Naked Global Warming (Hot Nude Yoga!)
Yoga is all about relaxation, breathing, and letting go. What could be more relaxing than stretching and meditating in a beautiful tropical paradise- in the buff? The Hot Nude Yoga retreats, held at exotic locales across the globe, offer men the opportunity to explore the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga, freed from the constraints of both clothing and their everyday lives.
While nudist colonies are nothing new, HNY founder Aaron Star has expanded on that uninhibited sensibility with yogic study and meditation, practiced by a select group of adventurous, sensually aware travelers. Retreats are scheduled throughout the year in sultry destinations including Costa Rica, Hawaii, and India; location is key. "I look for places that have a warm climate, preferably tropical" says Star, "that also help to create an environment for yoga". Tranquility is an essential element; "Fire Island in the summer is a great locale for Hot Nude Yoga', Star explains, "but the party atmosphere does not make it great for a retreat".
Star and his team of fit and handsome instructors guide the birthday suited participants in yoga sessions that embrace many styles, from Ashtanga to Tantric, meditations, and special interactive workshops such as 'The Art of Touch.' Warmed by the sun, muscles relax and stretch, as balmy breezes caress bare skin. It's a sensual experience, and the environment can have a decidedly erotic charge to it.
"Clearly if any friendships develop, and there is mutual physical attraction, then erotic situations might develop' says 'Paul,' a London based MD who went on the Costa Rican retreat last winter. "But that can happen on any holiday, or might not happen at all. Partner yoga can be very sensual, being able to give and receive touch, in a similar way as a massage can be. It is not necessarily erotic. Maybe some of the couples attending might have a different take on partner work. Or maybe I need the right partner to practice on!"
"I find that some people come to the retreats with that sexual vibe" says Star, "or at least they come with that vibe and then it turns into something else. Honestly, I think on the first, and even some of the second day, there is a lot of checking out, scoping, etc. Even the most "enlightened" individuals do this. But by the end of the second day, into the third day, this dissipates and turns into something else. I think that it is natural to feel really excited when you first come into a new group. But then that excitement becomes a little more grounded, and people are able to connect more deeply and sincerely."
Apparently, it can be a challenge to sustain that 'hot and flirty' feeling with a sweaty, naked stranger doing the 'down dog' pose inches from your face. But there is no shortage of curious globetrotters ready to give it a try. The HNY retreats have seen increasing numbers, due in part to the HNY 'Coming Out in Hawaii' DVD set. The DVDs serve as both an instructional exercise tool, and as a primer on being comfortable in one's own skin amongst other bare-assed bendy boys. The essence of the exotic retreats is captured in the set's 4 discs, including 'Afternoon Delight', and 'Sunrise in Hawaii'. Morning meditations and 'Sun Salutation' sessions are an integral part of the Hot Nude Yoga Retreat experience; viewers can observe and emulate the nude yoga participants in the comfort and privacy of their living room. Nothing however, can compare to experiencing this uniquely sensual sabbatical 'in the flesh.'
Daniel, a 40 year old yoga nudie from Atlanta says 'You really jump start your practice by letting go of some major barriers, i.e. your clothes. It's interesting to me how by doing this I'm able to let go of a lot of other distractions that may be consuming my mind in those particular moments."
Daniel has been practicing yoga for 3 years, and recalls his first nude yoga session fondly. "The instructor had us remove our clothes slowly as the practice progressed' he says, "helping us to become aware of the different sensations of moving with and without clothes. I felt like the dream where you're suddenly walking through the supermarket without any clothes, except this time there was no feeling of guilt; it was actually comforting "Adds 'Dr. Paul', "A yoga retreat is the perfect format to immerse yourself; it forces you to give up time and apply yourself, without distractions. And as much as I enjoy a beach and doing nothing - I find it difficult to do nothing but lie on one the whole day, let alone 7 of them!"
Nature is of course an integral aspect of the HNY retreats; being surrounded by the lush, often untamed atmosphere allows these unclothed hotties to connect with and experience their own place in the natural world. Extracurricular activities on the retreats take full advantage of Mother Nature's finest thrill rides. Meditated and limber, the naked jungle boys are can partake in a varied roster of activities au naturel. Daniel from Atlanta says he enjoys 'Nude surfing, hiking, and swimming' Adds Star, "In Hawaii, we do volcano, waterfall and hiking excursions. In Costa Rica (next retreat on Feb 16- hurry, space is limited!), we offer river treks, tree climbing, dolphin experiences and more. The one thing I have never heard from a student in 5 years is that "I was bored at Hot Nude Yoga."
One obvious advantage of partaking in a week long yogic vacation is the ability to focus on different aspects of the practice without the constraint of fitting it into a one hour session. "In a class,' explains Star, 'we cover many aspects of yoga. Partnering, Hatha, the postures, meditation, ideas of ritual, having fun. But we can only experience them for a short moment, where as in a retreat, we can fully experience a proper meditation."
Of course most guys, metaphysically engaged or not, will also come for the lean and limber physiques that yoga can offer. "Even if you are not into the spiritual aspects of yoga, stretching your body will give you more vitality and help you stay mobile in your life' Star says. "The sooner you start, the easier it will be. Plus, you get to have a yoga butt!"
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