“And so this is the place from which to re-emerge and begin again.” – Liam Cyfrin
Day 29 Naked Yoga Challenge. Savasana. Corpse Pose.
Dear Naked Yogis! It is my pleasure to announce a new women’s naked yoga class beginning in Leominster, MA on Wednesday nights 6-7:30pm. The class is for women and is $20. RSVP is necessary for location as space is limited. There’s more information available HERE.
Women’s Naked Yoga is a beautiful sacred and naked yoga practice for women. There will be a focus on vinyasa yoga and body positive affirmations as well as Taoist energy cultivation practices. Our naked yoga practice will focus on spiritual aspects of the divine feminine, loving self-care of our bodies and the intimacy and bonds of female community. Email Isis: sensualshaman (at) gmail to register.
For all of the male yogis, I will be offering a gender inclusive class once a month as soon as a large enough space is secured for the practice. Thank you for your inquiries.
I met Kimber at a film shoot for a documentary that included naked yoga. I rolled out my mat beside him and could tell immediately this a man who had a relationship with with Earth. I was quiet for a few minutes simply lying next to him breathing, like lying next to fertile Earth. “Are you from Vermont?” I asked him. He looked taken aback. “Yes,” he answered.
“I can feel the land in your body,” I told Kimber. I had become increasingly familiar with Vermont land energy on visits to see my spiritual mentor Suzanne d’Corsey who lives in Vermont.
Below is Kimber’s Story ~
I was a young boy in the hills of Rochester, VT in the sixties. This was a time of great civil unrest, but also a time of soul searching in the form of free love and free spirit. Near our home was a hippie colony called The Fisk Farm. I believe it still exists today. Stories of carefree nudity as told by adults in hushed voices were very intriguing to a ten-year-old boy. I missed the whole Woodstock phenomenon by about two years. I was curious – free love and social nudity. How could a young boy not be?
A bit about my background: My ancestry is deeply connected to the land I farmed and lived on. My family moved to Vermont in the late 1700s from New Hampshire. We’re farmers. I’m named after the Kimber that was my great great great Grandfather. It never occurred to me to do anything other than be a farmer. My ancestors are farmers. It’s what we do, who we are. I attended college at UVM as an Animal Science major. It’s what my father and my father’s father and his father’s father did. It’ hard manual labor being a farmer.
Just in these past few years, however, things have changed. The farm is no longer sustainable. We’ve decided to sell. The cows are gone. There is a “For Sale” sign on the land. Farmer… it’s becoming an identity of the past. I can now say that’s not what defines me –being labeled “farmer.” Something new waits on the horizon.
My life was very predictable as a farmer. It was in my blood. The evolution out of the farmer role began sort of by accident, really. A few years ago my wife got into a car accident. She hurt her neck and shoulders. For a while she went to a chiropractor until our insurance ran out. She said the massage part of the treatment was useful. I thought how hard could it be, I work with my hands all day, so I started to give her massages on a regular basis. Next Christmas, under the tree was a massage table. A gift from my wife, of course she’s on the receiving end of it. I really enjoyed practicing massage so I took a few classes at the community college. That led me into studying Reiki and eventually attending massage school, from there yoga. What I learned from massage school and Reiki, I was able to apply to the animals on the farm. I did Reiki on the new calves. My neighbors have had me work on their dog. One of my neighbor’s children has a terminal illness so I volunteered to work on him as well. This transformation of identity was gradual. Much of my identity was wrapped up in being a farmer. It’s all I’ve ever done and all my family has ever known. My wife’s accident, however gave me a new entry point into another career path and way of being. There’s a lot of weight we place in this world on labels and identity. But I’m not afraid to let the label of ‘farmer’ go. Maybe I’m a healer. When I give back, energy multiplies. It heals me by healing others. This journey started when I turned 50. Eight years later the doors are still appearing. Each thing I do opens up another door. Of course it’s my decision to open it, but each time I do opportunities keep happening. I try to keep my hands in it, give something back, get involved.
