Free the Goddess
With Andy Butterfield
Date: Saturday 27th January: 4:30pm – 6:30pm
£22 early bird price before 10th Jan
In this very special women’s class, gay yoga teacher Andy Butterfield invites you into the liberating practice of naked yoga.
At its heart, yoga is about coming into deep acceptance of who we are and so practising naked is an example of how we can realise and embody that acceptance.
When we remove our clothes, it’s a metaphor for discarding shame and criticism and other ideas that do not serve us. We become free of the need to hide or pretend to be anything other than who we truly are.
Your body is a gift and a treasure and more beautiful and miraculous than you can imagine.
Come and honour this gift, as through a heart-lead flow, we invoke and embody the supreme qualities of the Goddess; grace, fierce compassion, courage and radical acceptance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to be fully naked?
You are gently encouraged to coax yourself out of your comfort zone and yet if being completely naked feels too big an ask on the day then you are welcome to wear a sarong around your waist. As you begin to relax and feel more comfortable, you may decide to take it off but it’s your call.
What if I’m on my period?
If yoga postures feel good and beneficial during your period then you might prefer to wear knickers in the class
Will the studio doors and windows be covered over?
Yes, the room will be made more cosy and private and will be softly lit by electronic candles.
Contact Andy on 07968 846610 for more information.
Read Andy’s blog to find out more about his journey as a naked yogi…
Naked yoga teacher, Andy Butterfield lays it bare about this radical practice
I got into yoga when I started training as a shiatsu therapist. I’d become disillusioned with my corporate marketing job and wanted my work to feel more meaningful and more an expression of who I was. As I progressed down this new path, I began to inhabit my body more, realising how good it could feel as it moved and opened and stretched. This piece of kit, that I didn’t like the look of and felt shame about, began to mean something else. I started to enjoy my body and a new life began to unfold.
Eventually I knew I needed to bring yoga to other people and among other things, help them access more ease and joy in their bodies – for at that point, that was the big gift that yoga was giving me. As my yoga, meditation and bodywork practices grew, I realised that there were still some deep patterns of shame and negativity in how I perceived my body. This needed healing as it wasn’t serving me and jarred with what I was learning and sharing.
I considered life modelling first. I felt it would be a safe and respectful environment in which I could be exposed and vulnerable. I hoped that confronting the shame and dislike of my body and sitting and bearing it, would diminish it. I then heard about a naked yoga class in London and I decided that this would be my way forward.
Once I’d registered for class, it took a little while to pluck up the courage to actually go. I knew I was entering an environment of mostly gay and bi men who I thought would judge my naked body and I was afraid of that. I was also worried there might be a sexual charge in the atmosphere which I wasn’t looking for.
As soon as I walked in, I relaxed somewhat. The energy in the room was not sexual at all. It was like a gym changing room and people were friendly. I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t uncomfortable at first. I rolled my mat out self-consciously (probably breathing in and clenching as I did so) and got on my back and focussed on my breath to feel more calm and more centred. Once we started moving into postures, I was in familiar territory and I started to appreciate the experience – the subtle sensations alive on my skin, the deeper connection I felt to my body, the sense of freedom and exhilaration that was arising.
I have to come clean here. I’d chosen the basic level class because, as a teacher, I was pretty confident that I’d manage the practice pretty easily and this would galvanise me to face the whole naked business. Whatever gets you through, right?
I attended the advanced class the following week. The yoga was more challenging but I found that like never before, I moved into the tricky postures with ease and confidence. For example, my side crow had always lacked a degree of…. finesse but this time, I nailed it on the first go. I realised that something about the energy of feeling the fear and doing it anyway had empowered my practice. I’d changed the ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can and I am’ by getting my kit off and I continue to benefit from that.
The inevitable question centres around just how much enjoyment arises in a yoga class of naked men?! Some guys get erections sometimes and that’s totally fine. The practice of yoga continues on. In tantra, we honour sexual energy as being part of the divine experience; a driving force in our lives and in our spiritual development. We invite participants to accept their sexuality and sexual drive, harness it mindfully and use it to enhance and empower joy and awakening in life.
Telling people I teach naked yoga never fails to spark up a conversation. The first question is invariably “Why?!” and usually comes in two parts:
“Why do yoga naked? And why teach yoga to naked people?!”
People do naked yoga for different reasons. My reasons were about coming more to a place of peace and acceptance for my body how it is. And it must have worked for I now stand at the front of a class of men and just get on with teaching it. I would never have thought that would be possible when I begun this journey.
Another reason for practising naked is that it provides an opportunity to face yourself. To step out of your stories and patterns and return to something more essential, a deeper core part. It calls on you to face your vulnerability, insecurity and fear and breathe into it, focussing on the breath and sensation and not give power to what could hold you back. Being naked also creates a feeling of freedom and a way of connecting more deeply to the body. The skin is the largest organ in the body and letting it feel the warm air around it is a nourishing, enlivening experience.
Yoga teaches us that we are all one – that we are all divine love and light and without clothes, without labels, we show up on the mat as equal.
Although the class is open to all men, the vast majority of participants are gay or bisexual. I am passionate about providing a safe space for men to meet and connect with each other in a richer, more heart-centred way. There is no shortage of spaces for men to hook up for sex but at Yoganu, we provide something different. Through partner work, we invite them to explore relationship with themselves and each other in a new way.