When it comes to teaching yoga, Denver studios know how to mix it up. Local breweries hold monthly yoga classes complete with complimentary post-session libations. Students can downward dog to upbeat tunes at classes like “Namas-Bey” and “Rihann-Asana” guided by Kady Lafferty of Big Booty Yoga. Even 420 enthusiasts can find their inner peace with pot-friendly yoga classes. But for those who want to truly lay it on the mat – bare butt and all – there's now nude yoga at Release Studio.
Known for pushing boundaries, Release Studio, in the Art District on Santa Fe, offers everything from introductory and advanced levels of yoga to Dope Yoga (dopamine, that is) accompanied by DJs. Even sexy workout time is on the roster, which includes pole dancing and burlesque classes.
Still, when the idea of nude yoga came about, even co-owner and founder Ashley Kelly, known as Yogi Roo, took a moment to pause.
“A good friend of mine suggested that we do naked yoga,” Roo explains. “Although we are somewhat of an edgier studio, I didn’t want to introduce this class as a cheap marketing ploy. I wanted to do it right.”
Soon Roo saw the benefit of hosting naked yoga for women as a way to explore self-acceptance.
“I have body issues, too,” admits Roo. "It's so common. But I thought about how powerful it could be to practice in such a vulnerable state. Women live in a world of impossible standards and unwanted attention and competition. The goal is to hold a safe space for us learn to fully love and accept our bodies, to learn to fully accept ourselves.”
The hour-long class starts in a softly lit room, clothing on, focusing on breath and movement. Then Roo guides patrons through disrobing while she gradually turns up the lights. The class finishes with the lights fully on, ending in a final savasana in the nude. Roo notes there can be nervous tension in the room, but when all is said and done, patrons relax.
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“It is normal to feel a little bit fearful, but I’m not a serious person," she says. "A lot of that shines through the class. It's just a fun class.”
While Roo says a co-ed class in the buff isn’t out of the realm of possibility, the current offering focuses on building a safe environment for women to practice “something uncomfortable comfortably.”
Roo offers this bit of advice to first-timers: “Come with an open heart, open mind, and comfortable clothes that we can take off easily. Wear something cozy.”
The next nude yoga classes will be offered January 7 and 21 at Release Studio, 1201 Santa Fe Drive. For a full roster of classes and more information, visit Release Studio online.