Natural steam rooms: traditional naturist pastime reinvented

Saunas provide an easy opportunity to have a naturist experience to laypeople and are among favorite pastimes for hardcore naturists as well, but there is a hidden and unique (please let me know, if it isn’t!) place on the Hawaii island that brings it to the next level: a combination of geothermal steam vents, small caves and lush greenery creates the most natural and idyllic steam room imaginable!

Again, I found out about this natural wonder thanks to the guidebook ‘Hawaii, the Big Island Revealed‘ – and it would be hard to know about it otherwise, as it is on private land whose owner by no means seems to want to advertise it. Luckily, he doesn’t seem to mind the visitors much either, and the place is accessible for those in the know 😉 The guidebook also noted that locals enjoy the natural steam in their altogethers, as nature intended. 

So, these natural “steam rooms” are located in the otherwise not very notable forest north of intersection of Kamaili Rd and Pahoa Kalapena Rd.

view 0000 steam vents, Hawaii, USA

You’ll have to guess where the trails are, as they are not very distinguishable in the beginning but get better by the steam rooms.  Some of those are hard to notice behind the plants,

view 0003 steam vents, Hawaii, USA

but you’ll sense the heat and see the steam. Now, how is this for a steam room?

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An individual cabin adorned with ferns and orchids!

If you’re with a bigger group AND have a ladder, you may go for this steaming hole in the ground!

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Next to it, there was a small cave with a ladder installed already. Then, I noticed steam coming above a meadow below.

view 0001 steam vents, Hawaii, USA

I went down there and took a chance for using the space for my personal hot nude yoga session (based on Bikram yoga sequences I used to do 2 years ago). This was a unique opportunity to do hot yoga in an open-air space, and it felt amazing.

view 0002 steam vents, Hawaii, USA

As darkness fell, I was staring at the first stars, and, getting warmed up by the heat from the depth of our planet, I couldn’t help thinking of being one with our vast universe, and my nakedness only facilitated the feeling. The lush vegetation around and the chorus of crickets and coquí frogs also reminded me that we were lucky to be in the part of the universe suitable for life; and I personally felt very lucky to be in that particular part of the universe that made me feel life was amazing!

Kalani resort, tide pools and black sand beach (Hawaii)

Kalani retreat center was our base on Puna side of Hawaii island. Tod had been there before and loved it.

The painting in our room set our mood for another naturist adventure 🙂

painting 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

As we arrived late in the evening, we were welcomed by a chorus of coquí frogs.

It’s an invasive species introduced from Puerto Rico, but I loved the ambient sound they provided (and to their defense, they haven’t really brought any harm to local ecology as far as I know). I managed to track down one of coquí frogs near the pool, which was impossible according to Tod – not if you’re a zoologist like me 😀

coqui frog 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

After that, we relaxed in the sauna, and then Tod did a Watsu session for me (“a form of aquatic bodywork used for deep relaxation and passive aquatic therapy… in which a practitioner gently cradles, moves, stretches, and massages a receiver in chest-deep warm water”). Needless to say, we were naked, and the setting – warm humid air, dark starry sky, accompanied by frogs chorus – was perfect for total relaxation!

In the morning we were greeted by another cute guest, a brightly colored but naked gecko.

gecko 0001 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

So it felt only more appropriate to do our morning stretch in the buff, and there was even a statue for inspiration 😉

naturist 0000 Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

However, after we finished our stretch, a worker came to us and told that apparently we were only allowed to be naked by the pool and another remote area. We could only guess why within the same premises it was ok to take off your clothes at one spot but not at another just 50m away. Tod’s speculation is that as Kalani is becoming more mainstream, they have to adapt to mainstream public, which includes restrictions on your attire.  Oh well, it wasn’t like we planned to spend too much time at the resort itself. We left to Kapoho tide pools after that.

