Clothing Optional Yoga with Ami Amoré is held on Tuesdays Sundays in a private studio in South St. Louis. The fee is $10. Please bring a bottle of water, a towel, and a yoga mat. Class size is limited. Contact amorticious [at] gmail [dot] com or RSVP via the SEX+STL Meetup group if you’d like to attend.
by David Wraith
I first started hearing about nude yoga classes about seven years ago. Men’s nude yoga classes, mostly attended by gay men, were popping up in different spots around the country, but it seemed that co-ed nude yoga was only happening on the coasts. Spearheaded on the west coast by Meredith Medland and on the east coast by, the decidedly more new age, Isis Phoenix, co-ed naked yoga was mostly shunned by the mainstream yoga community (who seemed overly concerned about how silly they’d look doing Happy Baby pose).
And yet, clothing optional yoga has endured long enough to be scapegoated for ending Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage (we must defend the sanctity of marriage from… yoga?). My research says that while I slept, St. Louis was host to not just one, but two now defunct clothing optional yoga classes (one at Concrete Ocean and one at Floored). But rest assured fellow babies, clothing optional yoga is back thanks to SEX+STL and our good friend Ami Amoré.
In additional to being an artist and belly dancer, Ami is adding clothing optional yoga instructor to her already impressive resume.
David Wraith: How long have you been practicing yoga, how long have you been teaching it and what do you enjoy about it?
Ami Amoré: I have been practicing yoga since 1994 when I took it in college. Did I just show my age? I have been teaching it since November 2010 when I got my certification from Urban Breath in St. Louis. I enjoy so much about yoga it’s hard to list everything. For me it creates a sense of self-acceptance, increased stamina and flexibility and keeps me focused.
What do you do when you’re not teaching yoga?
When I am not teaching yoga, you can find me teaching belly dance classes, performing around town, jogging through Benton Park or in my loft reading, cuddling with my snake or making jewelry.
What are the health benefits of yoga?
The health benefits of yoga are so numerous: Besides the obvious physical benefits of yoga which include increased flexibility, relief from some aches and pains, increased stamina and libido, helps keep internal organs healthy, et cetera. The other mental and emotional benefits include mental focus and clarity, awareness of breath and self, self- acceptance, et cetera… et cetera. Overall, yoga helps keep you youthful in body and mind. Keeps all joints lubricated.
What inspired you to offer clothing optional yoga classes?
Honestly, I was inspired to offer clothing-optional yoga classes for several reasons. One reason was to dispel the myth that nudist gatherings were really just a big orgy and more were a place that folks who don’t like clothes can go and be around others and feel comfortable. Another was for myself, being more comfortable in my own skin. I am extremely modest about my naked body even though I am an extrovert by nature. I admit, I am an opportunist and saw an open market since Floored closed down and there were no longer the all male nude yoga classes. Plus I had always wondered why no co-ed clothing optional yoga. So, I just thought hey, let’s try this and see how it goes.
Why would anyone want to take a yoga class naked?
The question more so is why not try it? Yoga is an intimate act with your own body and mind. I believe being nude or even partially nude will make one’s own self more aware of what is going on in their body. While it leaves a certain feeling of vulnerability, there is nothing to hide or be embarrassed about. It is also empowering to be nude and totally natural. One would never presume to take a shower fully clothed, so why not try yoga nude?
So this is really just an excuse for people to check each other out naked, right?[Laughs] Well, no. Although, it certainly is natural to look around, we are only human, but once the yoga gets started I feel that everyone is pretty much focused on themselves, well, except for me, because I have to make sure everyone is doing the poses correctly to avoid injury. I wouldn’t be a good teacher if I didn’t check out my students’ posture.