I stood outside the building, bundled in my winter coat. I clutched my new yoga mat, still in its plastic, deciding whether I’d actually go inside. Trying anything for the first time can be nerve wrecking. Trying something new without clothes on seemed ridiculous.
My mind raced. What if all the other guys were in amazing shape? Or what if they were just creeps getting their rocks off?
Months earlier, I considered myself a fitness enthusiast. After years of lifting weights, I finally felt in shape. But things started feeling wonky inside my body – a simple bicep curl would shoot of agony into my shoulder blades.
A trainer suggested yoga to correct the problem. I didn’t want that; I only wanted to do things that would give me bulging muscles. Nonetheless, by the end of a holiday season my body felt so painfully disjointed that the trainer’s suggestion seemed a perfect New Year’s resolution.
While searching yoga classes online, I came across a listing for “Denver Nude Yoga.” I immediately clicked the link hoping my dirty mind could get a quick fix – instead, it was intrigued. The website made it clear the class was non-sexual, and I began thinking about my fear of being naked in front of others. This could also be another New Year’s resolution. It would be like killing two birds with one stone; two flexible, naked, birds.
As I bit the bullet and walked into the studio, my questionable assumptions were terminated. Guys of all shapes, sizes, and ages were there. With our clothes still on, introductions turned into conversations and conversations turned into laughter.
“This must be really exciting for you,” one guy said. He clearly could tell I was nervous. “Think about it. When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
I had no answer. He was right. I couldn’t remember any time in my adult life when I had done something courageously exciting and new.
When the class began, I didn’t want to take my clothes off – what if my manhood shriveled up? Even though the room was warm, I was certain my boys weren’t happy about the weather outside. Or what if I got a boner? I was still at that age when hard-on happened without control.
I stripped down anyway. Completely bare, I tried my hardest to follow instructions while imitating other students. By the end of class, I was certain that I would be asked to not return, due to my lack of skill and incessant erection. But the teacher and classmates applauded my efforts at being a yogi – rather than writing me off, they wrote off the anatomical action going on below my waist.
I left unsure about how much I liked yoga – but the nudity kept me titillated.
After only a month, the odd pains from weight lifting went away and my penis started learning to behave. The more I practiced yoga, the more I fell in love. It didn’t matter how good or bad I was, because, according to yoga’s philosophy, it always meant that I was simply right where I needed to be.
Removing judgment about my practice also kept me coming back to practice removing any judgment about my body. Being exposed around the guys felt communal and sensual rather than sexual, and eventually I became a regular who cheered on newcomers wary of their own first-time boners or inabilities to twist, stretch, and balance.
As the years went on, the class evolved through different venues and teachers. Regardless of how consistently I practiced yoga, I always knew I could drop in, strip down and enjoy an experience that many would deem too scary to ever try. Recently, the teacher hugged us students, saying something we don’t often hear in life: He thanked us for taking the time for ourselves.
I realized that this was the only time I’d ever kept a New Year’s resolution. And having overcome some very strange battles in life, it felt more like a revolution. ]