There's a new type of yoga in southern Montana, and it's encouraging participants to bare it all … literally.
Bare Roots yoga at Limber Tree Yoga & Wellness in Billings, Montana, is a clothing-optional class.
“Ultimately we’re a yoga studio that’s focused on wellness, not only fitness,” said Clementine Lindley, owner of Limber Tree.
The class is designed to boost body confidence, build community and release trauma from the body.
“It's an opportunity for people to really be part of something empowering and new in our Billings community. The class keeps growing,” Lindley explained.
Instructor Erin Anderson said, “Yoga is, at its core, about liberation, and I'm trying to get people into a space of acknowledging what they might be holding in their bodies, and that’s everything from trauma to joy.”
The students said the vulnerability combined with the yoga poses helps release anything the body is holding, from bullying to domestic violence, sexual assault and negative body image.
"I first got into it a few years ago when I was living up in Kalispell. I try to be pretty active because I have Tourette syndrome and it helps calm and soothe my Tourette's when I am active and have some form of outlet,” said Orrin, Limber Tree Yoga & Wellness student.
“I've always been really curious about doing a clothing-optional class as society today makes us really self-conscious, and I am pretty self-conscious in general because I'm a little fluffier than I want to be, just like most people,” said Orrin.
With body shaming, sexualization and all judgment stripped away, Orrin said the class is boosting his confidence in a safe space.
"We've had some folks that started out in sports bras and shorts and then they slowly moved to like a topless space and then just completely all out and in the open and completely nude too,” said Anderson.
There are rules for Bare Roots yoga: You must be part of the community and not just a one-time spectator; you’re required to attend at least two other classes before registering for a Bare Roots class; you can only disrobe at the mat; no cameras or phones allowed; no inappropriate talking or gestures; and whatever happens in the room stays in the room.
During the class, the studio’s curtains remain drawn and the lights are lowered.
“If you don’t feel like this is the class that is for you, then that’s OK, but at the same time, and in the same breath, don’t sexualize or shame anybody that’s coming to the class, the studio for hosting the class or the teachers that choose to teach the class because that essentially loops everything back into that cycle of abuse that we are trying to avoid,” said Anderson.
“In Billings, nothing like this exists, so it is very unique and I'm grateful to be in the genesis of it,” said Orrin.
This story was originally published by Dianne Parker at Scripps News Billings.
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