On the trail to the tide pools we saw this tree with interesting fruit,

tree 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

but the most interesting stuff awaited us under water.

view 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Kapoho tide pools are popular among snorkelers thanks to crystal clear water, and we could see how clear it was from above.

view 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The only thing that interfered with water’s transparency was… water, just of different temperature. There were a few geothermal springs coming out, and at everything looked blurred where their water was mixing with water from the ocean.

water 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Although Kapoho tide pools is not an official naturist spot, to swim in au naturel I used a technique I developed at the Red Sea coral reefs in Israel, and then in Akumal in Mexico – just put your swimming trunks around your shoulder 😉

naturist 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The corals there were not nearly as bright as at the Red Sea, but some rocks were covered with colorful moss animals.

algae, corals, moss animals 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Another invertebrate that was abundant there was sea cucumber.

sea cucumber 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

But numerous vivid coral fishes were of course the main attraction.

fish 0002 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

Unicornfish was probably my favorite.

unicornfish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

There was at least a couple of species of unicornfish, and besides the unicorn

unicornfish 0002 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

they were decorated with adornments on the tail and stylish make-up.

unicornfish 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

It was a lot fun to navigate in the labyrinth of corals and rocks of Kapoho tide pools, and we got lost twice (lost in a sense that we didn’t know how to get to the main, deepest path). And then we also got lost in the fish.

fish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

An impressive shoal of striped wish surrounded us all of a sudden and didn’t seem to be bothered by us swimming next to them.

fish 0001 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

But not all are so conspicuous at the coral reef. Needlefish is hard to spot and they usually don’t come too close.

needle fish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

And this one we almost missed altogether. Can you actually spot what it is?

flatfish 0000 Kapoho tide pools, Hawaii, USA

The first reader who sees and guesses what it is on the photo above, besides sand and rocks, will get a print of any photo from this blogpost! (Maybe you’ll choose this photo? It’d be a nice background picture.) I guess I’m starting a new tradition. Comment here!

On the way from Kapoho, we stopped at the pandan forest. Pandans looked quite peculiar with their adventitious roots, which in turn made me feel adventurous and want to climb them (no particular logic, just like I wanted to do push ups on the cypress roots in Mississippi swamp forest 😀 )

naturist 0001 forest near Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

And I don’t know what it was about that forest, maybe the light, but I think I look particularly good on the photos from there. Another contender for your printout choice? 😉

naturist 0000 forest near Kalani resort, Hawaii, USA

The next stop was something that I’d been dreaming to visit for a long time – a beach with black sand! There are just a few black sand beaches in the world, and Kehena on the island of Hawaii is certainly among the most picturesque beaches.

naturist 0000 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

The first thing you’d want to do on that sand is simply to lie down and enjoy its velvet softness, which I did too with great pleasure.

naturist 0003 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

I got a new dog friend while his owner was body surfing.

naturist 0001 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

That sand really feels (and looks) nice on the skin.

naturist 0005 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Well, if you read this blog, you’d know that I wouldn’t be lying for too long. The rocks at surrounding the beach with tree roots coming all the way down from the top seemed too tempting to climb.

naturist 0010 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

And there I was, bouldering in the buff 🙂

naturist 00 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

It may not look that high on pictures, but it was quite scary to look down.

naturist 0011 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Then we discovered a horizontal bar hanging on the tree. I’m always up for some pull-ups!

naturist-pull-ups-Kehena-black-sand-beach,-Hawaii,-USA

Then we chatted with a local owner of a small coffee plantation, who claimed that his coffee is even better than famous one from Kona side of the island. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to test that, but it was nice talking to him, as he also assured there were quite a few nudist groups in the area – something to keep in mind for the next time 😉

I thought yoga would be the best to finish the day at the beach.

naturist yoga 0002 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

With such a nice sand there was no need for mat,

naturist yoga 0001 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

and I followed the rhythm of ocean wave alternating between poses.

naturist yoga 0007 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

Fresh and at the same time very warm air was perfect for stretches –

naturist yoga 0004 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

“pigeon”, all the way to the front

naturist yoga 0006 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

and “camel” – all went well deep.

