I was naked in a room with 12 men… and it was great.
I stumbled upon Bold Naked 2 years ago after reading about this unique vinyasa class in passing. Interesting. I registered an account. The location of the studio is kept private, until you meet their criteria of non-creepers. The brief questionnaire asks about your personal practice, what you’re looking to gain from a nude class, etc.. et voilà. You’re in. All I had to do next was show up.
For 2 years, although I hadn’t signed up for a class, I read their weekly Monday emails equipped with an inspirational quote (i.e: “Authenticity is the most attractive garment you could ever wear.”) and reminder that “tomorrow is Co-ed Tuesday!” My Tuesday finally arrived. It was my last in NYC before moving to Bali. I cleared my calendar, took off work and declared it my monthly “Khat Day.” Yep, Khat Day is a thing.
I love being nude with my partner. But feel extremely shy around everyone else.. thats normal right? When my friends would go topless, I’d volunteer to take their infamous boobs-to-ocean-with-bathing-suit-top-in-right-hand kodak moment. Once, I went to a nude optional area in Lake Tahoe called the Secret Cove (highly recommend this spot!). While the entire population took that option, I kept my gear on. I wanted to “free bird” like everyone else but couldn’t place my brave badge. Where does it go when I need it the most!?
Some babes flashing the Pacific Ocean
Off I trotted to this top secret building in Chelsea and ride an old elevator to the 5th floor. I slowly turn the knob to enter. “Wow. This is fresh!” I tiptoe onto black hardwood floors in this loft converted into a gorgeous, contemporary yoga space. I am greeted warmly by the co-owner and teacher, Monika to my right and nod a silent “hello” to a fully nude man on my left.
Stay cool. Look him in the eyes. Don’t look down. Smile and pretend he’s NOT shining his treasure at you. I find out almost immediately that I was one, if not the only, nude newbie.
Everyone is on a first name basis! Regulars. Monika checks me in, thankfully at that, as I diverge my attention from the group of men casually chatting about work, their weekend, the game, the dogs, etc, while getting undone. If there were changing rooms, I wouldn’t have known because no one was using them! They emptied their belongings into cubbies. Behind them, some students were already situated on their mats in a dim lit room.
Monika informs me that she usually declines sign ups to coed when the scale tips too far to a single gender. That evening, she didn’t have the heart to turn anyone away, being that Bold Naked would not be renewing their lease. Ok.. what does that mean for me? With two coed classes left, she adds, “there are a lot more men in the class tonight.” A lot. They were ALL men. Most of the students looked like young professionals in their 30s and 40s. I was definitely the youngest. Good GOD. “Oh, ok!” I say, with a little too much pep in my step.
Meanwhile, I’m still in this pattern of stripping and stalling. “Ok jacket goes on coat rack. Oh wait. Can’t forget to hang my scarf! La la la. Jeans off first. Squirrel!” I stalled long enough for most of the students to disperse themselves, like afternoons in NYC post-rush hour when everyone wants at least an arms length distance from each other. That’s when an angel came through the door and was greeted with hugs by same naked man. I forget the name of this angel but all I could remember thinking was, “Yes! A female. More plz. Thanks.” There were 14 of us spaced out generously. 12 were men.
Suns out, buns out at Secret Cove, Lake Tahoe
I snag a spot on the third and final row because no way in hell was I compromising any emotional resistance in my favorite pose, downward facing dog. Catch my drift? I set up camp between two men. I highly recommend this being a BYOM (bring your own mat) kind of class. Although they offer mat rentals.. come on guys. Butt Sweat level 99! Dude on my left who initiates small talk thankfully gets a silent hush as the lights dim a bit more. Monika makes her way to the front of the room. She looks great.
Damn. Who wakes up like that?!
She checks in with each of us individually and by name, asking how we were feeling on a scale of 1-10. Honestly, I was at 5. By the time she made it to “Katherine?” I warmed up to a 7/8. Monika paves a very comfortable space. It’s like letting out a long sigh.
We began checking in with our physical selves as the lights cycled through a rainbow of soothing colors.
Here we go.
If I thought any longer of my infinite insecurities I had in that room, I’d be stealing time and possible joy from myself. I’d be distracting my mind from the present experience. In Sanskrit, this practice of non-stealing is called “asteya.” I could change nothing about my setting. The class would go on even if I rolled up my mat and walked right out.
