‘Women Complicate Things’ for Naked Yoga in Boston.

I celebrate my naked woman's body in yoga

I celebrate my naked woman’s body in yoga

My Feathers are ruffled and my inner women’s rights activist is pissed.

I was politely added to the skycald naked yoga group in Boston per my request and then told I would not be able to participate in classes because of my woman’s body, meaning I have a vulva. I was told by the instructor ‘women “complicate” things.’ What I am hearing in that is that, we can’t be bothered to evolve our facilitation skills to hold space for a mix gendered group. The group write up prides itself on being naturist based with naturist values and to not have a focus on sex or a sexual experience. It is a listed as a group for ‘people’ not just men who practice naked yoga. At least be transparent that you’re a men’s group.

A couple of things come up for me in this – The very real inquiry of why there are seemingly so many more naked yoga classes for men? Next, why these classes then profess to be not sexually focused? By the very fact of excluding an entire gender you have now made it a very sexual focus by saying if your sex is a certain way you can’t participate. The entire aspect of this particular constellation of ‘people’ now becomes all about having and being a certain sex.

This remains a timeless inquiry for me. I was really hoping Boston would have a more progressive movement going.

Any Boston or Massachusetts dwellers want to start a gender-inclusive naked yoga practice with me this summer?

59 thoughts on “‘Women Complicate Things’ for Naked Yoga in Boston.

  1. Happy Bare

    This is totally preposterous! What a bunch of nonsense. So guys can do yoga together with their dicks hanging out, but the sight of a pussy is just too much! Ridiculous.

    I very much feel that you should be done naked, but alone. It becomes a spiritual body awareness experience, without any restrictions. I have always done you alone and naked. The awareness of others around me, either naked or not disengages me from the inner me.

    Reply
    1. Happy Bare

      Just another example of how the ‘naturist’ word is being hijacked by groups that aren’t naturist. the reason this happens, and I’ve seen it for myself, is that the group is sexually active. You start with the premise that that you are doing yoga solo, then with a partner to help steady, hold and facilitate, then well if you get an erection that’s OK, it’s normal. You quickly realise, that the naked yoga has become naked yoga with help from a partner if you get an erection. 😉 🙂

      Reply
  2. Tydyn Rain St. Clair

    This has always greatly bothered me as well. When I go through yoga teacher training I intend to teach co-ed naked yoga. If I lived in Boston, I would happily start a practice group with you. I administer a naked yoga group on Facebook if you would like to use that as a place to connect with others of like intention in your area.

    Reply
  3. sassycoupleok

    While we agree in principle with this story we feel there is some hair splitting here. If this story was the reverse with a man trying to get into a women’s group he would be the one called out as being a pervert or voyeur. We have a disdain for double standards and this story has the feel and smell of that. However these men’s groups should make it clear as to what their intentions are as well thus avoiding a conflict such as this..

    Reply
    1. Mike | HomelessOnWheels

      @sassycoupleok:
      They are a “men’s group” and have declared as much publicly:

      Skyclad Yoga Club in Boston

      Boston, MA
      141 Skyclad (naked)Yogis

      This is a group for people who practice Yoga nude. We practice this way for many reasons. Some of us practice nude to distance ourselves from superficial contemporary ideas an…

      Next Meetup

      Come to the weekly Naked Yoga Class on Mondays

      Monday, Aug 25, 2014, 7:30 PM
      1 Attending

      Check out this Meetup Group →

      I agree with you about the double standard. Why is it that women can routinely exclude men from their activities, but insist that they be permitted to participate in men’s groups?

      Reply
      1. remitromjr

        One of the problems with their declaration is in the box to the left it says “Founded January 6, 2014” yet the decision to “go all male” reads, “After six months of trying to start coed classes I am giving up ” but is dated March 23, 2014, a little less than four months after founding. My point is with this group the truth is the truth until it isn’t. For me, too many changes in such a brief time coupled with the large number of male quickly enrolling says cover up for the former and an already large well-established network, which unfortunately cannot be said for the topic of nude massage yet so I think the network was the gay community.

  4. Jim and Becky

    Sassycouple, this MeetUp Group does not advertise itself as a men’s group, and looking through their membership list, there are a few (very few) female members. I wonder if they too have received notices.

    They also use the term Skyclad, which is a Wiccan term, and Wicca certainly doesn’t discriminate against women. The goddess would be pissed at this group.

    The write should report this group to MeetUp for being misleading.

    Reply
    1. sassycoupleok

      Agreed per our statement “However these men’s groups should make it clear as to what their intentions are as well thus avoiding a conflict such as this..”

      Reply
  5. All-Nudist.com

    The Skyclad Yoga Meetup site avoids specifically identifying itself as a men-only group, has at least one female member listed, and shows a woman in one of the two photos in their ‘gallery’ (http://photos3.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/d/1/b/c/600_322733692.jpeg“. One has to wonder if this ‘token woman’ is designed to avoid the outward appearance of discrimination while quietly denying entry to women.