naturist yoga 0005 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

After some twisting,

naturist yoga 0009 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

it felt right to finish off with balancing in the tree pose on the coconut palm tree stump.

naturist yoga 0010 Kehena black sand beach, Hawaii, USA

I so much look forward to coming back to this beach again!

enjoy the spring: naked sport events and a show (NY, Berlin, Texas)

This time, I’m not kidding about naked sport events. I was shocked (in a good way) how many people took my April Fools joke for real – I got quite a few emails requesting the details! Well guys, if you’re ready for mud wrestling with freshly squeezed garlic in the morning at a venue without showers, I know I can rely on you! 😀 Well, we do plan to organize naked sport events and classes, and clearly there’s a demand for that!

Tomorrow is going to be my last Winter Indoor Pool Party party this season (organized by Travasuns in Long Island, NY). Well, I guess we can clearly say the spring has arrived to New York, but it’s still a bit too chilly to enjoy nakedness outdoors. We’ve been to a few of Travasuns’ winter pool events, and it was always fun. It’s a low-key event at a rented gym. They offer saunas, hang-out pool, pizza and even volleyball, which is often unofficially dubbed as naturists’ favorite sport. Given that volleyball is indoors too and surrounded by walls, we rather play it as wallyball

naked wrestling 0001 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

On the weekend of 10-11 May in Berlin, Tam and I plan to have naked acro-yoga and wrestling jam sessions. Please contact us by e-mail or comment here, if you are interested in joining, and we’ll send you details re timing and exact location. This is also pending on the weather. We haven’t decided as to how many sessions we’ll have, but our approach is the more the merrier. We’ll take advantage of Berlin’s healthy attitude towards nudity and do at least one session in its central park – Tiergarten – don’t worry, we won’t be arrested for doing acro-yoga naked there like in San Francisco. Wrestling might work better by one of numerous lakes in Berlin, as we’re likely to get sweaty. Here is a sneak preview from our naked oil wrestling match a couple of years ago (photos courtesy of Joe). Come and join us!

naked wrestling 0000 Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

YNOTU (Young Nudists of Texas United) will host Nude Games on Memorial Weekend, May 24-26, at a campground near Dallas. Unfortunately, none of the people form our group will be able to attend, but it seems like fun. In the program: flag football, tug of war, water and sand volleyball, beer mile, 3-legged races, potato sack races, bean bag throw, Frisbee toss and egg toss, yoga, Latin dance class. Highly recommended!

And we’ll have our round-up end back in New York. My friend Alexander Kargaltsev, who I’ve already introduced here because oh his variously themed photo works that often involve nudity, is now developing a play, Crematorium, that sounds shocking and looks beautiful, and it will have plenty of nudity too.

 Former Ukraine. In the south of Putin’s Crimea, a giant factory with chimneys is built: a Crematorium for gays. Four couples are picked to test a new machine to turn them straight. Torture, interrogation, death and cleansing in the fiery furnace await them.

Here is the preview video.

https://vimeo.com/92654893

The shows are set for 29 May – 1 June at Shetler Studios & Theatres, New York. You can buy tickets online.

Hope to see you at these events in New York and Berlin!

Yoga is more fun under the sun… and stars

naturist-0000-yoga,-the-Woods-campground,-PA-USA

Last minute announcement: This coming Sunday, we’ll be at Sandy Hook beach with two yoga instructors from the group that I organized a few months ago. There are several yoga groups in New York City that practice yoga naked (see my review of Zensual yoga, for example), but my group started as much less formal gathering of friends; now it’s become a regular, weekly class with 2 rotating instructors and more visiting, and a dozen or so students, and we’ve even had a retreat at the Woods campground!