I decided to change my perspective. Instead, I focused on my breath and let the expectations go.
Photo by Aaron Kleinerman (@thesoulnavigator)
Monika taught an all levels vinyasa class that allowed me to play. I balanced on my hands, on my arms and on my head. Just when I thought I could get away with hiding my engine parts from at least some of the guys, that idea was challenged. We used all sides of the room. So if anyone didn’t get the chance to see my goods in Prasarita Padottonasana A, they surely got a chance to view them from Prasarita Padottonasana C. By that time I’d almost forgotten we were all naked. I didn’t have to fondle with my own clothes or look at anyone else’s. I was just practicing yoga.
To answer some of your questions, yes, there were dingles and grapes hanging from the vine but in all honestly, I was too in tune with the flow, that my eyes were busy with drishtis to wander. This, and the fact that I have poor eyesight served me well, so zooming in for HD peeks were impossible. Thank Buddha. If anyone was “excited” I wouldn’t have noticed. Hello, looking inward here!
By the time we arrived in our final svasana, I was filled with a handful of emotions. It overflowed into a form of happy tears. In this transitional phase of my life, between moving overseas and following my bliss, I felt this release. It was as if my body was a balloon of pressure and someone came over to poke me. So I deflated, became soft and relaxed. I finally sensed my “free bird” moment. I hugged Monika right after class and thanked her for this new experience.
Everything we truly need is found in ourselves. Right here, right now.
As for this experience, I’d say if it scares you, you should try it. Nothing grand ever comes from staying in your comfort zone.
So like the weekly inspiring quotes that Bold Naked shared with their readers, here is mine to you. “I’ll try anything once. Twice if I like it. Three times just to be sure.” If it’s not a naked yoga class, thats okay, too. But I hope you find your “free bird” moment. I promise the view is like a breath of fresh air.
Much love and practice on,
Say Hello. I love new, smiling faces!
To follow my adventures in love, puppers, yoga retreats and islands all over the world.. find me on Instagram, @khat.mandu or visit my website www.KatherineLindsey.com!
Join my next retreat this December 3-9th with our beautiful Puri Bali Bliss Crew!
Rinse off in the Indian Ocean, recharge your yoga practice, revive your soul and repeat. Xx
Yoga & sisterhood go together like bananas and peanut butter or red wine and dark chocolate.
When you bring women together, the energy is higher and oh so beautiful. The wonderful thing about this combination is that there are so many unique types of women in this world, the personalities range to all ends of the spectrum.
Together we are more powerful. We are an unstoppable force of nature that has the ability to create and overcome any obstacle big or small.
Together we can take on the world.
So why yoga and sisterhood? Why the combine the two?
Women have not always been so keen on embracing one another's faults and being a supportive shoulder.
It wasn’t until maybe in the last few years where we’ve seen a dramatic and incredible rise in sisterhood and goddess circles. It’s as if the notion of lifting each other up and being supportive is an entirely new concept.
To be fair, it kind of is.
We are often conditioned in school to be jealous of other women and most of the time the comments we make in grade school can be nasty and hurtful.
But this is why the second half of this blog sandwich is so so yummy.
If you think about it, yoga brings forth an opportunity to connect with fellow members of your community. It is a practice that not only transforms your body physically but also mentally. It lets you invite others in and forces you to dive into who you really are at the very heart.
It showers you with chance encounters with like-minded souls and people who are going through hardships or basic day to day dramas just as you are.
This is not to say that yoga is just for women. But,I do believe that this practice has offered me personally - along with many others - awesome doors leading to lifelong friendships and wonderful sisterhoods.
These days, you see many yoga workshops and classes geared towards the divine feminine or our sacred shakti energy, which is brilliant.
Introducing women to their own history and energies inside is quite powerful. Teaching women that it is okay to be who they really are and feel all their emotions can be so hard.
Pent up emotions for women are stored so deeply within our hips and heart. We hold on with all our might to past pain because we are often taught that by doing so we become stronger or more normal. This is so far from the truth!
Yoga is the gateway to our heart. Every asana peels back layers that we’ve built up over the years and every breath works through our bodies to help open us ever so softly.
I have cried so many times in half pigeon, I have sobbed in savasana and tumbled to my knees after holding camel for longer than five breaths.
