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!