When Courtney Shoemaker was approached to teach yoga in a taproom, she was told they didn’t want any “babbling brook bullshit” during the class.
“Which is not really my style of teaching anyways, so it worked out,” said Shoemaker, the owner of CrossFit Icehouse in Fargo, North Dakota.
After attaining her 200-hour teacher training, Shoemaker was onboard when Drekker Brewing asked her to step up and start teaching Viking Yoga. Once a month at 10:45 a.m. on a Saturday, she leads a class through a vinyasa style flow while listening to rock music and drinking beer.
Shoemaker said part of the goal of having a “not your average yoga class” is to decrease the fear of people trying something new. Plus, she hopes they would see yoga as fun. “Trying to keep it very light. You want it to be as accessible as possible,” she said. “You want people to leave laughing and having a good time, and that’s really great for your brand and that’s how we are at our gym. We’re not very by the book.”
Taking the yoga teacher training at a local studio had more to do with CrossFit then anything else. Shoemaker explained she lacked an exercise science background when first opening the gym. The yoga training gave her a deep dive, spending time in anatomy, movement and diagnosing faults in movement. “Being able to have that Coach’s eye when you’re teaching yoga is very similar to CrossFit. It marries really well together. That’s why I did that and it’s helped my coaching immensely,” she said.
Partnering with Drekker Brewery was simply a bonus to Shoemaker’s new skill set.
In fact, Shoemaker said partnering with other local shops is key. “Just working with different businesses around town, even if it’s not necessarily in the fitness industry, you never know when somebody will see your name and be curious about an event,” she said. “Getting your name out there is really easy promotion and it doesn’t cost anything, so we were able to fit their need for that, and it’s been really great for us in that regards, so just partnering with businesses.”
If nothing else, she suggested Affiliates start having conversations. Opportunities just might arise if you share what you have to give, like what happened with Viking Yoga. “It’s crazy what a chat over a bagel or over a lunch or over a beer can lead you to, so just be open minded to different opportunities and try not to be always taking,” said Shoemaker. “Always be willing to come with an idea.”