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Hot yoga news: Naked NY studio wows the media

March 16, 2012
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One of the duties I’ve assigned myself as part of running this blog is monitoring yoga in the news.

I tried to assign it to Bobbie, but she invoked her “I’m not your slave” card. Since I am both my own master and slave (internal asana… think about it), I’ve been dutifully fulfilling the job.

Naked Space owner Michael Gates, via the New York Daily News

Nowadays, since we refocused ourselves to begin the year much more exclusively on Ashtanga, this usually means scanning the headlines and making sure nothing huge is happening out there that you ought to know (i.e. are there any maddening New York Times stories today?). There are lots of celebrity stories about this actor or that doing yoga to prepare for a movie or get in shape after a pregnancy. There are local stories about yoga studios opening up. (You’d think at this point, that wouldn’t be news any more, unless it was something like: “1,000th yoga shala opens in Downtown Santa Monica.”)

Occasionally, though, maybe two or three times a month, a story gets some traction. By that I mean it gets picked up by handfuls of media, a main AP story gets run in a bunch of papers — sort of the old school version of something going viral.

The asana championships from the beginning of the month was one. Russell Brand’s finding a new girlfriend was another.

At some point, these stories reach such a critical media mass that I feel the need to post about it for a specific reason: It seems like the story might have gotten “out there” enough that some acquaintance of yours who knows you do yoga, but not much beyond that, will say to you, “Hey, did you see such and such?”

I wouldn’t want you to have to plead ignorance. After all, all this yoga is supposed to be enlightening us up, right?

This week, one story seems to have risen to this level. There’s been dozens of stories, from the HuffPost to Gawker to the New York Daily News, about it.

You just knew it had to involve naked yoga, right?

It comes to us from New York. “Naked Space” yoga apparently has re-opened after a hiatus (originally it opened in 2006, which makes you think a rash of stories about its reappearance might be overkill). From the Daily News, complete with punning lede:

A Brooklyn yoga instructor is taking his male students in a nude direction.

Every Tuesday night, Michael Gates teaches naked yoga to a small men-only class class in a secret South Park Slope location.

“Our clothes are costumes and armor,” said Gates, 44. “Naked yoga is an interesting metaphor for letting go of the B.S.”

Since opening his “Naked Space” studio in 2006, Gates has seen it all: From men who strip out of their cloths in an instant, to guys who wouldn’t dare tell their wives their weekly yoga class is with nude dudes.

“There are guys who are afraid to tell their wives because they think she’ll leave him,” said Gates. “I mean, she knows he’s taking yoga classes with a group of guys, but suddenly he’s naked and it’s a big deal.”

For just $20, about six guys usually show up to shed their worries, anxieties, and clothing for a 90-minute intermediate yoga session in Gates’ simple studio. Private sessions cost $100.

Gates has his reasons for stripping his students down, and he emphasizes that it isn’t about sex. It’s about alignment. He can better see the students. Hard to argue with that.

I feel obliged to provide the curious with a link to his site. I suppose it is slightly NSFW.

OK, so now you are fully informed of the big yoga news story of the week as you prepare for your weekend socializing. I do feel compelled to ask if anyone has ever tried yoga in the buff, and if so, what were your impressions?

Posted by Steve

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