Yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar remarked, "The body is your temple." The staff and attendees at Naked Yoga NYC apparently prefer that temple unadorned. More than just a workout, Naked Yoga claims, "By removing our clothes we are forced to examine our bodies and our belief patterns. We let go more quickly of what is holding us back, and plunge more deeply into our truth and our bliss." (We're a bit disturbed by that talk of plunging.) The curious yet squeamish will be pleased to learn that one is required to bring one's own mat.
Many New Yorkers simply don't have enough square feet to indulge their inner pack rats. But apparently some of us haven't let a mere lack of space keep us from acquiring way too much stuff. Enter Tracey Stanton. Using the techniques of feng shui, she will guide students in a five-week program of tidiness entitled "Clear Your Clutter: Free Your Life!" The course description promises: "She will also show you how to find a new sense of freedom and joy in your life as you release yourself from old habits, patterns, or relationships."
Deep in the Bronx, a group of people engages in armed combat, breaks windows, and runs into one another with cars. Legally. For fun. And, perhaps, profit. For the past year, former stuntman Bob Cotter has operated Hollywood Stunts, an institute offering three-week courses in stunt fundamentals, weekend intensives in "fire burns" and "fighting for film," and classes for kids. Founder Cotter boasts a pilot's license, a motorcycle license, and, helpfully, first aid and CPR certification.
What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk inside your trunk? Ah, Fergie. Always asking those penetrating questions. Well, one thing you might do with your lovely lady lumps is to teach them to belly dance. And Serena is just the lady to provide the instruction. With 35 years of experience in the belly-dancing field (her website proclaims that "in Egypt, she is called an 'artiste' ") and multiple books and articles to her credit, Serena offers several classes a week in the ancient art. She also runs a boutique to cater to your humps' scarf, veil, and jingly-bits needs. •serenastudios.com
Lunchtime. Why spend it gnawing on a sandwich or slurping up soup when you could pass that hour away from your desk immersed in sexy walks, fan-dancing, chair-dancing, hip and shoulder movements, boa play, lap dance, striptease, and more? Downtown's School of Burlesque offers a weekly class entitled "Afternoon Flirt," which promises both a mild workout and an entrée into the world of exotic dance. Headmistress Jo Weldon (a/k/a Jo Boobs) teaches the titillating techniques. The school also offers seminars by stripping stalwarts World Famous BOB, Dirty Martini, various Pontani Sisters, and token male Tigger.
Hats off to the Fashion Institute of Technology for offering so many courses in the fine art of millinery. Chapeaux may no longer make up such an essential component of one's wardrobe, but for those who like to be on top of toppers, there are classes in making berets, baseball caps, helmets, hunting caps, draped leather crowns, and fur-cuff hats.
Apparently, even avid stitchers eventually hit a snag. After a few years they tire of Vogue Patterns and wish they could fashion their own designs. Happily, the Brooklyn General Store has just announced a course in pattern making. Students will design a T-shirt and an A-line skirt appropriate to their measurements and will learn "how to 'rub off' a pattern from a pre-existing garment." Some sewing experience necessary. •brooklyngeneral.com
In the Ukraine, the earliest examples of jewelry date from 40,000 B.C. But as human skill has evolved and mammoth ivory is no longer so readily available, Ukrainian jewelry has changed with the times. Some of the most popular and enduring examples of this finery are the intricate beaded necklaces called gerdany. The East Village's Ukrainian Museum offers a four-week course in these bead-weaving techniques. •ukrainianmuseum.org
Alfred Jarry defined pataphysics as "the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects, described by their virtuality, to their lineaments." Less confusingly, Raymond Queneau explained it as based on "the truth of contradictions and exceptions." But in New York we know pataphysics as a series of exemplary and challenging playwriting workshops held at the Flea Theater. This summer, Erik Ehn will host a three-day intensive course for aspiring and established writers. •theflea.org/pataphysics/index.htm
We have it on good authority that there are eight million stories in the naked city, but most of us need a bit of assistance if we're going to get them down on paper. So it's no wonder that memoir-writing classes are some of the most popular that Gotham Writers' Workshop offers. Gotham features workshops for beginners and the more experienced, plus a master class for those with a complete or nearly complete draft of their life story.