Updated: Oct 2, 2020
Will I get an erection? Will they make us go into a strange pose with my exposed buttocks straight up into the air? What if I accidentally fart right into the room?
The reason I went to a naked yoga class, was because I was terrified of going to a naked yoga class. There was growth there.
Despite exploring yoga for years, I had never considered nude yoga as anything more than a passing thought, writing it off as strange, terrifying and just ‘not for me’. One evening though, whilst listening to a podcast interviewing Yogi Aaron, considered the father of nude yoga in America, something within flickered. As the sun began setting behind the mountains, I wondered whether naked classes were offered in my city in Australia. No less than two days later a teacher advertised his well-established naked men’s classes in a local yogi Facebook group. I begrudgingly took it as a sign. What followed before that class was a week of trying not to lose my mind, accepting that I was scared as hell and that this was going to be a deep dive.
Going in Full Frontal
I rang the entry doorbell and was greeted by the teacher, feeling my heartbeat thudding under my ribs. The studio was grounding and calm, with the smell of incense and the backdrop of a beautiful private courtyard screened with greenery. As my fellow students began walking in we all greeted each other and had introductory chats. The camaraderie among the men was surprising and welcoming. Soon came the undressing in a side room off the studio. Piece by piece I took off each layer, delicately folding every garment in an attempt to slow down the process. There was a big moment of pause and hesitation before I took my underwear off. I felt a sharp intake of breath and then they were swiftly removed. I was naked.
As I walked to my mat I became hyper-aware of my raw body, bits swaying as I journeyed across the room. When the class began, my eyes softened as I came into my breath just like I always do to begin a class, only this time I could feel my heart still thudding. We used mantra (chanting) to set the tone of the class before beginning the asana yoga postures. My first Warrior II pose with my manhood dangling towards the mat was very strange, I won’t lie about that. With each breath I reminded myself that of course it felt like unfamiliar territory… for it was. More poses, more breath, more movement. As we continued, my mind began to quieten into the practice itself. Periodically, I would experience my awareness snapping back into a realisation that I was still naked. Though with each exhale I started to lose focus of my nakedness and began to just do yoga.
That’s the point I think. In yoga we endeavour to be present in our practice, as opposed to somewhere off in our thoughts of yesterday or tomorrow. Being naked will do that effortlessly. Sometimes when you enter poses (happy baby anyone) there’s a beautiful moment of stark vulnerability, but then it softens. When you accept that you are naked on your mat you become present, aware, but at peace. I will never forget how I felt at the end of my first naked class. I’m used to energetic sensations in my body however as the practice concluded and I brought my hands to prayer position at heart centre the energetic sensation there was incredibly powerful. It felt like my heart was gently bursting. I left that night feeling empowered, accomplished, and connected.
Continuing to Practice Naked
I continued practicing naked yoga after that class, and absolutely will continue to attend naked classes moving forward in my life. I’ll reveal now that once, yeah, an erection spontaneously decided to occur, and although I almost internally combusted, I continued to practice and to breathe and then it had gone. It was such a ‘non-event’ for the class, who completely accept that practicing naked means that our human bodies are…naked. I don’t even know if anyone noticed.
As a yoga teacher, naked classes will sometimes come up in discussion with my peers and I always explain how beneficial the classes are for me. Even in the yoga community the idea of naked classes are often met with fear, judgement and resistance. I understand, because that’s where I was before I experienced the classes for myself. I’ve found that usually the judgement comes from fear of being naked in a room of people within the individual, or somehow linking a yoga practice unclothed to something like a light sexual orgy (certainly not the case). When you strip yourself bare almost magically your prejudice towards being naked is also stripped away too. You learn how to be in your nude body without sexual connotation attached. There came a moment after practice when I realised that I was born naked, that my clothes are not a part of my body and that my true body itself is always, indeed, naked.
Naked yoga can be taught in mixed classes or specifically geared towards men’s classes or women’s classes; it is for humans of all shapes and sizes. The practice is suitable for all students whether straight, gay, bisexual or anywhere in-between. Transgender men and women are absolutely welcomed into the class they feel most comfortable in. For all students I recommend having a conversation with the teacher prior to your first class. They know the naked yoga practice in and out and as guides they can chat with you about your hesitations, questions or points of resistance.
If you’re still reading this it means the idea of naked yoga classes catches your eye or perhaps you’re interested in yoga in general. If the desire, or the curiosity to give this a go is there for you, I invite you to go for it. Dig deep and see what happens. I’m happy to chat should you wish to discuss before or after. There is a plethora of resources on nude yoga out there. If you put out the intention I trust your information will come.
So much changed for me and how I see my body after attending those classes. I look forward to continuing to share my journey.
Namaste for now,
Andrew offers nude men's yoga classes in Canberra to men and male identifying humans. Get in touch if you wish to know more.
IG: @warrior.kind Interested in online yoga that you can do at home whenever suits you? Bam