A guiding practice through this transition has been naked yoga. It was one of those doors that opened and I walked through. Something of the mystery and intrigue of the naturist lifestyle that was whispered about when I was a boy found its way home to my own body. It’s a bit of the hippy in me coming out for expression that I just missed in the 60s. It also brings me back to the simplicity of being. I release the clothes. I release the identity. My first group class of course there was some nervousness as in anything new. But there also was an excitement, like Hurry up! I can’t wait to get my cloths off! There was no fear. I was like the heifer that couldn’t wait to get the halter off. FREEDOM. I believe nudity is a path to the soul. This soul journey led me to explore other clothing optional paths – Naked Church with Isis and Rev. Charmaine, Rock Lodge Naturist Resort, naked body painting in Times Square with Andy Golub.
I’m ready to embrace a new identity. Naked yoga and naturist events are helping me release the old one. I’m proud of my heritage. The generations of family have given me a foundation to support anything I attempt. And I look forward to the future. There is no fear in releasing my identity as farmer. Life is good. The skill set that farming and the experiences it lead me to, have much value. One week after the farm equipment auction, I was hired as a foreman on the construction job site at a medical center for the next two years. Most days that job will end at 3:30, giving me time to apply my massage skills. Time I didn’t have before. Next fall I plan to complete the Reiki Master course. I hope to some day take an Esalen massage course at Findhorn, Scotland. There is a lot to do. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s behind the next door.
I love when I underestimate the amount of beautiful souls who want to get naked and celebrate their holy body and sensual spirits. Such a beautiful Holy Body Retreat in NYC this past Sunday with Rev. Goddess Charmaine, myself and our beloved community. Naked Yoga, Naked Church, Trance Dance, love and blessings to our body temples and sensual spirits.
Holy Body Retreat with Naked Yoga, Naked Church & Trance Dance!
This Sunday 10am-2pm!!!
Come feel powerful, holy, wild, sensual, free, and totally you
Join Rev. Goddess Charmaine & Isis Phoenix for
Clothing Optional Holy Body Retreat!!!
Freedom Movement Trance Dance
Holy Body Worship “Naked Church”
Group Bodywork & Healing Circle
Sunday, September 29th, 2013
10 to 2pm
This is a Clothing Optional Event
Our bodies are miracles, beauty, complex ecosystems, walking art – each unique, holy and beautiful. Gift your holy body and sensual spirit to a nourishing and celebratory afternoon with your soul family. Come nourish, rejoice and celebrate with yoga, dance, naked church and healing bodywork!
We welcome you to a community who loves, honors and celebrates the holy, sacred and celebratory union of body and spirit.
If you play an instrument and feel led called to bring it we will incorporate sound and music healing into Naked Church and Group Bodywork.
Sunday, September 29th 12 to 4pm
638 E. 6th Street
Ny, NY 10009
$39 in advance
$49 at the door
Questions or to reserve your spot now!
Isis Phoenix: email@example.com
Rev. Goddess: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please bring your yoga mat, a towel and blindfold.
Anya’s story is one that has touched and moved me so deeply. It hits close to home for me as a woman growing up with the challenges of body dysmorphia and confusion around food as nourishment. Her path is fearlessly transparent and deeply self-inquiring. I am so grateful for all that she has chosen to share here. My hopes are that when we tell our stories and lay ourselves bare we create an entry point of unconditional love and universal transformation for the highest light and love possible. Thank you for taking the time to read.
Love & Blessings,
Occupation: Yoga Teacher, Counselor
I’m just starting to put myself out there as a teacher of naked yoga. Naked yoga is not just about taking off your clothes. It’s about taking off your belief systems and, more importantly, realizing just what beliefs you’ve been wearing.
There was a lot of duality for me growing up. I grew up in Italian Jewish family and food was a big part of our lives. It was an eateateat culture, but in this culture it was also expected that you had to thin. In my family, food was a form of both reward and punishment.
