What The Hell Is Naked Yoga And Is That Even Legal In Tennessee?

fat man standingI used to go out for a typical American lunch most days – Cheeseburger, Fries and a Coke.

These days, I mostly spend lunch hour at home, on my deck doing Naked Yoga.

Two things you need to know about Naked Yoga: I’m not actually naked and it’s not actually yoga.

But Scantily Clad Stretching and Jumping Around just doesn’t quite have the same ring.

The guys on my hockey team get quite a kick out of the idea of my naked fat ass outside doing yoga poses. I’m convinced that a couple of them periodically look up my address on Google Maps in hopes that the satellite caught me in an ill timed Downward Facing Dog pose.

I’m all about propagating The Legend of Terry. But the truth is when I’m outside doing my daily routine, I am wearing clothing, just not much. And definitely not enough to make my neighbors feel comfortable were they to accidentally catch the show.

One of the main benefits, the main reason I do it is to feel the sun shining on my skin. There are a whole host of benefits to sunlight, not the least of which is that 30 minutes of sunshine on your skin will release about as much serotonin (your brain’s happy juice) as that Whopper Combo meal, I used to wolf down on the daily.

Sunlight is Health and Happiness in a Bottle, Without the Bottle.

Naked YogaA little sun on your face and hands won’t do the trick. So off comes the shirt and on go the little, tiny Richard Simmons shorts to barely cover my round mound of rebound. Sorry about the visual.

I’ve actually taken a handful of yoga classes and I’ve watched some videos so I know what actual yoga is supposed to be. This isn’t it. I don’t have an instructor or video player out on the deck with me and I’m kind of an anti-authoritarian, screw the regimen, freestyle kind of guy any way.

So Naked Yoga is mostly freestyle which makes it hard to describe and probably even harder to witness so if you do ever come over to my house around lunch time, please call first for your own benefit.

The routine breaks down into roughly 4 parts:

Cardio:

When I first started exercising a little my entire goal was to break a sweat every day. If you’re not getting any exercise at all now, breaking a sweat every day will change your life. And quite honestly, of all the changes I’ve made in my life over the last couple of years, breaking a sweat every day is the one that has made all the others possible.

I start things off by breaking a sweat. I jump around, jog in place, imaginary jump rope, a little shadow boxing, a few kicks, a few high knees and my favorite, wide stance, side to side jogging in place. Basically I mimic the ice skating stride so I’m breaking a sweat and building up my skating muscles at the same time. A Twofer!

Stretch:

After maybe ten minutes, my heart rate is elevated and I start to sweat a little. It doesn’t take long to glisten in the Tennessee sunshine.

Now comes the stretch. I’m convinced that stretching most days has taken about 15-20 years off the way I feel every day. I used to play hockey and be tired, rundown and sore for 2-3 days afterward, Now when I get a good stretch in on game days, I play much better hockey and on days after, I stretch the tired and sore right out of my body.

I start by reaching to the sky, both hands fully extended. Taking deep breaths. Arms to the side, rotate my body right and left. Rotate my neck and shoulders. And hit all 4 points on the compass with hip rotations/thrusts. I’m sure this is particularly attractive. Then hands on the ground, ass in the air, knees fully straight. Breathe in. Breathe out. And pull my head as close to my knees as I can get.

I finish up with a couple of knee bends and a lunge in each direction with arms overhead and again with arms to each side rotating.

It’s all free style so it changes up from day to day based on what feels like it needs stretching but the main idea is to get everything as fully extended as possible in every direction with deep, deep breaths in and out to expand my lung capacity.

Balance:

For balance I stand on my tippy toes with arms stretched to the sky and then to the side and hold that for as many breaths as I can. My calves are monsters now!

Then I do the prototypical yoga pose that you see in every yoga brochure. It’s called TREE POSE. And basically you balance on one leg while resting the other foot on your inner thigh. I actually cup my instep on the knee. It fits nicely and that’s about all the flexibility I’ve got. If you can get your heel up around your junk, good on ya!

I hold that pose for a few breaths with my hands overhead and then move my arms out to to the side and turn my head in each direction to change my point of focus. That requires some serious concentration.

Then I extend my leg fully to the front for a few breaths, into a full side kick and finally one leg fully extended to the rear, my back horizontal to the ground and my arms fully extended to the front. The yoga books call it the Warrior pose, but to me it should be called Superman.

I move back into a tall standing position and switch legs to do it all over again.

If 10 minutes of shadowboxing doesn’t get you sweating, this will. Balancing on one leg works almost every muscle in your body because you’re making thousands of tiny adjustments every second to maintain the balance.

If you’ve ever scoffed at yoga as something for soccer moms, try this one time. You won’t scoff anymore.

Meditation

I wrap up the routine with few minutes of quiet meditation with the sun shining on my face. I don’t light any candles or chant any Himalayan folk songs. I simply close my eyes and focus completely on the present moment concentrating on breathing, in and out, and trying to shoo away all the random thoughts that pop into my head. Meditation is exercise for the brain that strengthens your ability to control your thoughts and keep your mind on the things you want to keep your mind on. That’s all it is.

So that’s Naked Yoga. The whole thing takes about 30 minutes. On days I do it, I feel like a million bucks. On days I don’t get to, I never seem to have as much giddyup and go. And that’s the only reason I do it. Because it makes me feel good.

I did this routine for a year and only lost handful of pounds but it changed the way I felt and gave me the energy to add in some walking and eventually running which has helped me drop 50 pounds. In all honesty, though, the weight loss is distant, distant second to how I feel.

And in the immortal words of the late, great James Brown “I Feel Good!

Terry LancasterTerry Lancaster is the VP of Making S#!% Happen at Instant Events Automotive Advertising, father of 3 teenage daughters and a Beer League Hockey All Star, as if there could ever be such a thing.

You can connect with Terry on FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

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