While seemingly erotic positions abound in yoga (Downward Facing Dog), nowhere is the penis more prominent than in Bob Sparling’s male naked yoga class.
But don’t get the wrong idea: the class, which meets three times a week with about fifteen unbridled individuals, is not meant to be sexual. “It’s about yoga that happens to be naked more than about naked yoga,” says participant Daniel K. O’Neil, dismissing stereotypes of the class as a gay cruising center.
In order to ensure a comfortable atmosphere in the class, Sparling screens phone calls and interviews prospective students, weeding out the voyeurs from the earnest exercisers. Those who make the cut are encouraged, but not forced, to go full-frontal for the first class.
Not that anyone’s complaining.
“Clothes feel restrictive for exercise that involves so much stretching and twisting,” writes Robert B. Dimmick in an e—mail.
That’s not to say that the class is free from the inevitable balls to the mirror-lined wall awkwardness: “If I feel drawn to look at a particular man, I might notice that and feel self-conscious about that urge,” Stewart J. Landers writes in an e—mail.
The class, which Sparling says was conceived during a “gay naturist gathering” has had some straight members in the past but is admittedly gay-dominant. “I like men’s bodies and enjoy being among them when I do yoga,” Landers writes.
Intimidated? Don’t be: the class is incredibly supportive. “We recognize that it takes courage to come in here and try. We won’t laugh at you for having trouble,” reads the note to newbies.
So, drop your pants and your social norms. As nude yogi Wayne E. puts it, “You live in your body. Why not enjoy it and see what it can do all by itself and not... wrapped up and covered?”
- Charles R. Melvoin assisted in the research for this story. By going to yoga. Nekked.