Yoga provides an incredible opening and once you are opened there is no turning back. But if we can’t turn back where do we turn?
To our sisters.
We sit and we share all of the feelings without judgment, without hesitation. Women’s circles and friendships offer us a safe space to continue breaking down the barriers. Our sisters are not only shoulders to cry on but they are also our sponges. They help absorb and feel everything that we feel, offering us different perspectives and solutions to ease our frazzled hearts.
So one last time, why yoga and sisterhood?
Just as in yoga - where we need adjustments and aid while moving our bodies into deeper bends or softer holds - in life, we need this same support, this same cushion and helping hand to assist in guiding us as we navigate through all the wildness of life.
This is the reason why I am so in love with Solosolmovement; the entire brand is founded on the concept of sisterhood and yoga. Trina and Char provide fashion for every woman of every size, every shape and personality from all over the world.
They are inclusive to the needs of every woman and are inspiring us all by showing that by offering support to one another we can truly make a difference in whatever aspect of this life we so desire.
I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to not only work with their brand but also to have them as friends!
Last week I had the privilege of taking a tour around the factory in Bali where Solosol Movement creates and manufactures their clothing line. Located in complete paradise, it makes sense why most of the prints that Trina and Char create emulate the environment.
Arriving at the factory I was greeted by Yuli, the manager who wore a bright smile on her face as she welcomed me inside. I was shown to the meeting room and chatted with her while we waited for Reina who is the niece of the factory’s owner. Once Reina arrived, we began what I thought would be something like an interview but which turned out to be more like an engaging two hour conversation about fashion, life, yoga, pilates and of course Solosol! I found out that Yuli has been a part of this factory for sixteen years. Reina came on board a few months back to take over the other managing position while her aunt is away for travel. I was so excited to hear about how much of a family run facility it appeared to be and it truly was such a delight getting to know these women. From them I was given a unique insight into the world of fashion production.
After we chatted and the employees came back from lunch break I was shown around the factory. It opened its doors in 1993. The facility is 900 square meters but with plans to expand within the next year to keep up with demand. There is a total of 41 employees including the managing staff. It is a female dominated work environment - the employment ratio is roughly 80% female and 20% male. When I asked Reina why that is she told me that in Indonesia there is actually a higher percentage of females to males.
I began asking her more in-depth questions about the employees and her responses to questions made me really happy to hear. They are an equal employment opportunity run facility with employees of various backgrounds and currently have two people there with disabilities who had no experience prior to working there in fashion, but were given proper training and are now flourishing in their work. After hearing that, it came as no surprise to me why there are some employees that have been there as long as 20 years! Every person who is hired is able to choose which station or machine they wish to work on and then trained accordingly.
Their work hours are from 8am to 4pm six days a week with an option to work the seventh day. I asked if a lot of employees chose to work the overtime and she said yes because they are paid and compensated appropriately for their extra time and dedication to the company. Reina said that by providing choice in stations and offering fair pay, it inspires longevity for every employee and creates a more family like atmosphere within the factory life.
As I walked around the factory most of the women were laughing and chatting with one another while creating the products. It was awesome to see such a lively atmosphere within the building. When I pictured fashion production facilities I never quite imagined what I was shown at their factory. All employees there seemed really happy and enjoying what they were doing. It was really heartwarming to experience. I could see why Trina and Char chose this place to create and manufacture their line of clothing.
I asked Reina why they like working with Solosol Movement and both she and Yuli smiled stating that both Trina and Char are understanding, nice and awesome with communication. Reina went on to further say that it is fun to work with Solosol because she shares a similar taste in design and print style for active wear. I asked if there were any complications in working with companies outside of Indonesia and she said there aren’t many issues if any. Trina is amazing at communication and both women have a quick and efficient response time which makes the production run quite smoothly. The women also enjoy getting once a year visits from Trina and Char while they come to QC their current clothing line and also design samples for new upcoming lines.
To create an entire line of clothing for Solosol it takes three machines, three different workers and a quality control team (which is usually Yuli and Reina) overseeing each station as each piece is manufactured. It takes one week to make a sample for a new article of clothing and once the fabrics and design are ready to go it takes roughly thirty to ninety days to get all the pieces boxed up and shipped out!
