Monday, August 11, 2008

Naked Yoga

I was reading something on another blog which mentioned naked yoga, and I just had to leave a comment. And because I don't have much else to write about (been quiet for a week, had a cold) I figured I'd just do a blog post about it too.

Yoga was one of those things that'd been on my list for years, and, like a lot of things on that list, it was destined to stay there. Then I heard about Naked Yoga. Now, before you get all excited, I have to point out that, at least in the city I live in, naked yoga's an all-male thing. And while it's very open to all sexual orientation, in practice it's only gay guys. I think straight men would find it a bit confronting. Naked men in a room. Cocks. Asses. That sort of thing.

I wanted to do it precisely because it was a bit confronting. I've always been very self-conscious about being naked, and I thought (correctly, as it turned out) that this would be a good way to get over it.

I emailed the guy who runs it, then spoke to him on the phone. He sounded pleasant and not at all creepy, and he said that it didn't matter that I'd never done yoga, there were all sorts of people there. I didn't even need a mat! He always brought a few spares.

So one Sunday evening I showed up. It's a very nondescript building, on a major road, opposite a gas station. It's used sometimes as a theater rehearsal space. I went over to the gas station to buy a bottle of water and watched guys going in, they looked pretty normal. And importantly, they weren't all 25yo gym-bunnies. I gathered all my reserves of courage and walked over the road, then in the door and up the stairs.

In the room were a dozen or so men, all still clothed. At the front of the room was Steve, the guy who runs it. I introduced myself to Steve, he gave me a mat and I found a space. Then I sat and waited. Eventually Steve closed the door, and that, I realised, was the signal for everyone to get undressed and start having sex. No, I'm kidding about the having sex. We all got undressed.

Like a lot of people (I've checked) I have dreams about being naked in places where I'm not supposed to be naked. At work. Going through customs and immigration at LAX. At the supermarket. That sort of thing. And I found that no matter how many times I went to naked yoga, I still had this delicious frisson of doubt as I started taking my clothes off. I'd have to remind myself that everyone else in the room was also taking their clothes off, and that it was ok.

Then, naked, we'd stand on our mats. The front of the room was a floor-to-ceiling mirror running nearly the whole length of the room. So you'd see yourself. You'd also see the other guys, and without making it too obvious you'd check everyone out. I assume we were all doing this, not just me. I may be wrong.

Then the yoga started. I liked it, as it turned out. It was physically quite challenging, lots of balance and strength work. Once in a while someone would get a hardon, usually someone new. We'd always pretend not to notice. I was too busy being serene and blissful, but if I did notice someone enjoying the class too much I couldn't help feeling just a little bit smug. Having a hardon in naked yoga would be a real bitch.. there's nowhere to hide, and once you were aware of it you'd never get rid of it. Never happened to me (except once or twice in the meditation bit, but the lights were out).

Then, after about half an hour, Steve said it was time for 'partner work', and we each had to find a partner.

When you're doing naked yoga with someone, you get a bit fussy. You don't want the fat hairy guy. You don't want the creepy guy either. I worked out pretty quickly that there's a lot of strategizing around where you put your mat. You especially don't want someone who sweats a lot. Not so much because it's icky (which it is) but more because you fall off them.

After partner work, more yoga. Then meditation.

I found the best thing about going to naked yoga was that it meant I could tell people that I went to naked yoga. They always looked at me a little differently after that, especially women. And that's the way I like it.

1 comment:

Luka said...

Naked yoga - wow, what a concept!

Still, better than naked trampolining I reckon.