By Karen Thompson
March 20, 2018 7:55 p.m.
What in the world is beer yoga? I had heard much about it and decided to give it a try last Saturday night (appropriately St. Patrick’s Day) at PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden in downtown Fernandina Beach.
Some say beer yoga was started by German hipsters, others credit Australia or Asia. Wherever it came from it’s an international “thing.” Beer and yoga are century old therapies for mind, body and soul.
The inspiration for the local version of beer yoga comes from our town’s favorite pajama-wearing boat captain, promoter extraordinaire and entrepreneur Pajamadave Voorhees. The classes are taught by Deb Cunningham, renowned yogi at Centred on Yoga, 212 B Centre St. the third Saturday of each month. Reservations are recommended as the class is always a sell-out.
My classmates were young, old, male, female, accomplished yogis and first-timers like me and filled all 20 reserved spaces on the matt-strewn floor of PJD’s retail establishment at 12 S. 2nd Street. The entire Pajama Life store is cleared out for the once-a-month sessions. For $12, all participants had bottles of beer, a few opted for wine. There was, miraculously only one spilled beer.
The hour-long class was a blast……sometimes serious but mostly hilarious. The running dialog by participants provided the undertone for some good exercise and a chance to meet new people. “Downward dog,” “ eagle” and “plank” yoga poses were interspersed with heavy breathing and giving gratitude to sips of an ice cold beer.
The first local class, back in July, was “live-streamed” by the Amelia Island Tourism and Development Council and attracted thousands of on-line views in one day according to Cunningham. She said local hotels have been getting calls from near and far to book rooms according to the beer yoga schedule at PJD’s. Our class was attended by a couple from Valdosta, Ga., and several yoga instructors from Jacksonville.
PJD’s Beer and Wine Garden is Fernandina’s own Cheers where everybody knows your name and feels welcome. It has been described as “super fun, laid-back, groovy, very friendly, charming, unique and cool with an incredible selection of beer.” Pajamadave and his partner Zan Maddox make this establishment the place to go in historic downtown FB for beer yoga, entertainment, good conversation, outstanding service and libations. NAMASTE!
Editor’s Note: Karen moved to Fernandina Beach eight years ago after working in Chicago as a senior public relations specialist for the Midwestern regional office of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency. Prior to that, she was an editor, columnist and writer for a chain of Chicago newspapers , an account executive for several Chicago public relations agencies and proprietor of her own pr/marketing business. She grew up and earned her journalism degree in Wisconsin.