All-Male Naked Yoga Expands Classes to Include Women
CHELSEA — Women can finally say "Namaste" in the nude.
A yoga studio in Chelsea that's long specialized in naked yoga for men is opening its doors to a broader group, with new women-only classes plus nude sessions for coed groups and seniors.
Le Male Yoga on West 23rd Street has renamed itself Bold & Naked Yoga and will offer the new classes starting in January. The studio hopes to open up its unique form of stretching and posing in the buff to a wider audience.
The owner of the studio said naked yoga helps participants feel comfortable in their own skin and builds confidence.
"We're all curious, we want to connect, female and male," said Joschi Schwarz, the owner of the sans-clothes spot.
The women-only classes, which will be led by instructor Monika Werner, will be structured differently from the all-male ones.
"We work a little more in emotional psychologies, to really help women to feel good about themselves," said Schwarz, whose celebrity clients for private, non-naked yoga include Emma Stone and Tyra Banks.
"It's a different way of thinking in yoga land."
Schwarz added that he hopes the over-55 naked classes will help "connect a generation" of older men.
Even with the addition of sweaty coed classes, Schwarz said the studio's focus is not on sexuality.
"I know sexuality is always in people's minds and I have a feeling that a lot of people don’t know that yoga has nothing to do with sex at all — it has to do with sensuality, there’s nothing wrong with that," Schwarz said.
Schwarz is even more adamant in a question-and-answer section on Bold & Naked's website.
"If you are looking for an orgasm, you are in the wrong place," he wrote on the site.
The naked sessions cost $19 a class and $145 for a month of unlimited clothes-free stretching and bending. Private sessions are $125 each.
In the three years since offering naked yoga, it's grown in popularity, particularly among Chelsea's gay population. Schwarz said he hopes the coed and older men classes will become equally popular.
"Being naked created a community — and this community is different," he said. "When you get rid of the clothes, you get rid of the labels — and that's a beautiful thing."