What really happens during a co-ed naked yoga class

Naked Yoga

(Photo: Mylifemyculture.com)


When Bold & Naked Yoga launched New York’s first co-ed naked yoga classes late last year, it created lots of buzz (and yoga-pant gratitude) among yogis, as they pictured themselves, and classmates, in overexposed happy baby pose.

Me? I was just curious. I’d only been naked in public once at a nude beach with my boyfriend, but we had a good time. So, I asked him to be my date (since being naked among men without him just seemed a little unfair), and he enthusiastically agreed.

After trying out the women-only class as a warm-up, we showed up for co-ed naked yoga on a Sunday afternoon.

The Chelsea studio feels like a hip speakeasy, with leather seating for hanging out, clothed, before and after class. You can get naked behind changing screens, stash your clothes in the cubbies, and grab a tiny towel that will help you as you tentatively tiptoe into the studio and roll out your mat. (Note: it takes two hands.)

Co-owner Monika Werner directed us inside the actual studio, which was filled with bright, natural light. My boyfriend conveniently decided he needed to use the bathroom at that moment, and I hesitated at the door. But just then a woman removed her last article of clothing, headed in, and plopped down on her mat. So I tried to follow suit (or suitless), and, in the buff, went in, closed my eyes, and sat breathing in cross-legged position until my boyfriend set up next to me.

As we started our flow, I realized two men were behind me and I started to observe them closely, making guesses about their sexuality. Were they moving slowly so they could look at me in downward dog, or were they just struggling to keep up with the sequence? I could see penises. They could see my, well, everything. Eventually, I just had to let it go. I couldn’t keep an eye on them and keep myself from falling over in half moon, I told myself.

Werner was no-nonsense and nonchalant, and led us through a challenging vinyasa sequence that moved so fast I almost forgot I was baring all. And she made no concessions to our lack of coverage. We did split-legged squats, shoulder stand, crow pose, and, yes, happy baby. With students’ permission, she also performed hands-on adjustments.

My boobs, surprisingly, didn’t get in the way at all, but I did miss my underwear. I even sleep with it on, so it was a matter of physical comfort, not embarrassment, which had me dreaming of cotton skivvies.

In the end, though, Werner and the studio’s atmosphere really did create a safe, non-judgmental environment. And I walked out feeling like a hippie badass.

Afterward, I asked my boyfriend what he thought about the whole thing. He liked it, and he told me he hadn’t had dirty thoughts during class, until he looked over and saw me in a backbend towards the end. I mean, that’s perfectly fine for him, but it did give me pause. —Alden Wicker

Private location in Chelsea, $30 for the first class, $25 after, www.boldnaked.com


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11 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. February 26th, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Honestly I think your awesome!! I don’t think I would have had the balls to participate in naked yoga, but I think it’s amazing that you did and I loved this story! I normally don’t read to marry of the articles when I’m surfing but yours grabbed me and didn’t let go till the end. Thanks for the great read, your writing made me feel as if I was in the room, and isn’t that the point, well it’s my goal when I read and you executed it flawlessly.

  2. February 27th, 2014 at 1:55 am

    Personally, I have done naked yoga too and it is very enjoyable. So, ladies, please leave your inhibitions behind and join the fun! To be naked amongst others and accepting of your body is very liberating & very empowering!

  3. February 27th, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    I took the coed class and it was just as Alden described. A nice fast paced vinyasa class with a knowledgeable teacher. I don’t understand the bit about covering yourself with the towel but whatever makes you comfortable, I undressed at the cubies and then walked into the studio. If you’re reading this thanks again for a great class Monica!

  4. Gabby @ Fitness Trainer Toronto
    March 2nd, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    Wow! Good for you for trying this out. It takes a lot of courage and I admire you for that.

  5. March 4th, 2014 at 8:17 am

    Wow !! Don’t know if I would dare doing that !! Not sure it would really bring me any better feeling than ‘dressed’ yoga… We don’t have that in France anyway ;-)

  6. Isis Phoenix
    December 12th, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Hi! Thanks for writing a beautiful and fun article about your experience.

    I wanted to let you know, however, that you cite Bold and Naked Yoga as offering NYC’s first co-ed nude yoga class which is not true. There have been co-ed classes in NYC for years and a long history of teachers that offer it myself included as well as Cindee Rifkin, Zen Holmes of Zensuality, Britt McMurray and Wendy Tremaine. One Taste in NY also offered Naked Yoga for a short time. For a full listing of NYC’s current naked yoga classes as well as those in other states you can check out nakedyogaalliance.com

    All the best in your downward dogs :-)

  7. December 13th, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Thank you.,ISIS for sharing the article about that woman’s first time in that Naked Yoga’s class.the first I did Naked Yoga was during a March 2010 Travasuns Pool Party where one of former students Cindee was teaching (she was also brand new to nude recreation at the time) .It was a different experience doing it (not just doing yoga naked – but yoga in general ).I’ll admit that it may NOT be for everyone – but its a lot a fun.I still hope for that one day when I work with you on this Until then,all the best-Especially for those in that downward facing dog position right now :).

  8. December 22nd, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    You sound so coy and prudish, I marvel that you tried this!

  9. February 27th, 2015 at 2:52 am

    Only in America is something like “naked yoga” a big deal! This country has really become way too full of nothing but useless, ignorant, shallow, self absorbed, self entitled, senseless, politically correct, repressed, look at me, sissy wannabees who think way too much of themselves and wonder exactly why the rest of the world hates us! And, for what it’s worth, I really wish the spoiled preppie nerds would quit referring to themselves as “Hip”, “Hipsters” or “New Age Hippies” when it IS the LAST thing they really are! It’s just to damn pathetic! The REAL Hippies who NEVER had any problem getting naked anywhere or at anytime around ANYONE all died out in the 1970’s, or became the corporate yuppies of the 80’s and 90’s who ruined the place! Though I highly DOUBT This would ever get past the sensors who obviously only allow the ass-kissing commenters to post here! lol

  10. December 24th, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    It is a natural way to realise one ‘s true self.

  11. December 31st, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Wow, Maggie. You seem really tense and uptight. I suggest yoga.

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