Not many things go unchanged over a period of 5,000 years. Empires fall, horses have made way for electric cars, and yoga? Well, yoga has gone experimental.
Yoga enthusiasts around the city are now connecting mentally, physically and spiritually via some unusual means, from lighting up a joint in class to stripping down to nothing before their sun salutations. Here are a few of the local classes that make yoga a little more unconventional—and a lot more San Francisco.
Naked Yoga For Men
As its name implies, for 11 years, Naked Yoga For Men has offered a place where dudes of all types (straight, gay, bi, and FTM transgender) can just be dudes. Naked.
"Yoga is all about experiencing your authentic self. It seemed like clothing was another one of those layers that cover [that] up," says teacher Tim J. Luddy, who started out as a Naked Yoga student over a decade ago. "Physically, it's very liberating." The organization offers classes at locations in SoMa, the Mission, and the Castro.
While Naked Yoga for Men is deliberately non-sexual, those seeking sexual liberation via yoga turn to teacher Dee Dussault. Her private Sexy Flex instruction focuses on tantric yoga techniques, ecstasy breathing and increasing the “intelligence” of the pelvic floor. While Sexy Flex requires clothing, Dussault also teaches clothing-optional hatha yoga classes for women.
Dussault is pushing the mind-body yoga experience in other ways, too, with her Ganja Yoga classes. Yogis have combined marijuana with yoga for years, but it was Dussault who officially introduced herb to local classes in 2014. Students smoke prior to or at the beginning of class, and can partake throughout the yoga session, which takes place in a quiet, candlelit space. It's not a place for freeloading, though—mooching is discouraged, and every student must have a medical marijuana card to participate.
I finally put a Ganja Yoga video up! This one's just a teaser (and such a cute one it is!), made by a film student who could pick *any topic* she wanted to do a short film project on; She chose our classes!!! ..She did a Great Job! (It's definitely worth watching til' the very end!). Just 3 minutes long, the link will be in my bio for a while. Subscribe to the Ganja Yoga youtube channel for classes comng real soon! #ganjayoga #ganjayogaonline #pollenate #ganjayogasf #ganjayogacommunity #cannabisenhancedyoga #supercute #community #wellness #whoevercreatesthemostjoywins Pic cred: @gabrielleluriephoto 🍃
Dussault offers Ganja Yoga every Wednesday at 7pm at SoMa arts space Merchants of Reality (285 9th St.), as well as by appointment. Check out her Ganja Yoga Meetup group to learn more and stay posted on her schedule.
Need a little more excitement in your yoga class? Try AcroYoga at Aerial Artique (132 9th St., #302), which combines partner acrobatics, Thai massage and yoga.
It's a great way to build communication with your body and with other people, explains teacher Maia Adams, and a lot of acro-yogis get hooked. “You walk away with a newfound ability to achieve movement goals you probably wouldn’t be able to do alone. You get acro-addicts. It’s a niche that’s easy to geek out on.”
Friday Night Live Yoga
Balking at the thought of flying through the air? There are still ways to add a little fun to your yoga practice. Friday Night Live yoga at the Mission's Laughing Lotus Yoga Center (3271 16th St.) invites live musicians to play instruments during class, from the traditional khol to the 7-string guitar/bass.
Cats on Mats Yoga
Cat lovers can join a dozen felines for a cat-tastic hour of hatha yoga at Hayes Valley's KitTea Cafe (96 Gough St.), in which they can expect to be thoroughly ignored, out-stretched and otherwise investigated by their four-legged classmates.
The cats live temporarily at KitTea while seeking their forever homes; they're all up for adoption through San Francisco Animal Care and Control, Toni's Kitty Rescue and Wonder Cat Rescue.
For traditionalists, there are still dozens of San Francisco yoga studios that promise a more authentic experience. But for those in search of a little innovation, there are new experiences just begging for the adventurous yogi.
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