    There are other male or female-only naked yoga classes around, and it’s understandable that many folks might not feel comfortable in a mixed setting, but they’re honest about that up front. Consider yourself lucky that you didn’t get involved with this questionable bunch.

    Reply
  6. remitromjr

    I live in the greater Boston area, am a male, and considered this group because I’m disabled and wanted an assisted group which could help me modify most asanas. But when it was made clear early on it was to be exclusionary I dropped it from consideration. I have no first hand knowledge of anything unseemly taking place but it failed the smell test for me. Now this comment of “women complicating things” adds to the bad aroma.

    Reply
  7. Pingback: ‘Women Complicate Things’ for Naked Yoga in Boston. | Nicky's World

  8. Wayne Brake

    We have a nude yoga class and we’re constantly struggling with gender equality, so this makes no sense to me whatsoever. If you ever find yourself in Halifax, Nova Scotia we’d be honored to have you at our class, which normally includes two regular couples and three or four single men.

    Reply
  9. pipermac5

    They have hijacked “naturist” for their own purposes, namely so they can advertise “naked yoga” without raising eyebrows in society. If it is a “men-only” club, say so. If “mixed naked yoga” is being promoted, open it up to the ladies also, without restriction.

    Reply
      1. pipermac5

        As a Christian, and a naturist, i strongly-support CLEAN mixed-gender nudism/naturism. Unfortunately, far too many groups have hijacked the moniker for their own uses. There are swingers clubs which masquerade as “nudist resorts”. There are homosexual clubs which masquerade as “nudist resorts”, and those who have hijacked our name and lifestyle for their own ends give those of us who ARE nudists/naturists a bad name. What they have done makes our job of gaining acceptance in our society far more difficult.

        A couple of thoughts crossed my mind about that “men-only” nude yoga studio. Maybe they are afraid the guys can’t check their libido at the door, and they might get aroused if they see a naked woman, OR…they don’t WANT to check their libidos at the door, and don’t want women seeing or interfering with what goes on behind those closed doors.

        The same might be true for a women-only nude yoga studio, that they are afraid that men won’t be able to check their libido at the door.

        Unfortunately that “male-phobia” also spills over to many nudist resorts, and the only way an unaccompanied man can gain entrance is if he has a CARD (AANR or TNS). Behavior, NOT gender or membership should be the standard for inclusion.

        Enough of my rants – for now~

  10. Ray S

    These are not naturists in my eyes and they are pretending to be something they’re not. They are sexist and not transparent about who they really are. By nature of the exclusion based on gender, they are making it sexually focus; I totally agree with that.

    Reply
  11. Rev.GoddessMagora Kennedy

    05/18/14 Alaffia: Boston the home of the bean & the cod where the Lodges don’t speak to the Cabots and the Cabots speak only to God ! So that should tell you about stuffy Boston and its so called naturist male dominated groups masking as inc lusive when in reality they are not…WE are GODESS”ES YOU NEED THEM LIKE A FISH NEEDS A BICYCLE!!!

    Reply
  12. James Redman

    It does not make any sense for them to not allow someone based on sex. Now there are still some groups of people, including women, who want to be in groups doing things which demand a separation. In that case men don’t really complain much about it.

    Reply
  13. nurevealyoga

    Reblogged this on NuReveal Yoga and commented:
    It’s a shame you are not in Orlando, FL. I’m always looking for a few good women to come to my class. It’s also too bad I’m not in Boston. I would have loved to have helped you with this one.

    Reply
  14. Mike

    In reading through their message board, it seems that while the original intention may have been to be a coed group, they are now (as of 23 March 2014) a male-only group. The decision was made based on an apparent lack of interest by or inability to recruit female members:

    Skyclad Yoga Club in Boston

    Boston, MA
    141 Skyclad (naked)Yogis

    This is a group for people who practice Yoga nude. We practice this way for many reasons. Some of us practice nude to distance ourselves from superficial contemporary ideas an…

    Next Meetup

    Come to the weekly Naked Yoga Class on Mondays

    Monday, Aug 25, 2014, 7:30 PM
    1 Attending

    Check out this Meetup Group →

    Is it not as much their right to declare themselves an all-male group and exclude women as it is for a women’s group to exclude men? If a main complained about not being permitted to join an all-female activity, he’d not only not receive an ounce of sympathy, but, if it were a nude activity, he’d probably also be accused of being a pervert or voyuer.

    Like the old saying goes, “Turnabout is fair play.” If women can exclude men from their activities, why should men be expected to allow women at theirs?

    Reply
    1. All-Nudist.com

      Mike – You will note that they complain that they haven’t had a single woman applicant, yet they list at least one woman as a member and have a photo of a woman promoting the group. Also, this posting is buried in their ‘discussion’ section and not on the front page where they welcome EVERYONE.

