Growing number of Edmonton men practicing naked yoga
Published Monday, January 21, 2013 5:40PM MST Last Updated Monday, January 21, 2013 6:42PM MST
The idea of working out naked may have many feeling uncomfortable, but there’s a growing number of men in Edmonton who are signing up to take it all off.
Naked yoga instructor Chris McBain says the mens-only class offered at Shanti Yoga Studios in downtown Edmonton is the only class of its kind in the city, and one of only a few offered in Canada.
"It's been a while since I've actually done yoga clothed,” McBain said.
“Now it’s only been naked, exclusively.”
McBain first began teaching naked yoga to a naturist group before creating the class he teaches today.
“I think the draw is, it’s facing a challenge, it’s rising to the occasion and moving through fear. Once you’ve accepted a challenge and conquered it, it kind of brings you to a new plateau of being,” he said.
“For some it’s about naturalism and just being nude and for other people it’s just a bucket list endeavour.”
Jordan Kelly is new to naked yoga. He’s typically clothed when he practices yoga, but says baring it all helps push his mental boundaries.
"I found you can't even think about it, you just have to come in, put your mat down, and just start,” Kelly said.
"To just really be able to let go of that last barrier and protection and that last part of ego and just be fully me concentrate on myself."
Adam Morison has been taking the class since it started and says there are clear advantages to doing yoga poses nude.
"It’s much more free,” Morison said. “I find poses are easier to correct, you can see the lines there's no clothing in the way.”
“I just found that something like naked yoga where I could see all the muscles and make corrections that way, and really be able to let go of that last barrier of protection and that ego, and be fully me, really drew me,” Kelly said.
McBain says the naked aspect of the yoga class is not sexual, rather, it’s meant to be freeing.
“People are getting back to their natural state. Yoga for me was always about body, love revolution, coming to accept my body the way it was and I think men and women both need that desperately in our society,” he said.
Morison says taking part in naked yoga is helping him become more comfortable with his own skin.
"I'm a little overweight, working on it, but I’m here,” he said. “There's all different body types different ages.”
The class’ participants range from 20-year-old students to 65-year-old retirees.
McBain says there are doctors and lawyers and everyone in between.
He says he’s shocked at how successful it’s been over the year.
"It keeps drawing people, over and over, every class is always full."
“I’m really still flabbergasted by the experience.”
Women are not allowed in the class, and McBain says he doesn’t plan on starting a class for women because he believes it’s more comfortable if your instructor is the same gender.
He believes naked yoga is here to stay, and expects the practice to grow even bigger and better as more people express interest.
“I think a lot of women are starting to ask about it and starting to ask about co-ed classes. There’s all kinds of interest.”
With files from Laura Lowe