September 16, 2020
Yoga is proven to be an excellent way to tone and strengthen the body. So this man from Washington, D.C., has decided to take it up a notch. Take training and body positivity to a level that allows people to be completely themselves. He decided to do yoga in a birthday suit! Welcome to Naked Yoga.
Meet Dan Carter, a bisexual man who began an all-male naked yoga class. The classes curated solely for gay and bisexual men. But if you are wondering what got Dan Carter into this, then it’s a pretty silly story.
It was for a girl!
Washington Blade stated that Dan Carter’s yoga obsession began when he was trying to get a girl to pay attention to him. A girl he wanted to take to prom.
“She was obsessed with yoga and after a few classes, so was I,” the 27-year-old Philomont, Va., native says. “In the end, I realized I didn’t like girls ‘that way’ but I did like the yoga. We’re both yoga teachers now.”
Yoga opened up so many spaces for Carter. Not only did it give him clarity on who he is, but opened up a career path doing what he loves. But why Naked Yoga?
The Appeal of Naked Yoga
But why get naked? Well, Carter sees an appeal to it. He says that naked yoga takes you “completely within your own body.” And that is the message he has tried to spread through Danimal Yoga. He has been teaching for almost four years now. In the first two years, he taught part-time while he worked at the Discovery Channel. Only two years ago, did he make the switch to teaching Yoga full time.
“I was really nervous when I took the leap, but I’m so much happier and healthier now. It’s very cathartic and thought-provoking for me. I have a hard time turning off my brain, but during a great yoga class, I’m totally in my own space and in control of my mind and body.”
Carter takes 15-20 classes each week at multiple locations. Past Tense, VIDA Fitness, Flow Yoga Center and the Capital Center. He even hosted a four-day “very non-traditional” yoga retreat called “Summer Camp for Adults” in September. Carter went all out to show the world about body acceptance, body appreciation, and body care.
He says, “You can feel and control internal processes like breath, pulse, digestion, temperature regulation, and pain. A lot of people thought the famous yogis of the early 20th century were supernatural because they could do this kind of stuff. I’m not anywhere near that level, but I’m working at it.”
A lot of gay students take Carter’s classes.
He says the population depends on where he teaches the class. “I lead weekly naked yoga classes and those are almost completely gay. At VIDA, I also have a large gay and lesbian population.”
Often called “Danimal” by his friends has a fiance, Cassidy DuHon. And they live together in Shaw.
Why Naked Yoga?
Carter’s approach to naked Yoga is extremely relatable. The heightened need for productivity is stressful. And stripping down to the bare minimum can help center yourself. Here’s what Carter has to say, “I teach a very intentional, anatomy-focused style of yoga and at the end of the day, I need something totally ridiculous to distract me.”
In an interview with local ABC news station, he said, “I think that moment we take off our clothes is so pivotal to the entire class.”
Yoga not only brings the element of comfort and care, but it also seems to discipline him. He follows a procedure before he strips down and performs yoga.
He says, “I like to thank everything, even if it’s not alive. So I fold my clothes up into little squares and say thank you for keeping me warm. Then I go to my mat, and I just sit with my body for a moment.”
Between 15-25 male students across ages and backgrounds attend Carter’s classes. Carter says, “It is a group of primarily gay and bisexual men”. He also says that he hopes to expand to a co-ed naked yoga class one day.
“I have students who are 20 years old, and I have students who are 80 years old. All body types and all racial backgrounds. None of that matters when you walk into the room. You just are who you are.”
The Haters Gonna Hate
Naked Yoga is just yoga naked. The same set of exercises, poses, and breathing cycles are followed too. But obviously, the yoga instructor receives serious hate from a lot of people. Whether it is homophobes or people who cannot wrap their heads around nudity.
But Carter is a Yoga Guru, and he’s got no time for hate. When asked what he’d say to his critics, he responded “I would say shut your curtains, take off your clothes, thank them and do a little naked yoga on your own.”
He continues, “Just notice if you can hear things in your body that you have never done before and then if you’re curious–give me a call, and I can hook you up from there.”
Would you take a class with Carter?