic grass skirts, bikinis and Hawaiian lei. The gym is decorated with inflatable beach balls and handmade palm trees hanging from the ceiling. A fog machine simulates volcanic mist on the "island."

David's attire underscored his comments, as he wore a plastic coconut bikini top along with the lei and grass skirt over a pair of shorts.

Molly said previous themes included a patriotic red, white and blue theme, as well as a super hero night where students wore costumes to the class.

The beer yoga nights are free for members of the gym, while a small $5 charge is issued to nonmembers. The event attracts 20 and 30 students, with a few coming in out of curiosity. Amy Crowell, a resident of Rock Springs, stopped by the gym after hearing about beer yoga from a friend.

"It looked like it would be fun," she said

Students are instructed to bring their own drinks. While many bring a bottle of their favorite brew, alcoholic drinks are not required. Molly said people are free to bring soda pop or water to the workouts.

She also admits she has contemplated hosting a soda pop yoga for kids.

Molly said the idea came about after friends posted similar beer yoga events on her Facebook page, telling her it would be a fun variation on the exercise. While some would dismiss the activity, Molly said balancing a drink in some poses can be a challenge even for experienced yoga practitioners.

While Molly has embraced a lighter side to yoga, she remains serious about the exercise. She's practiced yoga for more than 10 years and received a certificate to teach yoga prior to offering classes at the Wyo Faction gym. She said yoga has helped her a lot with back aches she previously had, as well as improving her balance. The breathing aspect of the exercise has also improved her health she said.

"It's a fun exercise that doesn't feel like an exercise," she said. "I absolutely love it."

However, once a month, Molly's happy to let loose and embrace a light-hearted side to yoga.

"Why not have fun with it," she said.


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