Friday, August 17, 2018
Events

Strip and stretch

Lululemon might have a problem hawking their yoga gear to some local yogis. The Body Electric yoga studio offers a Thursday night candlelight yoga class for men — in the nude.

The Body Electric co-owner, Jenny Miller, became friends with nude yoga instructor Andre Sur in yoga training, and she was excited to offer the class on the schedule when the studio opened in 2013.

"It creeps some people out," Miller said, "but we're proud to host it."

Sur, who had been teaching the class poolside at the Gay St. Pete House Bed and Breakfast for two years, was happy to have a roof over his head.

"We were subject to the weather and really wanted to move it indoors," Sur said.

Sur said that outside the class, he rarely practices in the nude, preferring just a pair of shorts. But when he offered it, people took him up on it.

"It's really freeing," he said. "It helps people to accept their bodies and just not worry about what they look like."

Due to Pinellas County regulations, the studio cannot charge for a nude class, so it is by a suggested donation of $20, and Sur said he has anywhere from two to 12 participants each week.

All body types are welcome, and Sur gets a wide range of ages and fitness levels in the class.

"I am so inspired by the people who are very comfortable with their bodies and just come in and take their clothes off without worrying about what other people are thinking."

Though the class is still populated with gay and bisexual men, straight guys do show up from time to time.

"Once a straight guy was late to the class he wanted to attend," Miller said. "I told him he was welcome to join Andre's nude class, and he just went right in and did it."

Sur understands the hesitation, though he begins each candle-lit class with a few reminders for attendees, such as not getting into anyone else's space or gawking at others during the practice.

"I think it's easier for gay people to say to hell with it and take off their clothes for class. Straight guys might worry about other guys checking them out. But once we get started, everyone just forgets about the naked aspect really fast."

Scott Temples practices and sometimes subs for Sur when he's traveling. He said the first time he took the class was only the second time he had practiced yoga.

"I think I was more nervous about the practice than the lack of clothing. I thought people would be looking around, but it wasn't like that at all. Yoga is a very inward practice. If you're truly practicing, you would have to remind yourself that you don't have clothes on," he said.

For Temples, being nude isn't at the center of his practice. "It's just something different," he said. "It's kind of neat."

Sur said that a common fear among practitioners is an unwanted erection during class.

"It usually doesn't happen. If it was a Yin class, which is very slow and stretchy, it might be a problem," Sur said. "But this is a fast-moving power flow Vinyasa class, so there's no way, even if it did happen, that it could be maintained."

Nude yoga, known as Nagna yoga, is an ancient Indian practice. In Sanskrit, nag means "naked." The Naga Sadhus are a Hindu group who have the long-held belief that rejecting clothing is symbolic of rejecting mortal constraints. It surfaced in the United States in the 1960s, and now can be found offered in a smattering of yoga studios across the country.

Some of the more progressive studios offer co-ed nude yoga, but so far it's just for guys at The Body Electric.

But it might not always be that way. "Women have inquired about the class," Sur said.

Sur said that ultimately everyone is respectful of others and keeps to themselves.

"Everyone gets a nice workout. It's not an orgy class."

Comments
Cridlin: Aretha Franklin, world’s greatest singer, transcended cultural barriers

Cridlin: Aretha Franklin, world’s greatest singer, transcended cultural barriers

Aretha Franklin wore her crowns like no other.At the Grammy Awards in 1972, where she won the fifth of her 18 trophies: A regal scarlet shawl embroidered with gold, swirled around her sturdy Afro. At the first Divas Live concert in 1998: A golden wra...
Published: 08/16/18
Review: James Swain’s ‘The King Tides’ a swift Florida mystery

Review: James Swain’s ‘The King Tides’ a swift Florida mystery

Most parents of pretty teenage daughters are prepared to see boys mooning over their girls.But the parents of Nicki Pearl are not prepared for the growing number of adult men — all of them strangers — who seem to be stalking their daughter in the thr...
Published: 08/16/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Aug. 17

Top things to do in Tampa Bay on Aug. 17

Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence: Grammy-winning alternative group featuring Goth-influenced singer Amy Lee performs on tour with the physicakl and theatrical violinist that rose to fame on America’s Got Talent. 7 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphit...
Published: 08/16/18
Dining events: Bolts Brew Fest, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month

Dining events: Bolts Brew Fest, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month

BOLTS: BREW FESTI was going to list all the craft brewers whose wares will be on offer at 7 p.m. Friday at this year’s Bolts Brew Fest, a Tampa Bay Lightning benefit for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. But with 50 local breweries alone, and another ...
Published: 08/15/18
Updated: 08/16/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 16

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Aug. 16

Wiz Khalifa and Rae Sremmurd: Multi-platinum selling artists team up to co-headline their Dazed and Blazed summer tour with special guests Lil Skies and O.T. Genasis. 6 p.m., MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, 4802 U.S. 301 N, Tampa. $29-$125.95. ...
Published: 08/15/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘Mile 22,’ ‘Alpha’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Crazy Rich Asians,’ ‘Mile 22,’ ‘Alpha’

NOW PLAYING: CRAZY RICH ASIANSAn Asian-American New Yorker (Constance Wu) on her first trip to Asia finds out her longtime boyfriend (Henry Golding) is one of Singapore’s most desirable bachelors in Crazy Rich Asians. His judgy mother (Michelle Yeoh)...
Published: 08/15/18
Art events: Sound controls light at the Ringling while antiquity gets a monumental update at TMA

Art events: Sound controls light at the Ringling while antiquity gets a monumental update at TMA

AUDIO VISUAL: VOLUMESEdgy, experimental performance art comes to the Ringling Museum in the form of Volumes, an immersive audio-video installation by Brooklyn-based artist Ezra Masch. The beats of a drummer’s live performance activate a three-dimensi...
Published: 08/15/18
Top things to do this weekend: Rock memorabilia, Halloween at Disney, TICA Cat Show

Top things to do this weekend: Rock memorabilia, Halloween at Disney, TICA Cat Show

MUSEUM: Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll RevolutionAn unusual exhibit coming to the Florida Holocaust Museum, Bill Graham and the Rock and Roll Revolution is a display of the life of the flamboyant concert promoter synonymous with classic rock. Grah...
Published: 08/15/18
This week’s best concerts: Journey, Def Leppard, Wiz Khalifa, Lindsey Stirling, more

This week’s best concerts: Journey, Def Leppard, Wiz Khalifa, Lindsey Stirling, more

HALLWORTHY? Journey and Def LeppardWith Bon Jovi and Dire Straits off the board, Def Leppard, left, is now the bestselling rock band not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. (The not-yet-eligible Coldplay and Linkin Park are bridges we’ll cross down th...
Published: 08/15/18
What’s on stage: Countdown Improv Festival, comics Michael Coylar and Alonzo Bodden

What’s on stage: Countdown Improv Festival, comics Michael Coylar and Alonzo Bodden

SAY YES: COUNTDOWN IMPROV FESTIVAL Since its debut in Tampa last year, the 3-2-1 Improv Festival has grown in size and scope, adding acts and changing its name. Now the Countdown Improv Festival, this three-day celebration of spontaneity brings 39 gr...
Published: 08/15/18