One New York City yoga studio has taken yoga’s flexible principles to the next level by offering co-ed, naked vinyasa courses.
The class, introduced the Bold & Naked studio in Chelsea, is supposed to provide students with a new way to focus on celebrating their bodies and is not intended to be sexually evocative.
‘There are a lot of things that separate us in a normal yoga class, like what brand of yoga clothing you’re wearing or how you look when you’re wearing it,’ Vanessa Kennedy, a naked yoga class attendee, told Reuters. ‘But when we’re naked, it’s like we’re all the same.’
As the studio writes on its website: ‘While many equate being naked with sex, this couldn’t be further from the truth in a naked yoga class. It’s about being comfortable in your own skin and the amazing confidence that comes with it.
‘Practicing yoga naked frees you from negative feelings about your body and allows [you] to be more accepting and deeper connected with yourself and the world around you.’
The studio offers $25 naked yoga classes in a co-ed format, as well as those that are segregated by gender. It also offers fully-clothed classes and teacher training programs in tantric ‘yogassage.’
The naked instruction courses do not allow observers or photography, and students must sign a liability waiver before entering the class.
Much like in fully-clothed yoga classes, Bold & Naked, which is the brainchild of co-owner Joschi Schwarz, says that students should expect for teachers to hand-administer postural corrections. Partner work is also sometimes involved in the classes’ vinyasa flow sequences.
But according to the studio, none of this body-to-body contact is meant as ‘sexual touching and should any contact of sexual nature occur, it will not be tolerated and will result in the offending member being asked to leave.
‘Anyone who has been asked to leave will not be allowed back to attend classes in the future.’
Bold & Naked has actually firmly stated on their site (in capitals, no less): ‘IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN ORGASM, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE.’
To those looking for a peep show, they say: ‘Don’t waste your time. The energy in the room is very clear and members who come to Bold & Naked are very focused on celebrating their bodies through yoga.’
But due to yoga’s sweaty, heart rate-enhancing nature, bodily functions can sometimes interfere in the course.
The studio says that erections during the class do occur, but happen ‘rarely’.
They encourage that ‘when it does it’s okay and nothing to be embarrassed about. It will pass quickly.
‘Yoga moves a lot of energy throughout the body and sometimes erections happen. But once we start moving, there is no way an erection could be sustained, because of the physical nature of Vinyasa Yoga.’
Naked yoga has become increasingly popular in the United States since the 1960s, when it was a component in the hippie movement.
In 1975, the short documentary titled Naked Yoga was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary, Short Subjects category.
The practice of naked yoga, which is called ‘nagna yoga’ in Sankskrit, has been in spiritual rotation since ancient times, and is still practiced by religious figures in India.