Bringing a whole new angle to downward dog: How a Brooklyn yoga studio hosts NAKED classes for men only
21:22 GMT, 13 March 2012
Yoga has long appealed to Westerners in search of holistic physical activity and meditation as a release from the tension of daily life.
But a yoga studio in Brooklyn's Park Slope has taken the concept of leaving one's stress from the day at the studio door a step further by also asking patrons to leave their clothes.
And this is not the only rule that Naked Space insists on. The un-clothed classes are open to men only and women are strictly forbidden from entering their sanctuary of bare-boned masculinity.
Ladies banned: A yoga studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn, runs naked yoga classes for men only
If the website is to be deciphered correctly, however, the class neither targets gay men exclusively nor their straight counterparts.
Rather it considers 'desire and repulsion' as 'equally distracting from the path of self-discovery and enlightenment' and calls on yogis to get comfortable with the nudity 'and experience the deep healing of personal acceptance.'
While other naked events that take place at the studio still involve women, these men-only classes incorporate regular poses and breathing exercises while encouraging participants to shed their egos as they shed their clothes.
The website explains: 'More anatomical information is available to both teacher and student; it feels liberating; the experience of trust and community that exists in a group of naked people can be deeply healing.'
One testimonial on the homepage rather consciously focuses on the healing element of the class and gushes: 'I've never had so much attention paid to my inner body.'
Naked Space was established by
founder Michael Gates in 2005 as way to prolong co-ed naturist
activities and 'preserve communities' after the end of summer.
Naked ambition: Michael Gates who founded the studio established the centre first as a naturists' community
As male lovers of garment
liberation continued to meet and increase, however, a decision was made to introduce
male only sessions of Hatha yoga to the list of practices available.
On Tuesday evenings in the South Slope space, intermediate level yogis can pay $20 to enjoy their asanas au naturel knowing that only men will be staring at their crotches in downward dog.
Whether that is a comfort to its participants is surely a question of personal preference but a short list of thoughtful FAQ's tackles at least one awkward question that curious class goers may wonder: What if I get an erection
The website's response to this concern: 'Congratulate yourself for having a healthy reproductive system. Seriously, erections are natural. Some guys will get them, some won't; either way, it's not a problem.
What you choose to do with your erection is another matter. Be responsible for your actions and aware of the other people sharing the space.'
Which makes us feel perhaps a little relieved that we're not allowed into Naked Yoga…