From my parents and grandparents, I felt judgment and disdain for people who were overweight. If I wasn’t thin, I wasn’t good enough and no one would love me. How does one eat and be thin?
With those dualities in me, I became bulimic. I used to go from McDonalds, Burger King, 7-11, eat as much as I possibly could and then throw up. The binging numbed my sense of not feeling good enough. I was a train wreck with food for most of my life because of the bulimia. I never felt in control over what I would eat and was in a constant cycle of binging, purging and not eating. I was like a heroin addict when it came to eating. As I look back, there was a lot of undoing to do, to create peace and contentment and acceptance within myself. I have a tremendous amount of compassion for people who are caught up in food addiction.
The practice of yoga has been a wonderful tool on my healing journey. This next step of practicing nude yoga has made me feel more comfortable in my body than I ever have.
Yoga is a process. Nude yoga is a process. I discovered naked yoga sort of by accident. One day, I happened to do yoga in my home yoga studio before getting dressed and discovered how different the practice felt without clothes on. It wasn’t a planned experiment. It just happened. And instantly I felt more open in my body, more deeply connected to my inner self, and more able to radiate my energy. It started organically and it then began to gradually happen more regularly. I found I continued to be drawn to go into my yoga room to practice without clothes. There was a deeper drawing that my body and soul wanted to experience in this practice.
What yoga does is give me a new awareness of my body. It gives me a space in which to attune to myself, and part of that is noticing what foods don’t work for me. Yogic principles of mindfulness help me recognize what my body feels called to eat and predict how I will feel after that. I didn’t learn those lessons on the first try. It took a lot of time and awareness and patience. I have a lot more awareness now but know I still have a long way to go.
Cultivating my relationship with the inner witness to my body’s needs has become one of the strongest lessons I’ve learned through yoga. There are different qualities to this witness. I’ve learnt to see her unconditional love, her acceptance and her great sense of humor. Because I spent so many years with negative thoughts and emotions controlling my mind, the inner witness took a long time to emerge from her shell. But now she has, I can see that all that negative programming is not who I am. I can choose what’s right for me in any moment.
No one knows your body the way you do. Each day the body is different, each year it evolves. What we need to eat and how we need to eat changes as well. There’s no expert other than yourself and your body. That lesson also took some time to sink in. At first, I attempted to heal my food addiction through consulting experts in the field. That basically turned my addiction to bad foods into an addiction to raw foods, vegetarian diets or veganism. I was just as mentally sick on these diets as I was eating McDonalds. I don’t think being vegan or a raw food-ist is the answer if it’s just a swap of one addiction for another.
Just as my yoga benefited from removing my clothes, my relationship with food was strengthened by removing labels, food belief systems and ‘right diet’ concepts so I could focus on my own personal balance. This was so important in the process. Now, I eat raw food on some days and cooked meat on others because I can feel what my body needs and wants on a day-to-day basis. I can choose what’s right for me in any moment. Eating as simply as possible works best for me, but I’m attuned to my needs. I have become empowered to be my own body’s expert.
This empowerment grew alongside the increased body consciousness I found in naked yoga. For me now, teaching nude yoga is about self-study as well as deconstructing imprisoning belief systems. You can’t get out of a prison if you don’t know you’re in one. Most of us don’t know it. We’re just there. The first step is finding what imprisons you. Come to where you are in the present moment and love that, whatever it looks like. I know sometimes it’s hard to love things that seem ugly to us, but begin to love yourself just as you are in the present moment, no matter what it looks like. Put your own needs ahead of pleasing someone else. Practice self-awareness and self-study.
Each person comes to the mat with the work that they need to do. When teaching naked classes, I want to create a space where each person can receive their work, let go of imprisoning belief systems and thought forms, and find their unique truth, so they can feel truly comfortable in their body with or without clothes on.