I continued touring the factory for about an hour and as I left I was really stoked to write this article. I am so happy that I was able to visit their factory and meet all the women there. It is inspiring to see Trina and Char’s designs come to life in such a great work environment. It’s no wonder why I always feel so loved when wearing their clothing. It is created in a place full of happy people.
I always knew Solosol Movement was special but it really made me smile to see how much care and thought went into choosing such a lovely place to create their clothing. I am so proud to be a part of the Solosol Movement and work with really lovely humans who are impacting the fashion world in a positive way by being mindful about where and who produces their clothing.
There are so many amazing women out there that inspire us. Monette Moio is one of them. We adore her so much, we named our new bikini top after her. The Moyo Top! She spells her last name, Moio but the pronunciation is the same. We spelled it Moyo because we manufacture in Bali and Moyo is a Indonesian/Bahasa word.
A little about her: She was born and raised in Los Angeles. Being an LA native, she always finds time to go to the beach which is her favorite place to free her mind + let go. She's a firm believer that life is all about balance. She balances acting, improv, singing, baking and staying active. You can find her performing in shows at Second City, doing yoga with her favorite instructors at Equinox and on her YouTube channel 'Sweet Eats'
Why We Love her:
Not only is she multitalented, with a gorgeous voice and a captivating personality, she is also drop dead gorgeous and super sweet! It's impossible not to love her!
Find her, follow her, connect with her:
All photos wearing the Moyo Top and Aloha Bottom in Mamba & Paradise Print
Did you know that SolosolMovement donates $1 from every purchase to a no kill animal rescue center in Bali? I discovered BARC through my partnership with SolosolMovement and I knew that a portion of the proceeds went directly to a nonprofit that aids in animal rescue but after stepping into BARC I truly realized what an impact every purchase with Solosol makes.
Considering that BARC is essentially run by all volunteers - except for the dog whisperer - and a few other local Balinese on staff this place only stands because of donations and volunteer dedication.
Last Monday I had the pleasure of spending my afternoon at BARC in Ubud. BARC is a no kill dog rescue center that currently houses 350 dogs ranging in age with many more waiting for a spot in one of the clinics. The dogs that are taken in are mostly found malnourished and living in horrid conditions. BARC is run solely on donations with seven locations around Bali. In Ubud they have a clinic and adoption center which is where I spent my time touring around and playing with the pups!
At the clinic there are fifty dogs. I counted at least seven that suffered from skin diseases. I asked BARC’s resident dog whisperer if this was common and what primarily causes these issues. He said that they find a lot of dogs like this and it happens from mistreatment of the animals. They give each of these dogs medicine once a week to treat the skin disease and over the course of three months, their hair slowly returns and their skin stops itching. It really saddened me to see so many of them in pain over something caused by humans. You always hear the phrase “Dogs are a man’s best friend” but here in Bali, I guess this is not the case.
It takes so little to provide these dogs with the medicine and care they need. For example, simply the purchase of seven yoga pants can provide skin care medication for a dog to be treated!
Along with providing medicine, the clinic is where they make all the food for the animals every day. They eat a mixture of rice, squash and chicken which is homemade in the small outdoor kitchen by one woman. The dogs each get their own bowl and the bowls are portioned out by size of the dog. They do this so that each dog gets a fair share of a meal!
The dogs at the clinic seemed really happy with their play area. They have plenty of room to run around on the grass and hang out in a large courtyard area. All of the dogs here have already been vaccinated and sterilized so they are ready for adoption with the exception of two puppies who are in a separate room waiting for their vaccinations.
The dogs are so sweet and loving and are just begging to be taken home and loved on. Sadly however, since most new owners are looking for puppies so many of these dogs have lived in the clinic for months and months and sadly, might never leave.
The adoption process at BARC is fairly easy, especially since there are so many dogs that are on a waiting list to come into the shelter. There is no adoption fee and all dogs are vaccinated and sterilized for you beforehand.
Like most things at BARC, the sterilization and vaccination is done on a volunteer basis. They have a Veterinarian who comes in on Mondays to perform the procedures and since I visited on Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to watch!
The procedure is quick, roughly twenty-five minutes total including the time for the dogs to fall asleep after the anesthesia is administered.
BARC also offers their services to other dogs and dog owners in the area each Monday. There were a few other dogs with their owners waiting their turn for vaccines.