      It makes no sense to exclude those who you are unable to recruit; the obvious response to that is to try harder. It also refutes the response they gave to our writer that women are disruptive.. Look at the member profiles and the other groups they belong to in order to gain an insight as to what this group is actually all about. No wonder they don’t want women. But at least they could be honest about it. Are they ashamed? That’s silly.

      Reply
  15. ws1o

    I think it’s also weird that anyone would care if some men got aroused during a coed nude yoga class. So what? As long as they aren’t doing anything about it, what difference does it make, it’s a natural response, and this is supposed to be about naturism. And because women can get aroused without it being so visibly obvious, does that make it OK to only complain about people occasionally getting aroused if they happen to have penises? Just ignore it and focus on the yoga!

    Reply
  16. pipermac5

    Even though erections are natural and normal, in American naturist culture, having one in mixed company is verboten. If there is a “capital offense”, getting an erection is it. I suspect that the men in that group might be embarrassed if they got an erection in mixed company. In my time taking mini-nakations to a nudist resort, I have only seen one man with anything approaching an erection, and he was stretched out on a lawn chair sound asleep. A man who DOESN’T get an erection at least once in a while needs to get checked out by his doctor, because he has serious plumbing and blood-flow problems.

    Reply
  17. Scott

    Yes, this is disappointing. This group began as an attempt to have a more inclusive male and female yoga experience, which still does not exist, (at least not publicly,) in Boston. After a couple months of rather anemic activity, with the weekly sessions drawing only one or two participants, and sometimes none, the organizer issued a frustrated statement that it wasn’t worth trying to run this group if the 40 or so people who joined their Meetup group were not going to actively participate. It seems the feedback at that time must have been that these guys wanted to just be in an all-male group because there has been an increase in involvement since making their sessions exclusive to male participants. But, they have very wrongly not changed their more public image to reflect the current nature of the group, being only for men. Personally, I think they didn’t give it much of a chance to become a group women would feel comfortable in, and the impatience of the organizer has made this group much less than it might have been. It takes longer than a brief couple of months to build a group where people will feel comfortable in a mixed setting, especially in Boston.

    I agree with the above comment that if you look at the interests listed on the profiles of many of the members of that Meetup group it is rather obvious that many of them may be looking for male hook-up opportunities, or are so timid about nudity that they only want to be with other men. Not saying the group has become a hook-up place, but it’s disappointing that they would bend to the desires of these guys and now exclude females who are truly interested in what yoga is supposed to be about. This is not a true yoga group, and quite honestly, a group of rather pathetic men who we should not care to spend time with.

    As a wise person once pointed-out, there are some exclusionary groups in which we shouldn’t want membership anyway.

    Reply
    1. sensualshaman Post author

      Hi Scott,

      This was a very thoughtful and eloquent response. I appreciate you taking the time to write and it helps me see the group in a new light as well. Thank you so much.

      My best, Isis

      Reply
  18. Carol P.

    Is there any naked yoga for women or coed in Boston at all? They are proud liberals but not even topless is permitted in public!

    Reply
      1. Scott

        Interestingly, the Skyclad yoga group in Providence, RI is said to be more mixed, and they meet multiple times each week. I believe the same organizer runs that one too, but things came together quicker with women and men attending so that group has been mixed. I think that could have happened with the Boston group, too, if it hadn’t become dominated by guys who didn’t want women around.

        In these warmer months, which we are heading towards (it is truly supposed to warm-up, everyone says, and I’m hopeful,) there are nudist/naturist places outside Boston where yoga is practiced. Sandy Terraces on Cape Cod is closest, but I’m not sure if they do yoga regularly. Solair in Connecticut does yoga more regularly, I believe, but that’s a couple hours away.

        Honestly, I think a group could come together in Boston, perhaps it would help to have both male and female co-organizers, to begin things with more of a balance from the start, with more resolve, (and patience,) to have it be a mixed group.

    1. ric.hahn@facebook.com

      I have a friend who does naked comedy show in Cambridge. They found that its legal to be naked but Illeagal to take your clothes off on stage 🙂
      SHOWTIMES
      The Naked Comedy Showcase can be seen at Improv Boston on the 1st Wednesday of every month.

      Showtime is at 10PM, and the cover is $10.

      http://www.improvboston.com
      The ImprovBoston Theater
      40 Prospect St. Central square
      Cambridge, MA
      (617) 576-1253 for Reservations and Info

      Reply
  19. Scott

    OK, let me amend my previous remarks….. I just read the heading at the Providence Skyclad Meetup group and it clearly states it is a group, “for men.” So, I guess the women no longer are welcome there, either. It had sounded like there were a few women who attended last winter, I don’t know how it devolved into a male-only group. But, I think that means there is certainly a void to be filled in southern New England.