Anya is currently teaching Nude Yoga at Release in Asbury Park. To inquire about Anya’s New Jersey based naked yoga classes email email@example.com
For private naked yoga sessions with Isis Phoenix in New York City email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I met Lloyd a few weeks after I wrote to tell him he won the ‘Share your naked yoga story contest‘ and to ask him when was a good time to collect on his complimentary naked yoga session, the gift for writing such a great story. Meeting him has changed or perhaps confirmed my perspective on many things. How do I introduce you to Lloyd in a way that will best capture his essence… Lloyd is in that rare race of Man-Gods that are on the planet. His embodiment of the divine masculine is a hybrid of philosopher, warrior, medicine man and lover of the Goddess. On meeting, at first glance I was instantly taken with the thought – Wow! This is a full sized man! His physical frame was similar to what one might see in the marbled statues of Greek and Roman deities at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His body is solid like iron and wood but also present is an unmistakable heart energy that permeates every cell generating warmth and openness in his energy field. I learned on our first meeting that he had indeed been a warrior and proudly served his country as well being a published author, physician, massage therapist, research scientist… he had many incarnations so far in just this one lifetime and they didn’t feel anywhere close to being complete. We sat in my living room and spoke for a while on relationships, naturism and spirituality before we moved into our yoga practice. When we did practice together it felt very much like practicing alongside a demigod, huge beautiful sculpted feet, a frame so tall that in his sun salutes his hands brushed the ceiling. It was asking a New York City apartment a lot to hold space for this man.
The basic questions that guided this essay were – Tell me the story of your body and why you chose it? What is yoga to you? Why practice naked yoga?
Occupation: Research Scientist, Physician, Writer, Philosopher.
Norse and Slovak DNA directed the construction of my body 60 years ago after the union of my father’s seed with my mother’s ready egg. That early body suffered involuntary circumcision, a diet of processed and preserved foods, and obligatory church on Sunday dressed in the most uncomfortable clothing available. To compensate I spent a lot of time outdoors, at least until TV became popular enough to replace fun.
With the Sixties came new and interesting ideas from the East, yoga among them. My puberty dawned with the Age of Aquarius and my budding sexuality neatly parallels my education in yoga. Both began with a book.
Neither sex nor yoga should be learned from a book, but that was all we had. In my world depictions of sex and nudity were harshly censored. Today a young person can find pictures of naked people and sex acts. In 1965, we couldn’t. Sex education used no realistic illustrations, let alone that most powerful of all learning tools: the hands-on demonstration.
The anxiety I felt during Mr. Boydston’s 7th grade health class description of the process is still vivid. “The male inserts the penis into the female vagina. He performs a rocking motion until ejaculation occurs.” Insert tab A into slot B? Rocking motion? My god! I’ve been doing it wrong! What if I can’t get it right when I have to do this for real with my wife? What if she laughs at me?
It wasn’t until I saw my first explicit sex film in 1970 that I realized that sex would be fun and easy. And wouldn’t it have saved us all a lot of angst and bother if Mr. Boydston could have just shown us a clip in the first place?
My first book on yoga was fascinating but had no illustrations. It emphasized breathing and meditation rather than asanas. When I chanced upon a magnificent book by B. K. S. Iyengar, richly illustrated with actual photos of the yogi himself, I finally had something tangible to imitate. The breathing and meditation would come later, but a picture of an asana is worth a thousand OMs.
In college – at a Catholic university no less – I took my first yoga class the same year I advanced from sexual observer to participant. The teacher wove breathing and meditation into the asanas and the parts became whole. The teacher explained that yoga should be done in a sacred, calm place (we met in the chapel). She recommended wearing comfortable, loose clothing but then said, “Of course, it is best to wear nothing at all.” To this day I regret withholding the obvious question: “Then why aren’t we wearing nothing at all?”