I was so inspired by Lana, the woman who volunteers each day for multiple hours a day to help facilitate everything at BARC.
The staff is very kind and they all LOVE the dogs. It was warming to see that the dogs taken in are so well fed and receive the kindness and attention they deserve.
I feel blessed to have been able to educate myself and spend an afternoon with Lana, the dog whisperer and the dogs. It was truly an eye opening experience and I can’t wait to return.
How can we make a difference?
We donate, we educate ourselves and take the time to see where our money is actually going!
Want to check out more information on BARC? Please go to their website www.barc4balidogs.org.au
There is a saying we learned on our first visit to Bali, “Tough as a Bali Dog”. Every time we visit, it is reaffirmed that this is True! On the beautiful, picturesque island of the Gods, things aren't always perfect and beautiful. We have witnessed the rough conditions of the street dogs: starving, dehydrated, covered in awful skin rashes, suffering from wounds and neglect. The environment doesn't always help either with hot & humid weather, no access to clean water, and a society that is not completely educated on how to treat and prevent common health conditions. We are animal lovers; first we observed the issues, then we cried for the suffering, then we decided to take action! Since we manufacture our clothing in Bali, using the talent and resources of the locals, we believe it is our obligation to give something back.
We quickly discovered BARC, Bali Dog Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre which is not your typical shelter that just rescues, cages, and attempts to adopt. BARC does so much more! Injured and sick animals are brought to the center to be healed, rehabilitated and adopted. BARC also does sterilization days where they spay and neuter street dogs and cats to control rampant overpopulations. Our favorite outreach that BARC does is education. They travel to schools to educate the next generations about caring for animals and to debunk common misconceptions about street dogs including the belief that all Bali dogs have rabies and that skin conditions are not treatable. BARC often has to speak up against the local government to prevent elimination days, where they euthanize any dog they see without a collar. Horrific pictures surface afterwards showing the results, dead dogs line the streets. Some family pets often get caught in the elimination days as well.
On our most recent travels to Bali, we made another special trip to Ubud to see the adoption center and clinic. The employees and volunteers are friendly and offer tours of the facility where you can pet and play with any animal. The shelter is open space, indoor and outdoor, where all animals can run free and eat freely. Animals are not caged! Some animals are kept separate for their own benefit. For instance, a dog who lost both of his eyes, feels more comfortable in a fenced area by himself.
We saw a puppy with a smashed paw hopping and playing. Even though his leg will soon be amputated, his wagging tail proved that he was a happy puppy. We saw a fluffy dog that had been hit by a car. Her hind end was smashed and her hips badly injured, but now fully healed, she hobbled over so we could pet her. A cat saw us enter, and jumped up howling meows at us until we stopped to pet her. The overall joy and sweetness of the animals at the adoption lights up our hearts! You can’t help but smile when you see the small puppy barking and trying to play with the cats and ducks… yes ducks are rescued animals too!
At the clinic, there are happy stories that include recovery and adoption are there are sad stories. When we entered, one of the sweetest dogs we have ever met approaches. His skin severely damaged by skin disease so bad that he has no hair left. His skin was thick, black, callused, and wet with oil the doctors prescribed and volunteers applied. At first, we were too afraid to pet him, thinking it would hurt his delicate skin. But he plopped down between us, and let us pet his sweet face. Did this dog once belong to someone? It hurts my heart to think that once this dog got sick, it is likely that his owner turned him out on the street, not wanting nor knowing how to help im. Another dog in the clinic may be a forever member. Some serious accident crushed his body requiring the amputation of both hind legs and caused a misshaped spine. This same dog was here 1.5 years ago during our first visit. But now you can see the improvement in the dog’s demeanor, with more trust of humans. It’s amazing to see how this dog gets around with the strength of his front body and determination!
We could go on and on about the stories of these tough little dogs, amazing rescues, dogs seemingly on their deathbeds rehabilitated and now full of life and energy. This is why we donate a portion of proceeds from each sale to BARC. It is our dream to see these animals in the hands of an island that is educated about and cares for them. An island not full of starving stays on the streets, but full of beloved pets, cared for, loved, sterilized, and happy! So we left BARC with our big bag of BARC swag. Feeling excited for the work they are doing. Feeling optimistic about what improvements we will see for the Bali dog during our next visit
Charlene & Trina