By Joanna McClanahan of Ramblin’ Mama
Naked yoga (or ‘nagna yoga’ in Sankskrit) has been around since ancient times and is still used in religious practices in India today. Naked yoga first, umm, “rose” to popularity in the U.S. in the 1960s along with all the bra-burnings and free love and whatnot.
But co-ed, naked yoga classes are more popular than ever at a studio in New York City. Bold & Naked Yoga, located in Chelsea, encourages participants to “take off the mask, show up as you are, and connect with yourself in a way you have never experienced before.” Except by “take off the mask,” they mean “take off all the clothes that typically contain your wobbly bits.”
And they have a Frequently Asked Questions page that is just as entertaining as you’d expect. Please enjoy some of their FAQs (with my added commentary) below.
Why practice yoga naked? There is a sense of freedom practicing yoga naked. 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. It’s about knowing, accepting and loving yourself at your core. Part of yoga is to honor and connect with your body. 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.
Naked yoga will free me from negative feelings about my body? How am I supposed to overcome my body issues in cat/cow, where my boobs look mostly like they belong on an actual cat or cow?
Bold & Naked Yoga sounds great, but I don’t want to practice yoga. Do you mind if I just watch? In order to protect the privacy of our members and promote the spirit of community, attendees must participate. Observers are not allowed. PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT PERMITTED AT ANY TIME.
You have to give props to the person who inspired this question. “No, Donny, you can’t just watch and OH MY GOD, PUT YOUR CAMERA AWAY!”
What if I get an erection? It rarely happens, but when it does it’s okay and nothing to be embarrassed about. It will pass quickly. Erections happen for a lot of reasons and are not limited to sexual attraction. 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.
Finally someone addresses what happens if your downward-facing dog becomes an upward-facing dog. The good news is “boners happen” and they won’t last throughout the entire yoga session. The bad news is that you will get an erection in a room full of other naked, sweaty people, who will all secretly be judging it. Sounds super relaxing.
Are we allowed to touch each other? Yes, sometimes teachers will incorporate partner work into their classes that involves touching and body contact between members. However, this is not to be ‘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.
JESUS CHRIST, DONNY, YOU CREEPER.
I’m looking for a peep show/sex club. Don’t waste your time. The energy in the room is very clear and members who come to Bold & Naked Yoga are very focused on celebrating their bodies through yoga. We have no problem asking someone to leave if his or her behavior is inappropriate.
Long story short, pretty sure Donny’s on a registry somewhere by now.
My main question was, surprisingly, not listed in the FAQ section:
“Does it smell like ass sweat? Because it looks like it smells like ass sweat in there.”
Bold & Naked Yoga also offers private yoga sessions (clothing optional) and/or “Tantric Yogassage,” which, again, is not sexual in any way. It’s “to heighten feelings and emotions, experience sensations and open the doorways to greater awareness of the sensual self.” Here’s the photo they chose to best demonstrate how non-sexual it is:
Are they for real? Look, I’m not gay, nor a man, and even I’m pretty sure I somehow got an erection looking at this picture.
So Bold & Naked Yoga might be for you if you’re into getting sweaty with some other naked people and touching each other, but remember: NO WEIRDOS ALLOWED.