Indeed, why do we wear clothes? For protection and decoration, to be sure, but why modesty? Is the body evil? Is self-disgust virtuous? Why do we hide for shame and punish people for the heinous crime of being seen naked? Why is there even a word for naked as a special condition? Why should activities naturally done naked require a special moniker? There are “nudists” but no “clothists”. There is “skinny dipping” but no “swimsuit dipping.” Why do we say “naked yoga” but not “clothed yoga?” It should go without saying that yoga is done naked unless otherwise modified.
Naked yoga has helped me in some measure to repair the damage that society’s body shame inflicted. I now not only feel completely normal when naked, I feel that way in the company of others. I now regularly enjoy mixed nude recreation such as the sauna, hot tubbing, skinny dipping, clothing-optional beaches and nudist parks. When everybody has their clothes off, it’s like nobody does.
But naked yoga offers more than mere recreation. The inward focus of yoga opens awareness. The constant chatter of the external world, mostly through the eye and ear gates, crowds out input from the nose, the tongue, the skin and the internal organs. That smothering of the senses is made worse when we truss our bodies up, preventing normal contact with air, sun and water. The wash of sensory feedback is necessary for our grounding, our orientation in the physical world. Indeed, a sense of self could not be possible apart from the framework of the environment, the non-self.
So naked yoga is the optimal way to enhance sensory feedback. It strengthens self-awareness and enriches the experience of social nude recreation. With the practice of naked yoga I’ve resolved over recent years to spend a little time out of doors naked every day. Others have joined me, one by one.
On an evening nude swim in a beautiful but public lake where nudity is technically unlawful, one of my fellow spirits noted that even if we told our colleagues what we do, they still wouldn’t believe it. We are exceptional – healthier, brighter, stronger, more beautiful – because we make decisions and act where others won’t. Courage defines us.
We are of the new old religion, the religion of Olympus. We are demigods, human children of divine origin. Not disembodied spirits; we are flesh, blood and bone that give rise to a brain that supports the soul, fanned by the spirit – the prana – of life-giving oxygen. Our cosmology is inverted, bottom upwards. The spirit arises from the soul, produced by the brain as an inseparable part of the body. Naked yoga links all three in perfect harmony. Naked yoga is the spade with which we dig ourselves free from the mud, wash ourselves, stretch our limbs and revel in our beauty.
But it takes courage. Just because you’re a god, doesn’t mean you don’t have to work at it.
In working on the Naked Yoga Book, I presented a series of contemplative questions and writing prompts that I listed on my website for individuals to ponder over who were interested in telling their story. Last night I received this beautiful and vulnerable email from a lovely Pakistani man. I was moved so much by his response, I wanted to share.
Tell me the story of your body.
I use to be overweight prior to high school. I would be bullied for being a fat, nerdy paki.
I remember holding my chest from bouncing around the pool during school trips in the summer.
During my stay in Pakistan I lost a lot of weight and came back to Canada. People I knew couldn’t recognize me after I had lost all that weight.
I started to workout and liked the attention I was getting. My cousin dared me by saying “Pakis can’t get a six pack” so I began working out 6 days a week and became a fitness model.
I thought I looked great and felt like crap because I was dehydrating myself to look more ripped for photoshoots and casting events.
Now I have gained some weight and am not so obsessed with the GQ look. I am a yogi and I love my body as it is the perfect gift for me from my Maker!
Why did your soul choose this body?
Because it knew it was the perfect shape, size and color to allow me to experience all that I intended in this lifetime.
What is yoga to you? How has naked yoga transformed your life?
Yoga is life to me. Yoga means union and to me life is about looking past illusions to remember our oneness with all that is.
Naked yoga gave me a venue to express my love for the body I have while daring myself not to look to impress anyone with an image that I adopted from some magazine.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from your body over the years?
I am perfect.
What struggles have you faced being an embodied soul in your particular body?
