By: Eli Walker
Equipped with a background in interactive performance art, I’ve always been drawn to the healing art of storytelling. Particularly in the context of community-based theater, where theater-makers immerse themselves into a foreign community and use experiential theater techniques to teach self-empowerment through empathy. When I created Drunk Yoga, I sought to use a similar format when curating team-building events for companies.
Of course, many corporations who are curious about Drunk Yoga often ask us, “What makes Drunk Yoga any better than just drinking wine while doing yoga?” (Which, in fairness, is a GREAT question.) So here it is: five ways Drunk Yoga experiences turn yoga into a fun hour of camaraderie-building for corporations…even virtually!
1) Interactive games.
Remember drinking games in college? Some were fun and some…we might prefer to forget. Drunk Yoga turns silly “drinking games” into uplifting, positive affirmations to help people “let their hair down” and release the pressure to be perfect by igniting a spark of joy through laughter and presence.
How can we possibly make drinking games suitable for yoga? (…Another great question!) Here’s an example: If you mix up your left and right legs on the yoga mat (hey, we’ve all been there), you have to tell the class something you’re grateful for.
We can even curate these games just for you. Is it your boss’s birthday? Great! If you spill your drink on your yoga mat, you have to tell your boss “happy birthday” while standing on one leg. Is it your start-up’s three-year anniversary? If you take a sip out of turn, you have to share your favorite memory from year #1 of the company, or make up a celebratory dance move for everyone to enjoy.
Through games that ignite your imagination, we collectively embrace a sense of “play.” And, when we’re all laughing as a community, it’s pretty hard not to feel a sense of belonging that’s so important to our wellbeing.
Storytelling is the quickest access point to empathy. As Nick Gray, founder of Museum Hack, explains:
Stories are how we make sense of the world. You can use storytelling in a business setting to forge a connection with your colleagues, or to get buy-in.
In team-building experiences, we lean heavily on icebreaker questions prompted by instructors throughout the class. Toward the final “wine-down” portion of the event, the teacher invites participants to share their “best vacation story” or “worst experience during an elementary school picture day…” etc.
Asking humorous yet thought-provoking questions not only helps yoga newbies take their minds off how hard the yoga pose at-hand is, but also fosters a deep connection between colleagues as they share their stories. Because, terrible picture days as a child? I think that’s something we can all relate to.
3) Easy yoga poses.
We strive to make yoga accessible for all levels, especially yoga newbies. As a (sober) yoga instructor, I’ve heard my friends and family say countless times:
I wish I could do yoga, I’m just not flexible.
Of course, it’s understandable why traditional yoga is intimidating. But we want classes to feel welcoming for everyone, which is why sequences are super simple. We aim to give students a great stretch and a warm introduction on how to use yoga poses to help them develop a better relationship to their bodies in such a way that leaves them feeling totally blissed out after class, but not so difficult that they feel embarrassed if they feel they can’t “do it right.”
Also? Beginner-friendly yoga means more energy for smiles and high-fives!
4) Familiar music.
As a performance aficionado, I appreciate that music in any production (film or theater) plays a role as important as the lead character. This is why we curate playlists to tug on your heartstrings with upbeat and familiar songs — like, the songs you can’t NOT sing and dance along to because it reminds you of your high school prom…for better or for worse.
Think Spice Girls meets Hanson Brothers meets Mambo №5 meets Jay-Z means Queen meets Lizzo meets Taylor Swift. Don’t worry, we leave ample time for dancing between poses.
5) Choice of beverage.
While the experience involves wine in-hand, the company has grown to offer a variety of sober and beverage-free options, such as Coffee Yoga or Spirit(s) Yoga, or even “Connect n’ Stretch” for your company’s virtual lunch break.
In short, Drunk Yoga isn’t necessarily about yoga or wine — it’s about infusing an empowering, uplifting movement practice with the social ritual of sharing a drink (even water!) in community as a cool technique to cultivate joy through togetherness.
Happiness is health, and I believe the only sustainable way to cultivate lasting joy is by fostering our relationships — with ourselves through yoga and meditation, sure, but more importantly, through mindful interaction with others. In the meantime, #namasteresponsibly.
Eli Walker is the Founder and CEO of Drunk Yoga. She is on a mission to challenge social norms and empower others with tools to cultivate personal joy through interactive storytelling. Care to lift your company’s spirit(s)? Schedule a call with Drunk Yoga’s events team to learn how.
Originally published at https://www.ellevatenetwork.com.