naturist 0003 yoga, the Woods campground, PA USA

I haven’t announced this group on this blog because it was meant mainly for friends, and it grew fast enough with word of mouth. During summer, we’ve been holding classes at the rooftop of one of us in Uptown Manhattan in the evenings. Well, the sky in Manhattan isn’t very starry, but even so it is pretty amazing to stretch out on the roof under stars… and airplanes. I must say after getting used to doing yoga al fresco and au naturel, it would be hard to practice it any other way. The weather seems to be great on Sunday, you can join us at Gunnison Beach at Sandy Hook (see my previous blogpost for the ferry coupon) to do some yoga under the sun and try something like this:

naturist 0012 yoga, the Woods campground, PA USA

Partner stretch/acro-yoga class was probably the most popular at our retreat in the Woods. Besides that, it was also pretty amazing to have an awakening morning yoga session listening to the rain (that one we did under the roof). After that, we covered ourselves with mud and did the no-rain dance, so the sky was clear throughout the rest of the retreat weekend. This time, it looks like we don’t even need that, the forecast is fine 🙂

naturist-0000-rain-dance,-the-Woods-campground,-PA-USA

Zensual yoga in New York

I think New York wouldn’t be New York without some naked yoga classes. In fact, well before moving here, just when I got interested in naturism I got across Hot Nude Yoga videos of Aaron Star school and tried to follow those at home in Moscow and later in Berlin. Now this school is in Hawaii, as far as I know, but luckily, there are new options in New York City, and clearly there is a demand for it.

naturist 0002 Zensuality Yoga, New York, NY, USA

Zen and her family are well known both in yogi and naturist community. I got to know them at the Lighthouse beach when they came with their drum set to Vita Nuda’s event. Then I was glad to find out the she taught classes of naked yoga, dubbed as Zensual yoga. It is conveniently located in Midtown near Bryant Park in Solstice Studio (moved Downtown to The Warshaw Dance Studio). It is a small but pretty place, and the lighting is perfect. Zen also brings her friends to play live music – didgeridoo and African drums – during the class, which sets everyone on a good, relaxed wave.

Zen’s classes are definitely worth joining for anyone willing to learn basic yoga poses and relax at full. You’ll go through some breathing exercises, like breath of fire, and major poses, such as downward facing dog,

naturist 0001 Zensuality Yoga, New York, NY, USAnaturist 0000 Zensuality Yoga, New York, NY, USA

and different versions of the ‘warrior’;

naturist 0004 Zensuality Yoga, New York, NY, USA

my favourite one is the peaceful warrior 🙂

naturist 0005 Zensuality Yoga, New York, NY, USA

Whether you follow yoga teachings or not, I believe these exercises improve your respiration control, blood flow and flexibility, and give you more control over your body. Doing it in the buff will only increase the effect.

As if all that is not enough, in the end of Zen’s classes, some delicious raw food snacks and deserts are offered. Their chocolate truffles are simply divine! Actually, they also mentioned raw food ‘cooking’ classes – I am looking forward to those! Here is the link to their Meetup page for upcoming events.

Acro-yoga in the buff (which was too much for San Francisco)

Here are the photos from our acro-yoga session in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco that ended in such a dispiriting manner, with rangers issuing us a citation for “expose genitals”. Well, but it was a lot of fun until they arrived, and it’s worth sharing the pics, so you can see what our authorities consider an inappropriate sight for a city park as opposed to horse manure that police left behind them 😀

As Wikipedia says, “acro-yoga is a physical practice which blends elements of yoga, acrobatics, performance and healing arts. These three ancient practices form the foundation of a practice that cultivates trust, connection and playfulness between partners.” It is definitely a great exercise for balancing and stretching, and needless to say, all those aspects intensify  only more, if you do acro-yoga naked.

