People are doing “Salutes to the Sun” and “Downward Dogs” naked, in hothouses and by the beach.
Roughly half a million people across Australia practiced yoga in the last year. In Sydney, the five-millennium-old exercise regime has boomed since 2000.
Everyone from school kids to the elderly is getting into the groove. Yoga has moved into workplaces, community centers and schools — even some jails are offering it to their inmates.
Whether to treat stress, back pain or get close to god — as old hippies would say — it’s happening, man.
Male-only naked yoga rolled out Sydney mats in May 2005.
“A group of naturists were looking for yoga classes which combined their love of getting around without clothes on and wanting to do yoga,” says Naked Yoga Sydney founder, Steve (who asked not to be named in full).
While these bends and stretches are popular with the gay community, Steve insists there is nothing sexual about it.
“If they think this is some sort of ‘laugh and tickle’ they’ve got the wrong idea,” he says. “It’s serious yoga done without clothes on.”
“When you’re doing yoga with nothing on there’s not much to hide behind and that really opens people up mentally and spiritually.”
Class numbers have grown steadily since the studio opened: now about 20 people attend the four classes offered each week.
“Some men, when they go along to a regular class and see a woman beside them taking their leg up over their head — because they’re hips are really flexible — might feel inadequate,” says Steve. “When they come to this class they feel more at home.”