    Reply
  20. Scott

    There are some bright rays of hope for Boston. Three weeks ago over 200 people participated in the Boston edition of the World Naked Bike Ride. This was the fifth year for the event in Boston, and it has gained a good deal more interest in the past two years when it went from about 45 riders in 2012, to over 100 riders in 2013, and doubling that in this year’s ride. Most cities where the WNBR takes place are protesting oil dependency, but Boston’s ride has been more to draw attention to bicycle safety in the city (which is a major issue in Boston,) and positive body-images. Another sign of better acceptance of public nudism is the coverage this year’s ride received in the Boston Globe, which last year inexplicably only covered the ride by having a columnist, who had well-known body-image negativity issues, write a column which trashed the idea of such an event. This year the Globe and a number of other smaller publications did positive stories helping to publicize the ride beforehand and then covering the ride itself in later stories.

    All of this is such an improvement over the way this event was perceived by the city of Boston in its first few years when the police monitored the ride not so much to escort and protect the participants, but rather to write citations for anyone actually displaying any nudity (bathing suits or underwear were required in those days.) For more recent years, while the laws are still the same, the police have decided that they really have much more important things to do on a Saturday night than chasing people on bikes who are baring their bodies to make a peaceful statement.

    Here are some photos from the Globe: http://www.boston.com/life/2014/06/29/scenes-from-the-world-naked-bike-ride-boston/WT9CJhwUPxR8VsueyXxohP/pictures.html

    Reply
      1. Scott

        Shame the NYC naked bike ride wasn’t great this year, rain kept the group small and the police stopped the ride and arrested two participants near the end. Sounded just ridiculous!

        Montreal will have a nighttime naked ride in early August.

  21. Karen

    Hello
    did you ever establish a nude yoga studio?
    I do agree that there is def a sexuAl component to nudity regardless what they say….but would love to find a safe place to learn and practice yoga nude or near nude…and Lululemon be damned!

    Reply
    1. Isis Phoenix Post author

      Hi Karen,

      I have a women’s class that meets monthly. Right now I’m still working on finding a larger space for mixed gender classes. I hope you’ll join us!

      Reply
    2. Kerry

      I agree & want a safe place also. Having said that if we are all focused on our inner spirit strength & position who notices the nudity? Just sayin??

      Reply
  22. Kerry

    Start a women only nude yoga. I’m overweight I recently started doin yoga by myself in the nude and I feel so free. I’ve been practicing yoga/palates for years & this is amazing . I’m on board w u. Anyway how many guys do yoga anyway?

    Reply
  23. Jim Coughlin

    Thank you so much for challenging the naturists whoever they are and wherever they are. Your statement was written so beautifully. We need to bring this practice to Boston. I have a long yoga history. I belong to a couple of social network e-mail list that I can post annoucements on for like minded people, both women and men. I would like to support you in any way I possibly can. Please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thank you,

    Reply
  24. Jim Coughlin

    Thank you so much for challenging these naturists. I live in eastern Massachusetts and have a long history of yoga practice. I would like to support you in bringing this practice to good old Puritanical Boston. I belong to two good e-mail lists who can spread the word to both women and men. Please contact me. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Thanks very much,

    Jim

    e-mail ,,.. petercough@yahoo.com

    Reply
    1. Isis Phoenix Post author

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for the support! Of course any is welcome including hipping people to the fact that we have a regular class going in Central Massachusetts.

      Reply
  25. Chris R

    I don’t have a problem with using “skyclad” for whatever demographic is using it, be they all-male, all-female, or mixed. I also don’t have a problem with all-male or all-female classes, whether skyclad or not (some people are uncomfortable being naked around the opposite sex unless it’s an intimate setting–this is why locker rooms are segregated, no?). But, the problem is that apparently this group is not up-front about being men only, and then made a rude comment to the woman when she did try to attend. THAT is where the wrong occurred. As others have mentioned, be all-male if you wish, skyclad if you wish, but ADVERTISE as such!
    Side comment, I do notice that “all female” is often seen is “empowering” while “all male” is usually seen as “discriminatory”. Hmmm…

    Reply
  26. Johnny

    I have been practicing yoga for one year, in DC and now Boston ~ and am interested in the freedom. Love the yoga. Please let me know if you wish to form a group and I am happy to attend. Thank you!

    Reply
      1. Johnny

        Thank you so much for your response, your kindness and acceptance. I really did not think anyone would respond in the fairly conservative northeast corner of world, but you have and it is great to know there are really open minded progressive folks going beyond social norms; cool! I look forward to meeting you / group as well and thanks again for the warm kindness; very nice!

  27. Marissa

    Yes!
    I completely agree with you. Yoga is supposed to be accepting of all people and support positive energy while this isn’t very positive at all.

    Reply

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