Eating out of depression
Starving my body to look good
Severe allergies and hives
Car accident leading to 6 herniated disks
Getting better through love and yoga
GUEST BLOG by Lloyd:
Over the holidays, I stumbled upon a four-year-long discussion on an article on Naked Yoga blogged on the internet in 2007. The author dismissed it as “too racy” for her. She asked her readers whether they would try such a thing. The almost one hundred responses over four years were fascinating. First the responses were almost universally – and often virulently – negative. They were also made by people who, like the author had never experienced nude yoga in a group. Cries of disgust gushed: screaming captials, barking multiple exclamation points, long strings of drawn out “EEEWWWW’ and “YUCK!!!!”
The article and the responses, at least the early ones, were rife with sexual innuendo. Naked yoga is all about sex – especially gay sex – practiced by perverts and leads to sexual abuse and dangerous things. Yoga is pure and spiritual and shouldn’t be sullied with something so base as nudity. Adoration of and pleasure in the human body has no place in yoga. We must hide ourselves (in form-fitting, expensive clothing) so as not to distract others. Especially men, who couldn’t possibly do yoga for any other reason than as a substitute for pornography.
The theme of Downward-facing Dog recurred (sometimes with nauseating detail), and all from people who practice yoga clothed, never nude. Maybe I learned wrong, but isn’t your gaze supposed to be turned toward your center in Down Dog? In my experience with crowded classes, even clothed participants shift politely to avoid face-ass proximity.
So what we have here is a pretext contrived to mask personal phobia. Where does the absurd aversion we as a species have to our own flesh come from? Children are not born with it. Other societies live in comfort with nudity. This phenomenon must come from our culture.
It isn’t hard to see what anchors our exaggerated disgust for ourselves – our ancient sky religion. And Christianity doesn’t hold the monopoly. The Islamic world, if anything, exceeds us in body hatred. (This would be a tempting place to digress about the parallel development of animal husbandry, slavery and marriage as a contract between two men to buy a daughter. And about fear of all things feminine. I know the fear of rape and the drive to attract a mate affect women in ways they don’t affect men, but we men also suffer the consequences. I’m hurt when a woman behaves in such a way as to indicate she thinks me dangerous or shallow.)
I found myself wondering about why grown adults feel obligated to display disgust for all things pelvic? And fear the imagined judgment of others? And neurotically resort to buying expensive, sexy clothing to both hide and entice at the same time.
As often happens in life, insight came through a small child. During breaks from my laptop, I did a few asanas, Downward-facing Dog among them. My almost-two-year-old grandson, running about diaper-free, attempted an imitation to the delight of my wife and three adult daughters. He had no qualms about pointing his bare bottom up in the air. None of us found it disgusting in the least. But at some point, that child with his cute little butt in the air will become the image that disgusts so many self-admitted devotees to yoga. He will not only become disgusting to others, he will develop an arresting self-consciousness and desperately cover himself. When does that happen? At ten? Fifteen? Certainly before adulthood.
When do we stop being the Child? When do we stop seeing the Child?
Long before I entered the practice of medicine, I was a massage therapist. One client changed my outlook forever. He was an old man, brought in by his elderly wife. I’d say they were in their eighties. He had a slow, shuffling gate, fixed gaze, and expressionless face which I took for early Parkinsonism. Most strikingly, his body was covered with lesions of at least five distinct kinds. He hadn’t been washed properly in days, maybe weeks.
I was apprenticing in the practice of a kindly old Norwegian therapist, Connie Haldorson. She was getting on in years and needed someone to help. I did most of the massage while she sat at the feet of her clients doing reflexology. Connie was also an herbalist.
She had prepared special lotion just for this man. (I wish I had paid more attention, but I remember it had comfrey and aloe vera in it.) I massaged the goo into his tough, leathery skin from head to toe and rubbed it off with a rough towel. Several towels, actually. Dead layers of skin and crusty lesions came off in scoops. What emerged was pink, new, clean skin – still tough, but softer. When he got off the table, he felt renewed. Most importantly, he no longer felt filthy and disgusting. We dressed him in clean clothes. He came out of the room to greet his wife with a little hop and a “Come on, Ma! Let’s go dancin’!” I had to excuse myself to weep.
