In a form of exercise most popular with women, Chris McBain is pleased to see Edmonton men on yoga mats, baring all.
Starting January 9, McBain will teach a weekly men’s only naked yoga class at Shanti Yoga Studio in Edmonton.
The yoga instructor started teaching naked yoga last January and is expecting 10 men, ranging in age from 20 to 65, to attend this winter’s eight-week evening course.
“Yoga, at least in the West, is dominated by women. …What’s great is that this tends to inspire men to come out a lot more,” said McBain, who also goes by the moniker ‘the naked yogi.’
McBain believes he’s the only naked yoga teacher in Alberta and one of only a few in Canada.
“There is one naked yoga studio in Vancouver I believe…and there is one in Toronto and that’s it,” he said.
While McBain described naked yoga as both natural and beautiful, he admitted there’s a hesitation that comes with stripping down.
“A lot of people come to yoga class and think, ‘oh I’m not really going to know what to do,’” McBain said.
“In this case they’re thinking that and they’re also thinking, ‘oh my god, I have to be naked.’ There’s a little bit of an extra challenge there.”
McBain said the gender-segregated class tends to ease comfort levels, as does sharing his own experience.
“It tends to (ease) their fears when I say, “Imagine being naked in front of everyone,’” he said.
And, once men try a naked yoga class, they’re drawn back by a host of benefits including increased confidence, and lessons of body image and self-love.
“In a lot of ways, it’s exactly the same as any other yoga class – except it’s nude,” McBain said.