I first tried acro-yoga at Burning Man this year and was looking forward to doing it again; Dan’s  idea of doing it in a park in the buff sounded fantastic (as we didn’t know rangers wouldn’t allow it). So, we started from a folded leaf pose, which for me, being in the role of ‘flyer’, was mainly relaxing and getting comfortable with the idea of being dependent on Dan, the ‘base’. Other poses involved more power and strenuous control of balance.

naturist 0000 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USA

In the beginning, we did poses that used support of base’s hands.

naturist 0003 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USA

The we followed to the poses, where I was balancing on Dan’s legs only.

naturist 0004 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USA

It felt like I was learning to fly! The last one that we managed to do before the rangers arrived was the most difficult to maintain.

naturist 0007 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USA

But it felt amazing, because I lost understanding of where up and down were while I was looking at the sky!

naturist 0010 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USAnaturist 0009 acro yoga San Francisco CA, USA

We’ll definitely try to find a place where we could do acro-yoga in the buff in open air without being disturbed by rangers.

Naturist beach and park in Moscow, Serebryany Bor

 Русский

naturist 0000 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Serebryany Bor (Silver Pinery) is a unique place in Moscow where you can enjoy nature without having to leave the city, and even in your birthday suite. The only thing that will remind you of the hustle and bustle of the metropolis are the skyscrapers of Moscow-City and, unfortunately, some noise from a highway.

naturist 0001 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Otherwise, you’ll be surrounded by the forest and river. The Moscow River is very quiet there, with hardly any current noticeable, so it’s nice for swimming (and even nicer, since you can do it naked). If you swim from one edge of the nudist beach to the other, it’s approximately 2500 feet, so swimming forth and back would give a decent distance of 1.5 km. Just keep closer to the shore, as there may come speedy jet-skiers.

The park is dominated by willows, traditional Russian birches and, as you could guess from the name of the place, pines. It makes it easy to find a secluded place to your liking – with sun or some shade, grass or sand.

naturist 0001 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

If you’re lucky, a nightingale may provide you a pleasant acoustic background. I was lucky to see such a singing nightingale, although usually they are hard to spot even when you hear them.

nightingale 0000 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Speaking of music, if you do want to hear some, stay in the beginning of the beach (closer to the mini-bus station) – there is a cafe with a radio.

naturist 0002 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

You can buy snacks, beer and other beverages, as well as ice-cream in the cafe without having to dress, so Serebryany Bor is turning into fully functional nudist resort.

Next to the cafe, there a horizontal bar, but I didn’t take pictures there with too many people around. Another horizontal bar is in the woods in the eastern part of the park. I’ve already posted a gifs of me doing pull-ups on this blog, so I think I have to promise to learn something more interesting by the next time 😉

naturist-pull-ups-0000-Serebryany-Bor,-Moscow,-Russia

There are few short trails that are nice to stroll or jog on, and some people even ride bicycles in the buff.

naturist 0005 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Of course it wouldn’t be a proper naturist beach without a volleyball field! There are two volleyball nets installed, one near the cafe and another in the center, but unfortunately they are usually taken by the local regulars and it’s hard to join them.

naturist 0006 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

Already after my last visit to Moscow, a friend of mine found an outdoor gym next to the nudist beach; I’ll have to check it out next time. But even without the gym and volleyball net, we didn’t just sit lazily 🙂 We also did some yoga.

naturist 0003 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

I found that Moscow-city skyline fit pretty well to the otherwise natural landscape there, and it even inspired me to keep some yoga poses longer, while the photographer looked for the best angle 😉

naturist 0004 Serebryany Bor, Moscow, Russia

I noticed that many muscovites do not appreciate Serebryany Bor too much, with a sentiment that there are much better resorts abroad. However, after having travelled to numerous naturist destinations around the world, I can assure that there are very few urban parks like this, where a beach and a forest are intermingled, and you can swim, play volleyball or sit in a cafe, and all naked! And it’s a nice place to visit even in winter, as there is a banya with an ice-hole! But let’s not talk about cold, the weather is very hot right now in Moscow, so enjoy the summer at Serebryany Bor 😎

PS Google maps is the choice throughout the website, by Yandex provides better service than Google in Russian-speaking domain, so better check out Yandex maps for directions.