I have never looked at a person the same way since. Underneath all that disgusts us – the hair, the fat, the sweat, the filth – lies that child, that cute little kid with his bottom in the air.
Herbs can do wonders in knowledgeable hands. But the miracle that day was due to nothing more than Connie’s motherly compassion for a child. An eighty-year-old child. (Excuse me. Did I just modify the most powerful force in the universe – motherly love – with the words “nothing more than?”)
If naked yoga means anything to me, it means motherly love – that compassionate protection of the child in each of us. It means seeing each other the way mothers view children. And wouldn’t that be a nice change from seeing people as objects of lust or disgust.
A much deserved ‘repost’ from the 2009 Phoenix Temple Days. I continue to remain inspired by this practice and am currently working on a photographic essay documenting stories of individuals in their naked yoga practice. I am still seeking individuals who would like to be interviewed and photographed in their practice.
I’ve been perusing my computer today, moving through old photo shoots of when I first began Naked Yoga and dared to bare my asana on high-rise buildings, on Sandy-Hook Beach, on a third story roof in the meat-packing district, all in the name of freedom, celebration and love. As I sifted through over three years of old photos, I was shocked at my very visceral response to them. Some, quite literally took my breath away. I remember at one time, being afraid to look at the photos of me doing yoga naked, hiding them deep in the belly of the hard drive on my computer. But today, something made me look and when I did, I saw such unmistakable beauty present in this practice which I had been previously unavailable to fully witness.
Naked yoga has been one of the most beautiful and self-healing and self-sustaining practices I have encountered. As a woman holding space for this practice, naked yoga, more than anything else, has assisted me in moving through the body-image bullshit that has accumulated throughout my life. This practice drops me into one-ness with my body, releasing the bully of the mind the and the judgment of the ego. The naked yoga practice has been a constant in my life for the past three and a half years, a flowering perennial that continues to bloom, sustain and resurrect itself each year. Of course when I began my movement in NYC, I was sure I was the first to trail blaze such an extraordinary feat. But sadly, I’m reminded there is no true original creation. To my surprise, there were already a few naked yoga circles going in New York City. One was a men’s group Hot Nude Yoga in Chelsea catering to primarily gay and bisexual men, another was in Brooklyn, male run and male attended but allowed women, and then there was a group already led by a woman, Britt, who had taken over naked yoga classes from a woman named Wendy. I collaborated with Britt for a short time until she left the practice entirely to pursue writing and shortly after that I birthed Phoenix Temple to hold ongoing classes for Naked Yoga.
Not only has this practice helped heal the shame I’ve felt over my body, but it’s made me more at ease in the world. I find there are so many more layers I have to work through when I attend a clothed yoga class – not just layers of clothing but also of karma keeping me both separate from the experience, the group and the yoga.
This practice has been so dear to me and the press has been forth coming and also, surprisingly filled with grace. I am amazed at how this practice transforms lives. Over the past three and a half years, there has been a shocking lack of ill-intentioned people showing up in my Temple Space and to the practice. Most are earnest, nervous, with a desire and longing to continue to unravel their own societal shame conditioning, reaching for a moment of stillness and freedom in the galloping pace of New York City. Each time, I feel myself go into contraction around a pose in class; ‘ oh my god, my ass is in the air, and I think I have a hemorrhoid from this cleanse I’ve been doing’ I Breathe, Release and Surrenders. Ahhh. This practice has been my lifeblood. It is always expanding, changing, growing and I love it.
Gratitude and love to the community who has shown up to this practice, from those who have made up the core of our community, to those teaching it in other communities and those who have previously taught and have passed on the torch to the next generation, to the women who dare to come to class or dare to think about coming to class, to those who simply practice in their living rooms and to those who google naked yoga wanting to see naked chicks in exotic poses and who find this and are transformed, Thank you. Thank you for daring, for loving, for being.