in a room full of limber, naked men is good for you
BY BOB FINDLE
Dog, Warrior 2, One-legged King Pigeon,
Cobra, Cow Face. Up-and-coming hip-hop artists straight outta
Compton you ask? No, these are a few pose names, also called
asanas, used in yoga. Each pose has a specific physical and
mental benefit and is combined in various sequences for the
practice of yoga.
More than 5000 years old, yoga is found
in all parts of the world, including in a fifth-floor studio
in New York’s Chelsea. There you’ll find Aaron
Star, pictured on left in the photo below, and his aptly named
Hot Nude Yoga (hotnudeyoga.com).
Since 2001, Star has been convincing
men to step out of their gym shorts, jock straps and comfort
zones to do birthday-suit yoga.
Is there a pose called Free Your Willie?
Star says, no, there isn’t, although
that part of the body is most certainly free to swing and
sway at will during class.
“Naked yoga is a freeing experience,”
he says. “Yoga gets to the essence of what we really
are -- a body with a spirit. Naked yoga, the shedding of clothes,
helps remove a huge part of the ego from the equation.”
That said, anyone looking at the materials
for Hot Naked Yoga, which promotes itself as being for in-shape
men, could feel they don’t make the beauty cut and therefore
not attend. Is it a room full of Abercrombie & Fitch knockoffs?
No, says Star.
“There seems to be a wide range
as to how people interpret ‘in shape.’ If you
go to Europe, most people seem to think they’re in shape
if they just feel good or get a good medical check-up. Here
in North America, we seem to think we are in shape if we have
the body of Adonis.”
To Star, someone is in shape if they
consistently look after themselves. And, although some may
picture yoga classes being attended by ethereal, wispy new
agers with squeaky clean auras, yoga is often quite physical
and requires a level of fitness similar to any exercise program.
Nude Yoga,” Star says, “is not and never will
be for people who haven’t walked to the end of their
driveway in the last week, or month for that matter.”
men are able to walk to the end of their driveway and
what started out as a New York-niche novelty has grown
and Star’s classes have taken on international
|“Many other naked
yoga groups started to pop up all over the place,”
he says. “Those group leaders wanted me to come
and give workshops. It’s been a lot of fun. This
year I am doing workshops and retreats in Cologne, Germany;
Costa Rica; Hawaii; London and Paris. I’m also doing
a guided Himalayan Indian trek in September.”
|At the prompting of
naked-yoga fans, Star, in conjunction with director Michael
Selditch of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and producer
Rob Tate, put his work out for the masses.
There is Better Sex Trough Yoga for Gay Men, and the four-DVD
series Aaron Star’s Hot Nude Yoga, which consists of
Virgin, for beginners; Strength, a more advanced, strenuous
workout; Partner, doing poses with another man; and Tantra,
which encourages touch, breath and sense arousal.
The men are all attractive, naked and
enjoying each other as they go through the poses under Star’s
gentle guidance. It’s refreshing they’re appealing,
looking like men you could approach at your favorite libation
lounge or java joint.
Check it out at hotnudeyoga.com
and you too could be bending and stretching your way to a
Nude yoga is a natural
fit for body-conscious Los Angeles where the weather
makes it so easy to show off the physical benefits of
the practice. But that isn’t the whole story.
Men who attend Hot Nude Yoga in L.A. (nakedyoga.net).
find a peaceful setting where they can relax their minds
while gaining strength and flexibility.
Phil Roth runs the Los Angeles
studio. A man prone to sharing hugs and to remembering
your name, Roth is candid about the reasons he started
his own group.
“I’d been doing yoga
since 1985 and discovered naked yoga classes in 1990,”
he says. “I was excited and titillated at the
prospect of integrating communal nudity into my practice.
I was in my late 30s and feeling more of a desire for
male sensuality than for fucking. I used to love the
atmosphere of bathhouses with hot guys walking around
in towels. But I didn’t want to go back to those
places because of the sexual pressure. I thought the
gay community needed an environment where we could admire
and touch each other’s bodies without the accompanying
pressure of having to perform sexually.”
He says he first attracted men
to the classes through a Yahoo group in 2003 and originally
operated out of his apartment. He moved to a space in
2004 as the group grew and then to a West Hollywood
studio space in 2005 where there are at least one or
two classes a day with several regular and guest instructors.
“The classes attract men
who want the benefits of yoga and who want to enjoy
the comradely nudity,” he says. “That is
hard to find in today’s environment of homophobia.
Used to be men were free to develop a sense of male
bonding through shared nude experiences such as at the
YMCA where men of all ages used to swim nude together.
It was a natural thing to do without the fear of being
perceived as homo-sexual. That is pretty much gone now.”
He continues, “I enjoy creating
a naked environment where men can work, sweat and breathe
deeply -- a place of nurturing with the added benefits
of mental, physical and spiritual growth. In my book
it doesn’t get any better than that.”
Yoga is a centuries-old practice of stretching, breathing
and maintaining poses to develop strength, flexibility
and overall body awareness. Today, there are many different
styles taught and practiced. Here are a few:
Hatha is a very general term that
can be used to describe many of the physical types of
yoga. If a class is described as Hatha style, it is
probably going to be slow-paced and gentle.
Vinyasa, which means breath-synchronized
movement. It is usually a more vigorous style based
on the performance of a series of poses called Sun Salutations
in which movement is matched to the breath.
a fast-paced, intense style of yoga. A series of poses
are performed, always in the same order. Because movement
between poses is constant, Ashtanga practice can be
Iyengar is based
on the teachings of the yogi B.K.S Iyengar. The practice
is concerned with bodily alignment and emphasizes holding
poses over long periods versus moving quickly from one
pose to the next (flow).
controlling the breath in conjunction with physical
movement, with the purpose of freeing
|energy in the lower
body and allowing it to move upwards. Kundalini uses rapid,
was developed by Bikram Choudhury. The style is also
called Hot Yoga. It is practiced in a 95-100 degree
room, the heat loosening tight muscles and causing profuse
sweating, which is thought to be cleansing.
Lotus Pose In Your City
for a listing of naked yoga groups throughout the country
and Canada. Included are such cities as Atlanta, Dallas,
Fort Lauderdale, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City and Washington,
D.C. If you don’t see a city near you -- why not
start your own group?